Following robust negotiations, the State Government and the Commonwealth have reached a $121 million dollar funding agreement for continued support for remote housing and essential services.
WA currently spends $90 million dollars across 165 remote communities, with the additional funding allowing current community programs to be extended.
“This is just not about housing, this is about maintaining those houses, in a very difficult environment, but also providing water, electricity, power, sewerage into these communities,” Mr Tinley said.
Housing Minister, Peter Tinley, said the State has reached an agreement where they accepted the commonwealth’s position on this, but reserve the right to further negotiations in the future to get the outcomes wanted.
The new 2 year funding will be the last contribution from the Commonwealth, before the State Government takes full responsibility for WA’s remote housing.
“The announcement of the funding from the WA Government is massive for our remote communities who don’t have proper housing and all the issues that come out of not being stable reflecting on the community in many ways – their health, their education…”
Ngalla Meyer Spokesperson, Mervyn Eades, said it’s about time they recognise housing is a necessity in any community.
“It is a disgrace to Australia that these people are living in over crowded accommodation, really really poor housing, and even when they do the infrastructure of these houses they’ve got to go into the community and ask them how they want it built,” he said.
Mr Eades questioned how do they measure the millions in funding against the lives of some of the poorest people in the country, living in remote communities that don’t have the basic necessity that urban towns and cites have.
“Why should they have lack of resources and accommodation when everyone else around them is healthy and striving…”
Over 1,300 new dwellings will be built over the next 10 years, with Mr Tinley saying that number will shift as the program progresses.
Collaboration between the Housing and Aboriginal Affairs Minister with Aboriginal West Australians will also continue with the hope of improving conditions and life outcomes.
“One of the things that the aboriginal people in these communities will be engaged in is a conversation of what those communities look like,” said Mr Tinley.
A deeper program will focus on 10 communities ensuring the best results are achieved.
“We’re having a conversation with those communities about the future viability and seeing what do they want for their future,” he explained.
Mr Eades commented on a lack of government collaboration, saying more input from the community that’s going to be living there is needed.
He said Liberals and labor have failed the first nations people, one government after another.
“It doesn’t really matter they can put the blame game on each other but this is basic human rights, violation of the first peoples of Australia…”
“And blaming each other instead of having bipartisan support, that’s what they should be talking about… having support for basic human rights conditions for remote communities and the people living there…” he said.
Instead of trying to close these communities, Mr Eades stated a need to make them self sufficient and liveable for the people, ensuring all the resources and basic needs and provided in order to live a comfortable and full life.
“Create employment through training them up and giving qualifications, so they can have an economic base in their communities and then let them run their own communities in the way they see fit,” he commented.
But it all comes down to future resources to make it viable, with continued funding and support from both State and Federal Governments.