• Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a visit to Clontarf Aboriginal College in Perth on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. (AAP)
Federal funding for remote housing expired in June with no new agreement signed.
By
Rangi Hirini

Source:
NITV News
3 Oct 2018 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2018 - 11:43 AM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has continued the Commonwealth’s tough stance on funding for remote housing.

During his recent trip to the west, which included a visit to the Clontarf Aboriginal College, the prime minister said it would be up to the states to step-up and fully fund remote housing. 

“Housing is the responsibility of the state and territory governments,” he told ABC Perth.

“We’ve provided support up in the Northern Territory because there are quite specific responsibilities we have, because it’s a territory and the nature of the Commonwealth leasehold arrangements around the housing in the Northern Territory. 

“But for states like Western Australia, like Queensland and others, they actually have the responsibility for dealing with those issues.” 

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Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia currently have no federal funding for their remote housing sector after the decade-long National Partnership on Remote Housing with the federal government expired on June 30.  

In April, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed an agreement to continue to fund the Northern Territory with $550 million allocated for five years.

The Western Australia Housing Minister Peter Tinley criticised Prime Minister Morrison for abandoning some of the state’s most vulnerable people. 

"Walking away from a long-term funding agreement for remote communities will leave a $400 million hole in WA's forward estimates and abandon thousands of Western Australians to further distress,” he said in a statement.

Under the former agreement, Western Australia was receiving $100 million annually from the Commonwealth. 

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In August, the West Australian’s Housing Minister entered into a war of words with federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, with Mr Scullion describing Mr Tinley as "racist".

“The only thing affecting progress on reaching a deal in Western Australia is Peter Tinley's racist approach to Aboriginal people and his willingness to play petty politics with their homes and their lives," Senator Scullion said. 

The prime minister says the newly announced GST deal would see each state receive additional federal funding, with Western Australia expected to receive $4.7 billion. 

Mr Morrison says his government would consider any proposals from Western Australia, but he agrees with Indigenous envoy and former Prime Minster Tony Abbott that it’s each state’s responsibility to look after their own sectors. 

“Ultimately it’s the West Australian Government’s responsibility to look after housing, particularly that type of housing, social housing and so on, within their state,” he said.

Western Australia has approximately 12,000 people living in remote communities across the state.

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