23.04.18 INDIGENOUS HOUSING STILL UNDER THREAT DESPITE FUNDING FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY

INDIGENOUS HOUSING STILL UNDER THREAT DESPITE FUNDING FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY

The funding for remote and Indigenous housing in the Northern Territory announced today is a slap in the face to Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia – who are still without a funding agreement for Indigenous housing.

Housing is a basic human right. It is wrong morally, politically and economically, for the Commonwealth government to walk away from their responsibility to fund remote housing, which is at crisis point across the nation, not just in the Northern Territory. A national agreement is needed to tackle the unacceptable amount of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiencing homelessness and over-crowding.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report on Specialist Homelessness Services 2016-17 found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ‘continue to be over-represented in both the national homeless population and as users of specialist homelessness services’.

The report also found that while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up only 3.3 percent of the Australian population, they constitute 25 percent of the clients accessing specialist homelessness services in 2016–17, which is an estimated 64,644 clients.

Whether a person is on one side of the NT border or the other should not determine the level of Commonwealth funding available to provide them with housing.

The Turnbull Government must get serious about addressing homelessness and overcrowding among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

We need a committed, ongoing partnership from all levels of government to meet the scale of the need in remote communities. The Turnbull Government must agree to an equitable sharing of funding responsibility with the states.

MONDAY, 23 APRIL 2018

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