The Prime Minister has kept his promise and signed a National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing in the Northern Territory that will ensure Aboriginal people have a formal role in the delivery of housing in their communities.
“Our Government has always been committed to the $550 million historic housing agreement and after months of the Gunner Labor Government playing political games to distract from their own financial mismanagement they have finally agreed so we can now just get on with it” the Prime Minister said.
“This agreement will help tackle the severe overcrowding that still persists in many remote NT communities by working with Indigenous communities and by setting a strong 40 per cent Indigenous employment target as a starting point.
“The Gunner Labor Government’s opposition to involving Indigenous peoples through the NT Land Councils was a great disappointment. As both Treasurer and now Prime Minister my focus has been ensuring Aboriginal people are at the heart of our efforts to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Finally the NT Government has agreed with us and Land Councils will be involved in the delivery of housing through a Joint Steering Committee.
“This agreement should never have been the political football the Gunner Labor Government made it and our persistence to bring them back to the table has paid off.”
The Joint Steering Committee will include the Northern Land Council, the Central Land Council, the Tiwi Land Council as well as the Anindilyakwa Land Council and guarantee Aboriginal involvement in the governance and decisions relating to broad strategy and policy, provide much needed transparency over this significant investment as well as ensure that local Indigenous employment and business outcomes are maximised.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the Morrison Government had always been clear about ensuring the four Land Councils had a formal role in the delivery of housing on behalf of their communities.
“We were also very clear that such a significant project – a total $1.1 billion over five years – should not only be delivered with Aboriginal people having a say but it should deliver long term economic and employment benefits to local Aboriginal and businesses and workers,” Minister Scullion said.
“In fact, we simply never contemplated that the Territory Labor Government would so strongly oppose giving Aboriginal people a right to be included in the decision-making or having meaningful Indigenous employment targets.
“And sadly throughout all of this, not once did Warren Snowdon or Malarndirri McCarthy ever support our position to include the four Land Councils or to have strong Indigenous employment targets.
“While I am extremely frustrated at the unnecessary delays and the ongoing uncertainty these protracted negotiations have caused to remote communities, of course I am pleased that we have finally secured this long overdue agreement and that the real work can now begin.”