National Partnership Agreement Remote Indigenous Housing

Improving housing conditions is essential to improving the health, education and employment of Aboriginal people. The housing implementation plan should be renamed Distance Australia Strategies Imlementation Plan and be part of the new National Northern Territory Global Investment Partnership Agreement to replace the Stronger Futures initiative. In 2016, the new NPRH was negotiated between the commonwealth, Northern Territory (NT), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (AV) governments to replace NPARIH. The NPRH focused on managing critical housing needs for Torres Strait Aborigines and Islanders in remote communities, improving service delivery, exploiting jobs and business opportunities, and creating more sustainable housing. The NPRH came into effect on July 1, 2016 and ended on June 30, 2018. The Commonwealth has pledged $776.403 million over two years under the NPRH. The 2016 NPARIH and NPRH remote accommodation review revealed that considerable progress had been made, but that a number of ongoing issues still needed to be resolved. The review estimates that after taking population growth into account, an additional 5,500 housing units will be needed by 2028 to reduce overcrowding in remote areas to an acceptable level. Half of the additional needs are in the Northern Territory alone. A copy of the audit and other related documents can be accessed on the remote review site. Improving housing construction will significantly address the disadvantage gap for Aboriginal people.

Following the 10-year investment of the national partnership agreements, the Commonwealth provided one-time funding in 2018/2019 for isolated aboriginal housing in Western Australia ($121 million) and South Australia ($37.5 million), with states supporting the transfer of responsibility for remote housing funding to the states. The Commonwealth also announced in May 2019 that it would spend US$105 million to finance isolated Aboriginal housing in Queensland. The agreement aims to improve isolated housing by reducing Aboriginal overcrowding in 73 isolated communities and the 17 Alice Springs Town Camps. From May 2013 to June 2018, the residential component of the NT initiative allocates $230 million to upgrades in remote communities. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments agreed on six goals to close the gap between aboriginal inequalities in life expectancy, infant mortality, access to early childhood education, education and employment.