Labor pledges action on NT remote housing

Aaron Bunch |

Indigenous Northern Territorians in remote communities urgently need new homes and essential infrastructure upgrades, federal Labor says.

The party has promised to negotiate a new $100 million remote housing agreement with the Northern Territory government if elected on May 21.

The pledge includes providing dwellings on homelands and outstations that are culturally important sites and home to around 10,000 Aboriginal Territorians.

“Spending on health, education and employment will offer a much bigger return if we also improve access to safe and adequate housing in remote Australia,” Linda Burney, Opposition spokeswoman for Indigenous Australians, said on Wednesday.

“Labor understands the need to work with First Nations peoples to address overcrowding and run-down housing if we are to be successful in closing the gap.”

The Morrison government’s current agreement to fund remote housing in the NT expires in mid-2023.

Labor’s commitment is in addition to the party’s pledge to provide $200 million from the Housing Australia Future Fund for the repair, maintenance and improvement of remote housing in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the NT.

“Morrison has been in government for almost a decade and done little to improve the livelihoods of First Nations people and their aspirations to live on homelands and outstations across the Territory,” Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said.

“If Labor wins government, these commitments will go a long way in giving hope to those who want to live back on country.”