Remote Indigenous communities in the NT have been promised housing funding if Labor were to be federally elected next month.
$100 million will be immediately distributed to the NT homelands. Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australia Linda Burney said funding for these communities will improve their quality of life.
“Spending on health, education and employment will offer a much bigger return if we also improve access to safe and adequate housing in remote Australia,” she said.
“Labor understands the need to work with First Nations peoples to address overcrowding and run-down housing if we are to be successful in closing the gap.”
The $100 million will be in addition to $200 million already committed to the Housing Australia Future Fund which aims to rebuild homes in remote WA, SA, the NT, and Queensland. Labor will change the national $1.1 billion housing fund enacted by the Morrison government.
In 2018, over $500 million was committed over five years to build about 650 three-bedroom houses in remote communities throughout the Northern Territory. However according to a recent audit report only 19 per cent of these houses have been built, equivalent to 121 homes.
The report found several weaknesses including lack of funding from both the NT and federal governments. Findings also revealed that homes in NT remote communities are overcrowded with an additional 1857 houses needed to combat the crisis.
“Housing and related infrastructure assets remain in generally poor condition, while greater transparency is arguably required to ensure a more optimal allocation of resources,” the report stated.
“One third of [2,400] houses had substantial or longstanding issues that necessitated rebuilding rather than repair.”
The Liberals say if they are re-elected they will also extend the Home Ownership Program for Indigenous Businesses by $7.7 million, reportedly to bring about 1000 jobs and support Indigenous home loans.