Wyatt hits out at lack of funds for remote housing

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
VideoMany groups say they have been ignored in the 2018 budget

The Federal Government has been slammed for failing to provide more funds towards housing in remote WA communities while simultaneously pumping $550 million into the same area in the Northern Territory over the next five years.

Last week’s Federal Budget matched the Northern Territory Government’s funding commitment to the National Partnership on Remote Housing but did not provide a single extra cent to WA, where existing Federal funds are set to dry up on June 30.

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt hit out at the lack of funding, describing remote housing as “without doubt” the biggest issue facing regional WA.

Durack MHR Melissa Price said the Federal and WA governments were still in negotiations.

“The Federal Government supports Aboriginal housing in Western Australia and, indeed, in all States and Territories,” she said.

“The Government is still in negotiations with the State Government regarding the level of support they will receive for Aboriginal housing.

“When this is agreed to, they will be funded to the agreed amount.”

Mr Wyatt said there had been no attempt by the Federal Government to engage the State on renewal of the partnership.

“That is a huge failure of the Commonwealth Government,” he said.

“If you don’t provide adequate housing, you get the adverse health and antisocial outcomes but you also get shifting populations of Aboriginal people moving from remote communities to regional population centres.

“There is not sufficient support services or housing either and inevitably they end up being caught in the criminal justice system.”

Mr Wyatt said at the very least the Federal Government could provide transitional funding.

Remote housing funding is used to provide property and tenancy management and address severe overcrowding in remote communities.

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