Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Remote housing program delivering better living conditions for Aboriginal people

An independent review of the $5.5 billion National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) has found that it is on track to deliver housing targets and is making real improvements to the lives of Indigenous people in remote communities by reducing overcrowding and raising the quality of housing.

The review comes halfway through the 10-year partnership, which is building new homes and refurbishing or rebuilding existing homes in remote Indigenous communities across the country.

Improving housing is a key element of the Gillard Government’s commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Decent housing is absolutely critical so that children can be safe, go to school every day and have the best possible opportunities.

Prior to the Australian Government’s introduction of NPARIH, remote housing construction and management was haphazard.

Through the Agreement and the Australian Government’s unprecedented investment in remote housing, we are delivering good quality housing, secure tenure and standardised systems which are making a real difference in these communities.

As at 30 April this year 1,682 new houses and 5,436 refurbishments have been delivered nationally.

The review confirms the program is well on track to reach 4,200 new houses by 2018 and has already exceeded the original target to rebuild or refurbish 4,800 houses.

The National Partnership Agreement is also having a significant impact on reducing overcrowding. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, contained in the review, shows that the proportion of Indigenous households in remote Australia affected by overcrowding fell from 22.3 per cent in 2006 to 20.1 per cent in 2011.

The number of households impacted by severe overcrowding in remote Australia has also been reduced from 5.1 per cent in 2006 to 3.9 per cent in 2011.

The review shows the program exceeded its 20 per cent target for Indigenous employment in the delivery of new housing construction in every state and the Northern Territory.

The review also found the National Partnership is delivering better property and tenancy management that helps ensure Indigenous people living in remote communities have the same rights and responsibilities as any other public housing tenant.

The National Partnership Agreement has delivered projects that support the whole community including major upgrades to capital infrastructure, such as water storage, sewer ponds, roads and pipes, in eight communities in the Northern Territory.

In addition, more than 90 employment related accommodation facilities have been put in place in communities across the country.

The Australian Government will continue to work in partnership with state and Northern Territory Governments to continue to improve Indigenous housing across Australia.

View the key findings of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing review.