Leaders advocate for remote-area housing
On Tuesday February, 6, representatives from Shelter WA, Queensland Shelter, National Shelter and CHIA, met with Minister Nigel Scullion, the Senator for the Northern Territory and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, to discuss the future of remote housing.
Minister Scullion informed the delegation that a ten-year commitment to remote housing was just that; a ten-year agreement and it was ending.
Minister Scullion stated that he now expected the States to negotiate with the Commonwealth about arrangements for the future.
Shelter WA representative Stephen Hall was at the meeting.
“The delegation reminded Minister Scullion that last year, at a national meeting in Adelaide, he indicated that there would be ongoing funding for housing in remote areas,” Mr Hall said.
“Representatives highlighted the fact that his own Remote Housing Review said that more needs to be done to meet future demand and to protect the existing housing stock in remote areas.
The reviewers recommended:
- A recurrent program must be funded to maintain existing houses, preserve functionality and increase the life of housing assets.
- Investment for an additional 5,500 houses by 2028 is needed to continue efforts on Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage.
“In contrast during question time, on the same day the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, asked a question and Minister Ken Wyatt (Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health) replied: ‘The funding has not been cut. It has not been reduced',” Mr Hall explained
“Mr Wyatt also said: ‘Senator Scullion is in ongoing negotiations with the relevant ministers’.”
The delegation stressed the urgent need for a coherent remote Indigenous housing policy and a strategy for ongoing funding. The development of any new strategy needs to includes real dialogue and negotiation between governments. The delegation also pressed for a moratorium on any potential cuts in funding, noting any suggestion that funding maybe withdrawn is not helpful.
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