Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing convenes for first meeting

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon. Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister

I am pleased to announce that the National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing met for the first time today in Canberra.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and I attended this meeting.

I announced last month the National Policy Commission would provide advice to the Government on innovative proposals to improve the provision of housing in remote Indigenous communities.

The Commission has started work on a number of priority activities.

These initial tasks include assessing remote Indigenous housing data to identify gaps, assessing the capacity of existing government programs to address remote Indigenous housing needs, and identifying tangible policy objectives for government in both remote and urban and regional contexts.

The challenge we face in addressing Indigenous housing shortfalls cannot be overstated.

2006 Census data and 2006 Community Housing and Infrastructure Need Survey data indicates that of the 22,000 Indigenous households in remote or very remote Australia:

  • around 7,000 or over 30% of these households are overcrowded.
  • almost a third of the 15,000 houses managed by Indigenous Housing Organisations require repairs or replacement; and
  • almost 3,000 Indigenous people are homeless.

Today Commission members heard of recent Government policy work, including through COAG, aimed at addressing these deficits.

They have been asked to join this broader effort by providing practical ideas and proposals for improving housing for Indigenous Australians across the nation.

The Commission will advise the Government on regional strategies for housing delivery in remote areas that promote the health and economic participation of Indigenous people.

Identifying barriers to the provision of remote Indigenous housing and opportunities for facilitating private sector investment will be a key aspect of the Commission’s work.

I congratulate the Commission members – Mr Danny Glibert, Ms Leah Armstrong, Mr Paul Pholeros, Mr Joe Ross and Mr Warren Mundine on their commitment and enthusiasm in agreeing