More needs to be done to address overcrowding and housing shortages in remote NT communities, housing lobby group NT Shelter says.
A 2017 Remote Housing Review said we need 5500 extra homes by 2028 to reduce overcrowding rates.
“The report noted that half of these additional remote houses are needed in the Northern Territory, the jurisdiction with the lowest capacity to meet this pressure” NT Shelter CEO Peter McMillan said.
The Remote Housing Review Panel also warned that without further investment in remote housing, improvements made over the past 10 years will be lost and the Federal Government’s $5.4 billion investment will have been “wasted”.
Mr McMillan said current remote housing funding expires on June 30 “the prospect of future Commonwealth funding remains uncertain”.
“We have been encouraged by remarks by the minister that the Commonwealth would match dollar for dollar the Northern Territory Government’s remote housing funding of $1.1 billion over ten years,” Mr McMillan said.
“We are surprised by recent reports that there may be some backflipping around this.
“What Senator Scullion has publicly said is quite clear and we expect the Prime Minister to fully support his own minister’s promise,” he said.
The provision of quality and sustainable housing in remote Indigenous communities is considered a foundational element in physical and mental health, including for disease prevention.
Poor quality and overcrowded housing conditions exacerbate family violence and negatively affect early childhood development, participation in education and employment.
Mr McMillan said housing is absolutely fundamental for giving Aboriginal people in remote communities the opportunities in life that many others take for granted.
“It is essential that the Commonwealth and Territory Governments get on with the job of finalising an ongoing, long term partnership agreement. Our communities deserve certainty that their housing needs will be addressed. Only then can we ever hope to make significant progress towards Closing the Gap” Mr McMillan said.
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