The Palaszczuk Government has officially commenced the development of its historic strategy to improve housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni announced today (Wednesday).
Mr de Brenni said First Nations Housing advisor Mick Gooda would work with the government to consult with communities around the state to find out “what needs to be done to provide better housing options”.
He said meetings, or “Yarning Circles”, would be held across Queensland before the end of the year - including Mount Isa, Townsville, Palm Island, Cairns, Yarrabah, Rockhampton, Woorabinda and Brisbane. These meetings follow preliminary discussions held last month in Hope Vale and the Torres Strait.
“We know that to ensure the best outcomes for remote communities we need to work with them, not simply do things to them,” Mr de Brenni said.
“This is especially important as we are approaching a crisis in remote housing brought on by the Federal LNP’s disgraceful decision to axe funding for building new housing in Queensland’s remote indigenous communities.
“I have appointed Mick Gooda to lead the development of a new partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and he will work with us to shape our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan, which is one of the key actions identified in our Queensland Housing Strategy 2017 -2027.”
Mr de Brenni said providing suitable housing made “all the difference in improving life chances”.
“You can’t start closing the gap on employment, health and education without a roof over your head – it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be over represented in overcrowding and homelessness. I think it’s a real test for this Prime Minister, who is on one of his very rare visits because he says he wants to listen to Queenslanders, which is a nice change.
“But is the ScoMo Express just a quest for votes to save his own job, or does he genuinely intend to represent all Australians, especially first Australians?
“The Palaszczuk Government is determined to address these challenges and that’s why we recently announced an additional $40 million, bringing our direct investment to $185 million this year to support a housing construction program in 2019 to help mitigate the worst impacts of the Commonwealth’s decision to cut funding.
“We continue to stand ready to accept any assistance in Closing the Gap from the Commonwealth should the Prime Minister overturn Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to turn his back on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”
Mr Gooda said he would work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, individuals, Elders and non-government organisations to ensure the Action Plan “truly reflects the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders”.
“I believe that it’s a fundamental right for every Queenslander, and equally a right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have safe, secure and stable housing,” he said.
“I will be talking to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and the Department of Housing and Public Works on developing a shared commitment on housing.”
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan will be launched next year.
The consultation period will run through to early December 2018 and will involve discussions and workshops with key stakeholders including Traditional Owners, private and social housing tenants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mayors and Councils, Indigenous organisations and Government agencies.
Visit www.qld.gov.au/betterhousingfutures to see a copy of the brochure and to have your say.
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni