TURNBULL WALKS AWAY FROM REMOTE INDIGENOUS HOUSING

2 Jul 2018

Malcolm Turnbull has turned his back on remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, with funding for remote housing in those states ceasing yesterday.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
SENATOR PATRICK DODSON
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS 
AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
 
TURNBULL WALKS AWAY FROM REMOTE INDIGENOUS HOUSING


Malcolm Turnbull has turned his back on remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, with funding for remote housing in those states ceasing yesterday.

This is despite Senator Nigel Scullion’s repeated claims to contrary over the past six months.

This year’s Budget confirmed there would be no additional funding for these states in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. Only the NT will continue to receive Commonwealth support to tackle overcrowding.

Shadow Homelessness Minister Doug Cameron said the Turnbull Government is walking away from remote communities.

“This cut shows an appalling lack of leadership and a complete misunderstanding of the Close the Gap framework,” Senator Cameron said.

“Overcrowding is a root cause of Indigenous disadvantage because it leads to a range of other social and health problems in remote communities.

Prior to the Budget, Senator Scullion’ described claims he was cutting the agreement as ‘fiction’ and ‘nonsense’.

In December 2017, Senator Scullion told the Guardian Australia that “commonwealth officials are in discussion with their state counterparts regarding future funding arrangements. This will include further Commonwealth funding.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Patrick Dodson, said housing underpins all of the Close the Gap targets.
“Without a decent place to live, the task of closing the gap in health or education becomes only more difficult,” Senator Dodson said.

According to a 2017 review of the program, by 2018 the strategy will have delivered 4,000 new houses and 7,500 refurbishments
The NPA is estimated to have led to a significant decrease in the proportion of overcrowded houses in remote and very remote areas. It has also been a driver of job creation and Indigenous business’s in many remote communities.

With Malcolm Turnbull’s refresh of the Close the Gap strategy now underway, it is critical that the Turnbull Government does not walk away from any of the current targets.

Instead of walking away from programs that work – the Turnbull Government should be working with Indigenous communities to ensure services are delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.
 

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.