Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Indigenous Communities to Benefit from Extra Funding for Housing

South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have received additional funding totalling $5.27 million this financial year to improve housing conditions for rural and remote Indigenous communities The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announced today.

Senator Patterson said the funding, part of the 2001 Indigenous Housing Budget measure, recognised the high rural and remote housing needs in those states.

“Around $91 million is provided annually by the Department of Family and Community Services to state and territory governments through the Aboriginal Rental Housing Program (ARHP), to provide safe, healthy and sustainable housing for Indigenous people,” Senator Patterson said.

“Under the ARHP South Australia received $8.92 million, Northern Territory $19.458 million, Western Australia $15.862 million, New South Wales $17.777 million and Queensland almost $30 million in 2003-04.

“Of the additional funding released under the 2001 Indigenous Housing Budget measure in 2003-04, South Australia received $584,000, Queensland received $2.371 million and $2.315 million went to Western Australia.”

The funding is being used to:

  • improve the capacity of Indigenous community housing organisations and involve Indigenous people in planning and service delivery;
  • provide training to staff of Indigenous community housing organisations, to develop improved management practices; and
  • provide an effective balance between providing new housing, upgrading, and maintenance and housing management.

Senator Patterson said that while the conditions in which many Indigenous people live were a concern, the Australian Government is committed to working closely with state and territory governments to improve the situation.

“Fixing the issues surrounding Indigenous housing is vital for a number of reasons. Not only should Indigenous people have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy and secure environment, it is a well known fact that poor living conditions link directly to poor health, particularly in Indigenous children,” Senator Patterson said.

“By assisting Indigenous people to improve the standard of their housing we can improve the health and well being of the whole community.

“Making a substantial, long-term, difference will take time but we are determined to improve the conditions in which they live.”