Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Housing Opportunities for Tiwi Island Residents

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Paul Henderson MLA, Northern Territory Chief Minister
    The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson today visited Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands to meet local home owners and inspect works under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP).

The Australian Government is investing more than $81 million across the Tiwi Islands through SIHIP to deliver 90 new houses and up to155 rebuilds and refurbishments at Nguiu and a further 30 rebuilds each at both Milikapiti and Pirlangimpi.

Construction of 14 new homes under SIHIP is currently underway with three already completed in Nguiu with tenants living in them.

Construction and refurbishment of SIHIP homes is also providing local people with new employment opportunities and stimulating the local economy.

Indigenous employment is currently over 50 per cent of the Tiwi SIHIP workforce, which is well above the overall program target of 20 per cent.

There are currently 57 Indigenous employees across the three communities on the Tiwi Islands, including 34 at Nguiu.

Nguiu traditional owners were the first in the Northern Territory to sign a township lease under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 giving local people the opportunity to buy their own home.

So far, ten families have either bought and renovated homes or are building their own homes. Another four residential sublease applications for both new and existing houses are being processed.

The Australian Government’s Home Ownership on Indigenous Land (HOIL) Program, managed by Indigenous Business Australia, has empowered local people to seize these opportunities by providing money management skills and access to loans to put home ownership firmly within their grasp.

In Nguiu, there has been considerable interest in home ownership from local families. To date Indigenous Business Australian has:

  • discussed home ownership options with over 60 individuals;
  • assisted 46 prospective borrowers to successfully complete the money management education program; and
  • approved 14 loans totalling around $2.4 million.

The Mantiyupwi Traditional Land Owners have received an advance lease payment of $5 million for the first 15 years of their 99 year township lease.

Mantiyupwi have set up a company to invest the funds in the community and create real and ongoing employment outcomes for all Tiwi people.