• WA Premier Mark McGowan has urged the Federal Government to supply the state with funding for remote housing. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Western Australian and Federal governments are yet to agree on the next round of funding for remote housing.
By
Rangi Hirini

Source:
NITV NEWS
3 May 2018 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 3 May 2018 - 11:53 AM

Ahead of next week’s state and federal budgets, the West Australian government has called on the Commonwealth government to continue funding for remote housing.

Western Australia has a total of 274 remote communities, an estimated 12,000 Aboriginal people live in remote communities within the state.

Currently, the West Australian government is a part of the two year National Partnership on Remote Housing agreement with the Federal Government and has received $214 million in funding since 2016.

The 2016 deal was negotiated to replace the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing which was set up in 2008.

The Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia are also a part of the 2016 agreement, which expires on June 30.  The Commonwealth committed $776 million under the deal.

Last week, the Turnbull government committed $550 million for five years to support housing in the Northern Territory which matches a commitment by the NT government.

West Australian premier, Mark McGowan said he hopes to see the Federal Government renew the National Partnership on Remote Housing deal or similar spending on WA housing.

"The Commonwealth has done it for the Northern Territory - they should do it for Western Australia," he said on Monday.

In February the West Australia government called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to negotiate a new long- term funding agreement.

In March, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion slammed Western Australia and Queensland for failing to commit their own funds to match the Commonwealth remote Indigenous housing funding.

WA Minister for Housing, Peter Tinley said in at the time: "It is not acceptable for the Turnbull Government to simply provide a token short-term extension to the current funding agreement (due to expire on June 30) and then walk away from its long-standing responsibility in this area of acute need,” 

"Such a gesture should be seen for what it is - a cut and run payment that will leave States and the NT carrying an impossible financial burden into the future.”

Minister Tinely said the state government acknowledges the importance of Aboriginal people remaining on country.

"The McGowan Government recognises the importance for many Aboriginal people of land, cultural practice and family and will not prevent any Aboriginal people from living remotely or continuing to access country for cultural purposes.

"However, it will be extremely difficult to sustain services to these communities if the Commonwealth follows through on its decision to remove the very funding contribution that helps support them,” he said.

"This decision - if it is not reversed - will represent an insidious attack on Aboriginal people and culture and will deny the important part they play in Australia's national heritage."

If the States don’t come to an agreement before June 30, responsibility for Indigenous remote housing will revert back to the Commonwealth Government who has no mechanism for managing the sector.