Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Funding for major Indigenous housing projects

The Howard Government will commit a further $514 million in funding for Indigenous housing, accommodation and related services in the Northern Territory.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough today said this major commitment is on top of the $279 million in funding already allocated to the Northern Territory by the Australian Government for Indigenous housing and related services.

“The Howard Government will invest a huge $793 million in Indigenous housing, which will go a long way to addressing the backlog in unmet housing need in Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.

“The funding, under the new Australian Remote Indigenous Accommodation (ARIA) Programme for use in the Northern Territory over the next four years, forms a large part of the $1.6 billion commitment by the Howard Government for the reform of Indigenous housing which I announced in the last Budget.

“Funds will be used to repair and upgrade existing houses, and to construct new houses, as well as creating training and employment opportunities for local Indigenous communities.

“The Australian and Northern Territory Government will work together to determine where these funds will be spent, using a national competitive procurement process to ensure better outcomes.

“Under the terms of the agreement, the Northern Territory Government will take responsibility for the delivery of municipal and infrastructure services to all towns and communities in the Northern Territory, including outstations and town camps.

“Indigenous Australians should have the opportunity to share in the current economic prosperity and the Australian Government is keen to work with the Northern Territory Government to ensure the lives of Indigenous people across the Territory are considerably improved by the new arrangements.

“The Australian Government’s intention is to introduce normal public housing arrangements in the communities, with rental levels linked to the quality of the housing and the capacity of the tenants to pay.

“During the period of the emergency response, the Australian Government is committed to bringing the quality of housing in remote communities to acceptable standards as quickly as practicable, and rents charged will recognise the actual condition of premises,” Minister Brough said.