Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Native Title amendments to reform remote housing

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today introduced legislation into Parliament to help speed up the delivery of vital public housing and infrastructure in Indigenous communities.

The Native Title Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2009 introduces a new process into the Native Title Act on land where native title may exist for the construction of public housing and critical facilities, including health, education and emergency services, to benefit Indigenous communities.

The new process will strike a balance between the urgent provision of these critical services, and the need to meaningfully engage with native title claimants and parties to protect their rights and interests and give them the opportunity to provide input into proposed projects.

The amendments will address the need for secure tenure arrangements in the delivery of these much needed projects in remote Indigenous communities.

The amendments will also encourage State and Territory Governments to act quickly to address the urgent need for housing in Indigenous communities.

Public health, education, emergency services and housing are all key building blocks of the Rudd Government’s close the gap strategy.

The Government is delivering $5.5 billion over 10 years under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, which will provide up to 4,200 additional new houses and around 4,800 major upgrades and repairs in remote communities.

The new provision contained in the Government’s amendments will operate for ten years in line with the duration of the National Partnership Agreement.