National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing
Improving housing conditions is essential to achieving improvements in Indigenous health, education and employment to help close the gap in life outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians.
Under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement, ‘Healthy Homes’ is one of seven inter-connected ‘building blocks’ — or priority action areas — that underpin the Closing the Gap strategy agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
The Australian Government has committed $5.5 billion over ten years to 2018 under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing to address:
- significant overcrowding
- poor housing conditions
- the severe housing shortage in remote Indigenous communities.
Funding: ten-year strategy
Funding is being provided to the States and Northern Territory over 10 years to 2018 to:
- deliver up to 4,200 new houses and rebuild or refurbish around 4,800 existing houses in remote Indigenous communities around Australia
- deliver employment-related accommodation in regional areas to enable Indigenous people from remote communities to access training, education, employment and support services
- provide Indigenous employment opportunities through a 20 per cent local Indigenous employment target over the life of the program for new housing construction.
In addition, long-term structural reforms will put remote Indigenous housing on a more sustainable footing by ensuring that:
- secure tenure arrangements are put in place as a pre-condition to new housing
- standard tenancy management arrangements exist so that rents can be collected and repairs and maintenance carried out
- tenants of new houses receive living skills training to transition to new tenancy arrangements and to help them understand their rights and responsibilities.
More than 1,400 new houses have been delivered and around 4,700 refurbishments completed since the commencement of the National Partnership. All States and the Northern Territory have exceeded the Indigenous employment targets set for them.
The Competitive Bids Process was established under the renegotiated National Partnership in late 2009, and allows up to 25 per cent of a jurisdiction’s capital works funding to be redistributed to another jurisdiction if targets are not met. This provides strong financial incentives for states and the NT to deliver on their new houses and refurbishment targets.
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Wider reform agenda
Indigenous housing is also part of a wider housing reform agenda. The National Affordable Housing Agreement