• The Federal Government will conduct an independent review into the housing conditions in remote Indigenous communities. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Queensland government is calling on the federal government to provide certainty on future funding for remote Indigenous housing.
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Source:
NITV News
16 May 2017 - 3:25 PM  UPDATED 16 May 2017 - 3:25 PM

The Palaszczuk Government is calling on the federal government to provide immediate certainty about the future funding for Indigenous housing in remote communities. 

Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni says the funding uncertainty will stall housing projects. He's also accused the Turnbull Government of jeopardising progress made in closing the gap. 

"With the current agreement, we've built 863 new homes since 2009. That's created hundreds of jobs in remote communities, it's signicantly reduced overcrowding, and it's provided economic opportunties that just wouldn't otherwise exist," he told the ABC's Radio National. 

"We're very, very concerned that the progress made in closing the gap in those remote communities will be interrupted or worse still, wound back," he said. 

The same concerns have been raised in the Northern Territory, where Chief Minister Michael Gunner was disappointed the Turnbull Government did not match the territory's $1.1 billion investment into remote housing. 

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Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said the remote Indigenous housing still has some time yet to run. 

"We're working with the Northern Territory government, as we are with the other governments affected by that, at the renewal of that program when it falls due. So there wasn't an announcement in this year's budget, but there will be announcements on those measures going forward," he said. 

But Minister de Brenni says that may be too late, and has called on the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs to take action. 

"We need a solution in terms of remote Indigenous housing funding," he told Radio National. 

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But a spokesperson for the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, says the government is committed to delivering better housing outcomes for First Australians. 

"[Mr Scullion] is disappointed by the rubbish Minister de Brenni is throwing out for his own personal gain," the spokesperson said.

"Minister de Brenni is fully aware that discussions about funding arrangements post the expiration of the current national partnership in June 2018 are being conducted in accordance with standard practices." 

In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments agreed six targets for closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage relating to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational attainment and employment outcomes. 

Safe and appropriate housing was identified as a fundamental requirement for addressing these issues and the NPARIH was intiated to address this. 

The Commonwealth allocated $5.5 billion over ten years to help address significant overcrowding, homelessness, poor housing conditions and severe housing shortages in remote Indigenous communities. 

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But in the Federal Budget, funding under the NPARIH ends 30 June 2018 and no new money has been committed in the following years. 

Late last year, Minister Scullion announced an independent review of remote housing of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) and the Remote Housing Strategy. 

An expert panel is currently looking at the effectiveness of the agreement, Minister Scullion says Minister de Brenni is aware of this review. 

"Minister de Brenni is aware of this review and must demonstrate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are front and centre of any work going forward if the Commonwealth is to do business with the Queensland Government," the spokesperson said.  

The spokesperson said Minister Scullion will not rush the process at the expense of First Australians to suit Minister de Brenni and the Queensland Government’s electoral cycle.  

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