Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

NT lease agreement – a major step towards better Indigenous housing

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Rob Knight MLA, NT Minister for Housing
    The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments welcome the Northern Land Council’s decision to approve the granting of housing leases in the NT communities of Galiwin’ku, Gunbalanya, Maningrida and Wadeye.

The agreement follows extensive community consultation and collaboration between the Northern Land Council, communities and both governments and is a major step towards better housing for remote communities.

The 40 year leases mean more than $159 million of housing and infrastructure work will be provided in the four communities. This is part of the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP), a joint Australian and Northern Territory Government program to improve housing in Indigenous communities throughout the Northern Territory.

The Traditional Owners of Galiwin’ku, Gunbalanya, Maningrida and Wadeye have shown vision and commitment in their negotiations with government to improve living conditions and housing in their communities.

Under SIHIP, capital works funding of $48.7 million has been provided for Maningrida, $33 million for Galiwin’ku, $28.7 million for Gunbalanya and $48.7 million for Wadeye. This will see around 300 new houses built and 250 existing houses refurbished.

In addition to these major capital projects, more than $15 million will be provided to refurbish existing houses in smaller communities in these regions.

The Australian and NT Governments are 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.

This housing will help reduce overcrowding in communities. This major agreement will also create more jobs and training opportunities for Indigenous people.

The flow-on effects of providing work for people in these communities is an important step in closing the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Following consultation with the four communities, work is expected to start this year.