Shelter WA welcomes a new national agreement to redress entrenched inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The latest Closing the Gap Agreement sets 16 new national socio-economic targets in areas including life expectancy, birthweight, early childhood education and development, Year 12 and tertiary qualifications, employment, incarceration rates, household safety, and the proportion of children in out-of-home care. Importantly the Agreement was driven by Aboriginal organisations through the coalition of the peaks and is supported by the Australian Local Government Association and all jurisdictions.
A Welcome Inclusion
Shelter WA welcomes the inclusion of housing in the Agreement; that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people secure appropriate, affordable housing that is aligned with their priorities and need, with the target that by 2031 to increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 88 per cent.
The Key is Housing
Housing is fundamental to health and wellbeing the delivery of all the closing the gap targets. Having a safe, secure and stable home is fundamental for children being able to thrive and get a good education and to reach their learning potential, for young people to gain employment, for economic participation and ensuring people don’t remain detained in the criminal justice system, unable to be released.
Housing is key to ending homelessness.
Commonwealth and State Investment
Shelter WA welcomes the focus for four priority reforms areas within the Agreement. It is critical that we build Indigenous community-controlled sectors to drive the Agreement’s outcomes and to support closing the gap targets. To drive the housing target there is a need to build and strengthen the Aboriginal community housing organisations and services sector. Also to bring this target to life there is a is a need for new Commonwealth and state investment into affordable and social housing and homelessness services. Investing in housing and services is not just good for people. This investment but will create new employment, skills and pipelines of work for Aboriginal people and Aboriginal businesses.