The Turnbull Government’s decision to end the 50 year old commitment to federal funding for remote indigenous housing will have devastating consequences for Queensland.
Visiting AFL Cape York House in Cairns today, Acting Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said that it was time for Malcom Turnbull and the LNP to stop playing politics with housing.
“The Turnbull Government has told Queensland that after 30 June there will be no funding for remote indigenous housing from the Commonwealth and the National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) will end,” Ms Trad said.
“I’ve met with councils and communities in Napranum and Mornington Island over the past two days and they were incredibly concerned about what impact this would have on their communties.
“Housing is a basic human right, we know that we can’t Close the Gap if people don’t have somewhere safe and secure to live.
“Beyond that, NPRH supports 850 jobs in Far North Queensland – over 500 of these are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers who live in these communities, and 97 of those are apprentices.
“It’s the most successful indigenous employment program we’ve seen in remote Queensland. On Mornington Island for example, council has brought on 60 local people, dedicated to building housing, over three years and are looking to take on 30 more.
“If Malcolm Turnbull and the LNP were serious about jobs, if they were serious about closing the gap, they’d come to the table with funding for remote housing.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said that access to housing was critical for better employment, education and health outcomes.
“Through the NPRH we have been able to address overcrowding, which we’ve now nearly halved in Queensland,” Ms Cook said.
“Overcrowding means the return of diseases like scabies and rheumatic fever, which are barely seen outside remote communities.
“If we want healthy, strong indigenous communities we need to invest in housing, like both state and federal governments have done for the past 50 years.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that projects like AFL Cape York House would not have been funded without the NPRH.
“We’re visiting a fantastic facility today that is changing the lives of talented indigenous kids from across Cape York,” Mr Healy said.
“But this project would not be up and running without the NPRH, which provided a major funding contribution.
“How many kids won’t have the same opportunities if the LNP persist with their funding cuts?”
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad