Prime Minister must not walk away from Indigenous Housing

Withdrawal of funding by the Commonwealth, for the National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) (a ten-year partnership to build and refurbish housing in some of the most disadvantaged communities across Australia) will have major detrimental consequences to the economic, social welfare, education, and health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in these communities.

Western Australia’s peak body for the housing and homelessness sector, Shelter WA, is growing increasingly alarmed that no further funding is on the table when NPRH winds up in June this year.

Shelter WA spokesperson, Stephen Hall, said that state and Commonwealth governments had made significant in-roads in reducing overcrowding and improving the quality of housing for people living in remote communities.

“We know that this is not only a housing issue, housing is fundamental to physical and mental health, emotional well-being and family and community safety and stability.  Poor physical health affects mental health. You cannot treat mental and physical health without having a home,” Mr Hall said.

“Remote housing cannot be allowed to be a political football. It’s a crucial area of need and is fixable, as demonstrated by some encouraging progress to date.  The Prime Minister’s own report into the program last year praised state governments for exceeding their targets in delivering new homes, refurbishing older houses, and providing employment opportunities for local communities. We need to build on that success not undermine it.

Mr Hall stressed that despite this progress, the job was far from over in addressing housing need in remote communities.

“In WA, we’ve made significant progress, but there’s still severe housing need across remote areas of the state.” Mr Hall said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, must be part of local collaborative solutions.  Remote housing is a crucial issue that requires leadership, it is too important an issue for governments to be blaming each other for lack of action and commitment.”