Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage

The Productivity Commission has released the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2020 report.

The report measures the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people against 53 indicators across a range of areas including governance, leadership and culture, early childhood, education, economic participation, health, home environment and safe and supportive communities.

Environmental Conditions

Environmental conditions in the home are key to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Better environmental health can have positive outcomes and is especially beneficial for children’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Overcrowded housing is an environmental factor that contributes to higher rates of preventable and infectious diseases. It can be associated with poor cognitive development and lower levels of school attendance, and can lead to antisocial behaviour, which can result in higher levels of family violence.

Key Findings

The key finding from the report in regard to overcrowding are:

  • The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in overcrowded households in Western Australia decreased from 33 per cent in 2004-05 to 19 per cent in 2018-19.
  • Overcrowding rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were highest in social housing (40 per cent), in comparison to 15 per cent in privately rented houses and 10 per cent in houses owned.

Appropriate Housing Options

The main structural factors that contribute towards overcrowding in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households include a lack of affordable and appropriate housing options, insufficient housing stock, and a lack of affordable short-term accommodation options.

We were pleased this year that housing was included as a new closing the gap target. The Agreement can be found here.

Indigenous Housing and Health Project

The Indigenous Housing and Health Project that Shelter WA led in partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Association (NATSIHA), National Shelter, PWC Indigenous Consulting and Karabena Consulting will be launched in early 2021. This research proposes a paradigm shift in the way that housing and health issues are progressed. We look forward to inviting people to the launch when the details are at hand.

Shelter WA will continue to work together with the sector to reduce overcrowding in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households through:

  • Advocating for an increase in social housing and addressing housing affordability issues.
  • Advocating for the strengths of the Aboriginal community housing sector to be harnessed by government and industry.
  • Ensuring thathousing design is culturally appropriate and driven by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.
  • Working with our members and government on new models of housing maintenance on remote communities.