Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

APY Lands housing breakthrough

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jay Weatherill MP, SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Agreement has been reached on the granting of 50-year leases by the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara to the State Government to allow much needed public housing to be built for Anangu.

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Jay Weatherill has been attending a Special General Meeting of Anangu at Umuwa on the APY Lands over the past two days.

At the meeting two resolutions were unanimously passed by Anangu.

The first resolution resolved to grant leases over the first 11 sites in Amata.

The second resolution resolved to grant leases, as agreed between the parties, for all residential sites in all communities for new and upgraded houses as funds for each site become available.

This will enable the Commonwealth’s $25 million dollar housing deal to be realised and opens the way for further funds to be discussed.

Mr Weatherill, who travelled to the lands to attend the meeting and answer questions, welcomed the resolutions.

“The Anangu leadership should be praised for leading their communities towards significant improvements in housing while ensuring the protection of Anangu land,” he said.

“I am very pleased these leases have been supported so we can tackle the unacceptable overcrowding highlighted by Commissioner Ted Mullighan.”

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, who travelled to the APY lands last week with Mr Weatherill, congratulated the APY Lands communities and the South Australian Government on achieving the historic deal.

“This is a major development for tackling disadvantage on the APY Lands.

“The Commonwealth can now move forward on our $25 million commitment and start building and upgrading housing in APY communities.

“Decent housing is central to community safety and improving health, education and living standards in Indigenous communities.

“These leases will ensure that the new and improved houses are properly maintained and repaired by the South Australian public housing authority and that relevant social support services are available to tenants.

“There will also be new work and training opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the construction and maintenance of the new and upgraded houses.”

The APY executive will meet tomorrow to put the resolutions into effect.

Crown Solicitor Simon Stretton, who also travelled to the lands for the meeting, and APY’s principal legal officer today reached agreement on a lease to be put to the Executive tomorrow.

The conditions placed on the lease include:

  • State management of social housing including allocation, maintenance and rent collection
  • Housing is only for Anangu
  • State Government ensuring that houses are maintained properly and insured
  • Building and maintenance being performed, as far as is practical, by Anangu
  • Assurances that Anangu will pay rent and abide by tenancy agreements
  • Further discussions to provide home ownership for Anangu