Impasse Resolved

Shelter WA has welcomed the end of the impasse between the State and Commonwealth governments over funding for remote housing but is concerned a long-term commitment could not be reached. 

Under the agreement the State Government has accepted the Commonwealth's $121 million offer for 2018-19, which is more than double the federal government’s original offer of $60m over three years, which was to be matched by the state. 

Mr Tinley described it as the “least-worst outcome”. 

The one-off payment covers a gap in funding left by the end of the 10-year National Partnership on Remote Housing, which expired in July 2018. 

Shelter WA contested Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments that the 10-year agreement was for “a couple of years” and that remote housing was a state responsibility.

Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Mackenzie said the Prime Minister was “wrong on several levels”.

“The Commonwealth has funded remote housing for decades. This history amounted to the Commonwealth accepting responsibility for remote housing,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“This funding announcement will provide welcome short-term relief but does not replace the need for a sustained, longer-term funding agreement.”

The State Government has indicated it reserves its right to negotiate with any future Federal Government.

“I look forward to revisiting this issue and reopening joint funding discussions with any future Federal Government,” Mr Tinley said.

“Access to appropriate, safe and secure housing has an enormous impact on the health, mental health, and education outcomes for people living in remote communities," said Ms Mackenzie. ‘Also, if we’re smart, housing can become a major driver of social and economic development, providing real jobs and training opportunities from the construction phase through to property management and maintenance services.”

Shelter WA calls on all spheres of government to work with communities to resolve this issue.

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