It has been a disappointing year for Indigenous Australians with the Commonwealth failing to commit to renew the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPRH), which expired on June 30, 2018.
The NPRH, which began in 2008, not only provided much needed housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote communities, but created employment and business opportunities for Indigenous people.
However, the launch of the Closing the Gap Refresh also provided an opportunity for CHIA to lobby for the inclusion of housing in the framework for the first time.
On a positive note, congratulations were due to Aboriginal Housing Victoria on reaching the long-awaited milestone of the final transfer of public housing property titles from the Victorian Government in June 2018. Ownership of a total of 1,448 properties, which AHV had been managing, has now been transferred to AHV.
CHIA’s Executive Director joined a delegation of Queensland and Western Australian organisations that lobbied Canberra to continue funding for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
In our submission to the Close the Gap Refresh Consultation, CHIA called on the Australian Government to fund the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Strategy.
CHIA also called on the government to provide support for Indigenous Community Housing Organisations to bring properties back into service and build the capacity of these organisations to own, manage and grow their rental portfolios.
Housing is the foundation for economic success, personal well-being and good community outcomes. Access to affordable, good-quality housing located near jobs, schools, transport, and services supports social and economic participation – particularly education and employment.
One in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households (21.5 per cent) live in social housing, compared to just 3.6 per cent of non-Indigenous households, and Indigenous Australians are over-represented among the users of homelessness services. Improving housing outcomes is an obvious area of focus for the next iteration of the Closing the Gap strategy.