Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Initiatives support home ownership on Indigenous land

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

The Australian Government today announced initiatives to promote individual home ownership on Indigenous land.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews MP, made the announcement at a joint media conference in Canberra.

These Australia-wide measures add to the changes, announced today, to tenure arrangements on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory which make it easier for Aboriginal Territorians to obtain leases for homes and businesses on Aboriginal land.

One in three Indigenous families are already home owners and many more want to be. These tailored programmes acknowledge that Indigenous Australians in remote communities need a helping hand to own their own homes.

The initiatives include:

  • An initial allocation of a $7.3 million addition to the successful Home Ownership Programme run by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for a new programme targeted to Indigenous Australians living in Aboriginal communities. Under this program people can borrow money from the IBA at concessional interest rates.
  • An initial allocation of up to $5 million from the Community Housing and Infrastructure Programme to reward good renters with the opportunity to buy the community house they have been living in at a reduced price.
  • use of the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) programme to start building houses, support home maintenance, and to maximise employment and training opportunities

The Australian Government will continue to examine other ways to help Aboriginal people buy homes on community title land, including looking at overseas models.

These programmes will be available to all States that follow the Australian and Northern Territory government’s lead to enable long term individual leases on Aboriginal land under the Northern territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

The Australian Government will consult with the States to promote any necessary amendment of State Indigenous land rights regimes to ensure access to the new programmes.

The programmes are expected to commence in 2005-06 with full implementation from 2006-07.