Closing the Gap must include housing for remote communities

Shelter WA, Western Australia’s peak body for social and affordable housing and ending homelessness has welcomed an announcement by the Australian Labor Party to deliver a national 10-year, $1.5 billion remote housing projects agreement if it wins government on May 18 2019.                                                        

At least $120 million would flow to WA under the pledge in the coming 2019-20 financial year.

“Whilst we are pleased with this announcement, we note it is an interim fix. We will continue to strongly advocate for a long term investment commitment in housing on remote communities,” said Michelle Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer of Shelter WA.

“Access to housing is critical for all Australians,” Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Mackenzie said.

“We call on the Coalition Government to step up and address this critical issue. Matched funding along with a commitment to a long term funding agreement at a minimum is needed. Safe, secure and appropriate housing is fundamental to a person’s wellbeing.

Australian’s on remote communities have the right to housing and services regardless of who wins this election,” said Michelle.

“Housing investment will address health issues and enable people to better participate in employment and education. The absence of appropriate housing is a key contributor to homelessness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If planned well, this investment will develop new skills through traineeships and apprenticeships and deliver real jobs, with positive outcomes for regional economies.

Investment in housing is a key element of the Coalition Government’s priority of Closing the Gap on the significant disadvantage that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often face.

Late last year a funding impasse between State and Commonwealth Governments over remote housing was resolved in the short term with $121 million negotiated between the Commonwealth Government and WA. Shelter WA welcomed an end to the impasse but expressed concern that an ongoing long-term commitment had not be reached.

A 2017 National Remote Housing Review conducted by an independent panel recommended investment for an additional 5,500 houses in regional Australia by 2028. This is needed to continue efforts on Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Media Contacts
Shelter WA – Michelle Mackenzie, CEO, 0419 931 819.

Fast Facts
• 1.5 billion over a ten-year period
• $251 million in funding to Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia in 2019-20.
• 2017 National Remote Housing Review recommended investment for an additional 5,500 houses in regional Australia by 2028.
• Housing is key to achieving Closing the Gap targets for Aboriginal people.