As we pen this letter to you, our Queensland representative, our remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are facing an uncertain future.
The Turnbull Government is walking away from funding the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing, putting the state’s progress towards Closing the Gap at risk.
Queensland Council of Social Service, Q Shelter and the Local Government Association of Queensland have joined together to urge every one of you to take stock of what is really important.
Housing is a basic human right and provides the foundation for a range of social and economic outcomes such as health, education, employment, and participation in social, cultural and community life. This is fundamentally important for our remote communities.
The National Partnership has seen many Queensland Indigenous communities build communities and industries not just houses. It has allowed for jobs and apprenticeships with a trajectory towards creating small businesses. Small businesses that will continue to support employment within community to build enough houses to meet need and maintain the housing stock that exists. But more time is needed.
Since it commenced in Queensland, this partnership has supported more than 850 jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander apprentices and trainees; has built almost 1,150 homes; refurbished almost 1,500 homes; and maintained 4,300 homes.
While much progress has been made, housing in remote Indigenous communities across Queensland still falls short of providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with the foundations to support other wellbeing outcomes.
If we are serious about closing the gap then the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing must be funded.
This is not just about bricks and mortar, this is about denying communities the opportunity to reach their full potential. This is about walking away at the very time that certainty and support is needed.
You have the power to play a key role in closing the gap!
Mark Henley and Leone Crayden