Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Remote Indigenous housing investment

Remote Indigenous communities will benefit from a $5.5 billion investment in housing over the next ten years to improve living standards for families and children.

This is largest single investment any government has made to address the chronic underinvestment and appalling living conditions for Indigenous people in remote communities.

The National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing, agreed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in November 2008, will see the construction of up to 4,200 additional new houses to address severe overcrowding and homelessness.

The reforms will also result in major upgrades and repairs to around 4,800 houses in remote communities and provide up to 2,000 new jobs for local Indigenous people.

Remote Indigenous Housing Package – Ten Year Funding
Area Amount
NSW 396.82 million
QLD 1.16 billion
VIC 30.35 million
WA 1.18 billion
SA 291.49 million
Tas 27.96 million
NT 1.70 billion
Total 4.79 billion
Commonwealth 698.51 million
Existing ARIA* 3.55 billion
New COAG 1.94 billion
Total Commonwealth 5.48 billion

* Australian Remote Indigenous Accommodation program

The Government will provide substantial funding to 26 priority communities across the Northern Territory, north Queensland, the Kimberley region (WA), APY Lands (SA) and NSW.

Initial housing investment will focus on these 26 larger communities which have the potential for economic development.

The state of Indigenous housing across remote Australia is the most visible and enduring evidence of the failure of governments, over decades, to address Indigenous disadvantage.

In some Indigenous communities, fifteen to twenty people live in a single house.

The Australian Government is determined to address the appalling living conditions in remote Indigenous communities.

Decent housing is essential for protecting children, improving health, education and employment and re-building positive community norms.

The National Partnership, signed by the Australian Government, the States and the Northern Territory, establishes a 10-year strategy to help fix poor housing conditions and severe housing shortages in Indigenous communities.

Funded by the Australian Government, this package will be delivered by State Governments and the Northern Territory Government and includes:

  • construction of up to 4,200 houses and major upgrades and repairs to around 4,800 houses;
  • improved tenancy management services to ensure rental houses are well maintained, rent is collected and support services are in place;
  • economic development opportunities through increased local training and employment opportunities in construction and housing management;
  • an ongoing maintenance and repairs program;
  • upgrades to housing related infrastructure in remote communities, including town camps, and
  • access to affordable accommodation options in regional centres to support employment, education and training opportunities in regional areas.

In 2009, an audit of municipal and essential services in Indigenous communities will be undertaken, with the goal that States and the Northern Territory will take responsibility for funding these services into the future.