Housing fundamental to Closing the Gap
Australia's housing policy peak National Shelter has called on the Commonwealth Government to immediately commit to invest in housing for Indigenous Australians to underpin several Closing the Gap Targets.
Executive Officer of National Shelter Adrian Pisarski said appropriate housing is fundamental to allowing people to participate in employment and education and underpins health outcomes for children and adults.
"We can't expect to improve child morbidity when so many Indigenous children live in overcrowded houses," Mr Pisarski said.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented in homelessness data and experience high levels of discrimination when attempting to access the private rental market.
"The Commonwealth needs to commit to a national housing strategy and within that a National Strategy to boost housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"Only a national strategy led by the Commonwealth can bring in all the players and pull all the levers required.
"An effective national strategy must include the renewal of the partnership on remote Indigenous housing but instead it looks like the Government is walking away, even from commitments previously made to the Northern Territory.
"The strategy should also include measures to boost Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing in urban areas to combat discrimination in the private market.
"All levels of government have a role to play in ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have access to fair housing. "Local governments can play a key role in understanding local needs and planning. State governments need to put their money on the table and lift their levels of social and affordable housing commitments. "And very importantly, the Commonwealth must lead by example and provide a significant boost to indigenous housing which could be an incentive for states to also invest."
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