Housing study to evaluate the impact of policies on the health of First Australians and provide options for reform

Over 80 people attended the first Aboriginal led forum on Metropolitan Aboriginal Housing in Perth. The forum’s purpose was to hear from Aboriginal people and harness their experience and expertise to develop solutions for housing reform.

“We were honoured to work with the Telethon Kids Institute to develop this forum, and to have Noongar elders in the room to inform discussions,” said Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA. “The impact of safe, secure and affordable housing on a person’s health and well-being, employment and education is well known. This forum is an opportunity to understand the housing challenges in the metropolitan area and for us to learn how we can work with the Aboriginal community not only to develop solutions but to advocate for change.” Ms Mackenzie said.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP attended the forum.

“Housing is a key social determinant of health,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Access to sound, affordable housing is a key issue many first Australians face whether they live in metropolitan Perth or the remote Kimberley regions or other regions around this great state of ours.

“Poor quality housing can lead to respiratory and mental health conditions as well as cardiovascular problems and the spread of communicable diseases. These diseases can impact on a person’s ability to learn and engage fully in education which can then lead to decreased employment opportunities and quality of life.”

The Minister announced new funding to look at the intersection of health and housing policy over the last twenty-five years and drawing on a strong evidence base to develop policy options for reform.

“I would like to the thank the Minister for his vision in supporting this important project,” said Ms Mackenzie.

Shelter WA will work closely with the National Aboriginal Congress and National Shelter to deliver this study, to ensure there is a strong Indigenous voice and the correct cultural protocols along with a national perspective.

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