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$75m pledged for remote Aboriginal housing in SA Far North

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The State and Federal Governments have signed a new $75 million agreement to improve housing for Aboriginal people in South Australia’s far north – nine months after the previous agreement came to an end.

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The multi-million dollar investment, announced by SA Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink today, will be directed towards communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the far-north communities of Dunjiba and Umoona, and the west coast communities of Yalata and Koonibba.

Lensink said the five-year agreement marked the first time the State Government had matched the Federal Government on funding for Aboriginal housing, with both governments equally contributing $37.5 million.

“During the negotiations with the Federal Government, South Australia was able to achieve an improved outcome, reflecting he importance we place on providing better housing in remote Aboriginal communities,” she said.

“I am looking forward to talking with communities to hear directly from families about what is important, what is needed and what might be the possible solutions.”

Today’s announcement follows criticism from housing advocates and shadow Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher, who argued the State Government had not acted fast enough to renew a funding agreement with the Federal Government for Aboriginal housing.

The previous agreement – called the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing – expired at the end of June last year.

Under that agreement, South Australia had received over $26 million in 2016-18 to address the housing needs of Aboriginal people in the state’s remote communities.

As part of today’s announcement, Lensink said the state’s Housing Trust had also launched an Aboriginal Advisory Committee “to best inform decisions about Aboriginal Housing, not just in remote areas, but across the state”.

She said membership was still being finalised, but the committee would comprise of Aboriginal people from across the state.

The State Government is also currently developing a new Aboriginal Housing Strategy, which “recognises the specific needs of Aboriginal people, who are over-represented in overcrowding and homelessness”.

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