Leases signed in Maningrida, Gunbalanya & Wadeye
The Northern Territory (NT) communities of Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Wadeye have signed 40-year leases which will allow housing work to begin across the three communities under the Australian and Northern Territory Governments’ Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP).
Under SIHIP, 105 new houses will be built in Wadeye, 109 houses in Maningrida and 62 in Gunbalanya.
In addition, the alliance partners will assess existing housing to determine the complete package of works for these communities including refurbishments and rebuilds.
Work on refurbishments will start by the end of this year and construction of new houses will commence in the 2010 dry season.
With the signing of the leases, Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Wadeye will now join communities on the Tiwi Islands, Groote Eylandt, Bickerton Island and the Tennant Creek town camps where leases have been signed and work under SIHIP is underway.
Land tenure is needed to underpin Government investment in housing and infrastructure to ensure that governments have responsibility for maintaining houses and are able to implement proper tenancy management.
The leases, which cover all existing housing and areas for new construction, will support the significant investment in housing and infrastructure in the communities.
Local Indigenous people will be given employment and training opportunities under SIHIP with a target of 20 per cent Indigenous employment over the duration of the program.
The five-year, $672 million investment represents the largest Indigenous housing program ever undertaken by government across the Northern Territory.
SIHIP will deliver 750 new houses, 230 rebuilds and 2,500 refurbishments over the period to 2013.
SIHIP is the first part of the $1.7 billion to be delivered in the Northern Territory under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
The Australian and NT Governments are determined to address the appalling living conditions in remote Indigenous communities.
The program will help to reduce overcrowding and is critical for protecting children, improving health, education and employment and re-building positive community norms.
The successful lease negotiation with Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Wadeye follows extensive consultations with Traditional Owners.
The Traditional Owners and the Northern Land Council have shown great vision and leadership in negotiating leases to support new housing in these communities.
The Galiwinku lease will be finalised shortly, with the housing package details to follow.
This month, the Ngukurr Traditional Owners gave in principle agreement to a 40-year housing precinct lease.