• Indigenous mayors from Queensland have asked Nigel Scullion for reassurance on the future of remote housing funds. (Local Government Association of Queensland)Source: Local Government Association of Queensland
A delegation of First Nations mayors from Queensland have met with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion in a last-ditch attempt to secure ongoing funding for remote Indigenous housing across the state.
By
Nakari Thorpe, Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
20 Jun 2018 - 5:19 PM  UPDATED 20 Jun 2018 - 5:19 PM

After months of stalled negotiations between the federal and state governments, Torres Strait Council Mayor Vonda Malone says the group wanted to "cut to the chase" at Tuesday's meeting.

"The message was we’ve heard a lot of facts and figures being thrown around by both governments, and essentially that’s not going to help our communities in the long run," she told NITV News. 

"We wanted to know where we sat in relation to the housing program and what options do we have to progress this – as opposed to hearing the same messages that we’ve been given before."

A national remote housing review estimates 1100 new homes are needed in Queensland over the next decade to address overcrowding.

State and federal governments have been unable to reach a new funding arrangement, with a jointly-funded national scheme set to expire on June 30.

Failure to secure long-term funding will have catastrophic impacts on the social, educational and health outcomes of the state's remote communities, according to a motion passed at the Australian Local Government Association's national general assembly.

Federal seat of Batman to be renamed after Indigenous rights leader William Cooper
The Australian Electoral Commission has 'unanimously agreed' to rename the federal seat of Batman in honour of Indigenous rights campaigner William Cooper.

Ms Malone said while there were frustrations on both sides during Tuesday's meeting, the mayors were heartened to hear that State Minister for Housing, Mick de Brenni, would meet Mr Scullion next week in another attempt to find a funding solution. 

"We really need some answers," Ms Malone says. 

"We have been on this road of discussions and advocating and I think we’re at the end of this road.

"We certainly just want a commitment from both state and federal government to say ‘this is what we’re going to do’."

Mr Scullion said he was disappointed that negotiations with Queensland had taken so long, while other states and territories have since reached new joint funding agreements. 

However, he's hopeful of finding a solution at next week's meeting with Mr de Brenni. 

“I’m very confident that by the end of next week we will have gotten to the bottom of it all," he told NITV News.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March with the promise of $1.08 billion over 10 years. 

In May, Mr Scullion told NITV News he needed reassurances that the funding was "new money" which would be allocated to the remote regions. 

- With AAP

MORE ON THIS STORY
Indigenous mayors in Canberra call for remote housing funding
More than 150 mayors from across Australia have called out the Turnbull government's failure to commit money for housing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.