Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New Indigenous Housing Package Encourages Shared Responsibility

Indigenous communities will be involved in the assessment and repair of up to 500 of their own houses a year under a near $103 million “healthy housing” funding package from the Australian Government.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson said the Government would be working with Indigenous people and the Army to target community housing needs and improve Indigenous self management.

“Based on the principles of ‘shared responsibility’ and building capacity in local communities, the Government has moved to maintain the real value of its Indigenous housing investments while improving their effectiveness,” Senator Patterson said.

“This $102.8 million funding package over four years will focus on three key strategic initiatives. It will continue a program of involving Indigenous households and communities in assessing and repairing up to 500 houses a year in about 15 communities.

“It will also focus on encouraging reform of Indigenous community housing through improved governance and asset and tenancy management practices.

“The Howard Government has also made a commitment to continuing the delivery of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) in at least one community a year, which is a positive demonstration of practical reconciliation.

“This package bolsters the joint Australian, State and Territory Governments’ efforts to improve the viability and sustainability of Indigenous community organisations and the quality of Indigenous housing.

“It builds on previous initiatives with a stronger focus on developing capacity and shared responsibility between Indigenous communities and government for the management and delivery of housing and related infrastructure.

“This package also meets the Government’s election commitment of ‘further reducing the level of overcrowding in housing and improving associated infrastructure’ as announced in Indigenous Australians – Opportunity and Responsibility,” Senator Patterson said.