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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Four Indigenous families take the road to home ownership in NT

Four Indigenous families from today move into new houses they will be able to buy in the outstations of Wudapuli and Nama in the Wadeye region of the Northern Territory under a lease purchase plan being introduced by the Australian Government.

Today, in an historic event, the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, handed over the keys to four homes to the families who have entered into financial arrangements which will mean that they will ultimately own these houses.

"This is a major step for these families and is the first stage of the Howard Government’s lease purchase scheme to provide Indigenous people in remote communities with the opportunity to buy their own home," Mr Brough said.

"In the last six months, the Government funded the construction of display houses on two outstations within good proximity to schooling and services and where the Traditional Owners were keen to expand their communities," Mr Brough said.

"A number of residents from communities in the Wadeye region have been able to view the houses and talk to Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) about the new scheme. Four families have agreed to move into the houses under these new arrangements and other families are registering to join the scheme today.

"The families moving into these houses have agreed to free up rental housing in Wadeye; get involved in cleaning and painting houses in Wadeye; do similar work on dwellings in their communities and ensure their school age children attend school.

"IBA will manage the properties. Rents will be in line with rents usually charged for these types of properties and are much higher than rents that are currently paid in remote Indigenous communities. The families have also agreed to maintain the properties and money management programmes will be available to the families to help them budget and meet their financial obligations.

"Two designs were used in the houses that will be occupied from today; one is a 200 square metre home with eight bedrooms and the other is a four bedroom model. Both were designed in consultation with the families to meet their specific needs.

"This scheme gives the Indigenous families involved the opportunity to achieve something that, until now, has been beyond their reach.

"Most Australians take for granted that they can, if they wish, buy their own home. This has not previously been something Indigenous people in remote communities could achieve.

"I particularly congratulate the Traditional Owners who have assisted the Government to get this programme up and running.

"The programme is already expanding, with other families today registering to join the scheme to purchase houses in Wudapuli and Perrederr.

"Decisions on the total number of houses that will be built in these communities will be based on demand."