Labor has promised to address overcrowding and create jobs in remote Indigenous communities with a $1.5 billion, 10-year investment.
Labor's Warren Snowdon (MHR) and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said housing shortages and chronic overcrowding contribute to poor outcomes in health, education, employment and community safety for residents living in remote communities.
In 2014-15, more than half of Indigenous Australians in very remote areas lived in overcrowded households, and overcrowding is the leading contributor to Indigenous homelessness.
They said a Labor Government would:
- Provide a decade of funding certainty to the Northern Territory, by committing an additional $550 million over 5 years from 2023-24, double the commitment by the Liberals.
- Provide $251 million in funding to Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia in 2019-20.
Following these interim arrangements, Labor will work with the States and Territories to develop a genuine, ongoing partnership to tackle the issue of overcrowding, as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh.
When last in office, Labor initiated the National Partnership Agreement for Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH), which saw a record $5.4 billion invested over 10 years to reduce overcrowding and address chronic housing shortages.
An independent review of NPARIH in 2017 found it had built or refurbished 11,500 homes in remote areas, successfully decreasing the proportion of overcrowded households in remote and very remote areas.
The review also found that a further 5500 houses are needed to meet the existing shortfall of housing and accommodate future population growth by 2028.
In another election announcement, Labor has promised to deliver an additional 100 Department of Human Services jobs for the Northern Territory if it wins government on May 18.
The additional 100 permanent and full-time jobs will boost DHS services, including Centrelink and Medicare, from Darwin and Palmerston, to Alice Springs, Katherine and Coolalinga.
It will also include 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specialists - to help improve services and outreach to the community.
"Medicare and Centrelink services help Northern Territory communities when they need it the most - with Medicare rebates, pension claims, disability support pensions and carers' allowance payments," said Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services.
"The truth is Centrelink is in crisis under the Morrison Government. It is under-staffed and under-resourced."
"This is an investment by Labor in better jobs and better service for the Northern Territory" said Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for Human Services.
"Apart from the fact that 100 jobs will provide a welcome economic boost, these full time, well trained, permanent positions will be there to help Territorians when they need it most," he said.
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