24.07.18 TIME FOR TURNBULL TO GET SERIOUS ON REMOTE HOUSING

TIME FOR TURNBULL TO GET SERIOUS ON REMOTE HOUSING


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted during his visit to Tennant Creek that remote housing is the biggest single issue that has been described in every encounter.”
 
Given this concession, Mr Turnbull must now explain why he has turned his back on the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing in Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland.
 
The savage cuts to remote housing confirmed in this year’s Budget show an appalling lack of leadership and a complete misunderstanding of the Close the Gap framework.
 
In 2008, under the former federal Labor government, COAG agreed to the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. The agreement included $5.4 billion to address significant overcrowding, poor housing conditions and severe housing shortages in remote communities.
 
In 2017, an independent review of the NPARIH and the Remote Housing Strategy was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s own department. That review found: “Good progress has been made against the Strategy’s objectives” and the program had “…resulted in many success stories around local employment, business and training.”
 
The panel determined that by 2018 the Strategy will have successfully delivered more than11,500 more liveable homes in remote Australia, including about 4,000 new houses and 7,500 refurbishments.

The NPARIH is also credited with leading to a significant decrease in overcrowding in remote areas, falling from 52.1 per cent in 2008 to 41.3 per cent in 2014-15. Importantly, the review also found that more needs to be done to meet future demand and to protect the existing housing stock.

The NPARIH has also been a driver of job creation and Indigenous businesses in many remote communities.
 
Mr Turnbull said he has been ‘inspired’ by his visit to Tennant Creek. Labor now calls on the PM to turn his newfound inspiration into action and use this opportunity to get serious about addressing homelessness and overcrowding among remote Indigenous communities.
 
We need a committed, ongoing partnership from all levels of government to meet the scale of the need in remote communities.
 
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.
 
Again Mr Turnbull’s rhetoric on Aboriginal disadvantage does not match his Government’s record.
 
TUESDAY, 24 JULY 2018

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