[by Marie Rancon]
CLC Chairman, Mr Francis Kelly. Image: supplied
Central Land Council Chairman Calls for Calm on Remote Housing
The CLC Chairman, Mr Francis Kelly, welcomed the decision of the Australian Government to support the CLC’s work on remote housing. The $300,000 will be used to ensure that Aboriginal people in our region have a strong voice on housing matters, and to develop a new approach to housing services in remote communities, in partnership with both levels of government.
“Instead of talking about us and around us, government should be talking to us” said CLC Chairman, Francis Kelly.
The Central Land Council has consistently voiced its concern about the state of housing in remote Aboriginal communities and the system for delivering housing services over the last decade.
The system is characterised by chronic overcrowding, poor housing conditions, maintenance that does not get done, policies and procedures that are culturally alien and absurdly complex, and management systems that are dysfunctional and unresponsive.
“For more than ten years we have been calling for a new approach where Aboriginal people themselves are at the table providing advice on the design and implementation of a new housing system for remote communities,” said Mr Kelly.
The CLC recognises the important role of both the Commonwealth and Territory governments in housing for remote communities – but if Aboriginal people are not fully involved in the design and delivery of the system that provides that housing then it will fail as it has done for more than a decade. We seek a partnership that respects the interests and contributions of all parties.
We are very concerned that negotiations between the Commonwealth and Territory in relation to the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, that seemed to be moving positively in 2018, appear to have reached an impasse.
We reiterate our call for both Governments to negotiate in good faith so that the funds both levels of government have committed can be unlocked and used to deliver desperately needed new housing in our remote communities. The people who really suffer as a consequence of the continued bickering between levels of government are the old, the sick, and the children in our communities. Poor housing means poor physical and mental health, exacerbates social tensions within families and communities, provides barriers to schooling, and hampers participation in the workforce.
The CLC stands ready and willing to meet with both levels of government to progress what is our number one priority – decent housing for our people!
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