Labor needs to commit to remote housing

The right to housing is absolutely a fundamental right of our citizens. We know all the evidence demonstrates access to decent housing is critical to ensuring better health, education and employment outcomes.

That’s why it saddens me the Palaszczuk Government has refused to fund the next stage of remote housing in Queensland. This year marks the end of a 10 year Remote Housing Strategy. The Commonwealth provided a one-off $5.4b over a decade to the states and NT under the Remote Housing Strategy to assist the states meet their housing responsibilities, which delivered 4000 new homes and 7500 refurbishments and reduced overcrowding in Indigenous communities.

While the strategy has been a success, more remains to be done. But the Queensland Labor Government seem intent on sticking their head in the sand.

I can understand the frustration of Warren Entsch who called out Jackie Trad for using Indigenous people as “political pawns”.

The Federal Government is committed to helping Queensland with its remote housing responsibilities. Our objective is to build enough houses to meet the substantial shortfall in remote housing.

The Federal Government has invested $1.13b in Queensland’s remote Indigenous housing. This has delivered 1144 new builds and 1490 refurbishments.

The shortfall to overcome overcrowding in Queensland stands at around 1100 houses. 

But how much has the Queensland Government invested and how many houses have they built in remote? The answer is ZERO.

While the Commonwealth made a record investment in Queensland’s remote Indigenous housing, a series of city-centric Labor Governments have focussed the vast bulk of their housing funds into the South East corner of Queensland.

It is already shameful that the billions we have given Queensland for general public housing – through Special Purpose Payments and the Homelessness National Partnership Agreement – stays in cities. Over the past decade this has amounted to $2.5b. And how much of these federal funds has Queensland Labor directed to remote? Again, the answer is NONE.

I have repeatedly asked Mick de Brenni to show me one new house that the Queensland Government has funded in a remote Indigenous community over the past decade.