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Initiative aims to close Queensland’s housing gap

Callan Morse -

A Queensland government initiative aims to close the housing gap experienced by First Nations communities in the state.

Co-designed by the state government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Queensland (ATSIHQ), the plan will see an initial $61 million investment to provide pathways to assist Indigenous people into home ownership.

The program, known as Our Place, is the latest component of the Queensland government’s Homes for Queenslanders plan.

ATSIHQ chair, Aunty Mary Doctor, said that through its co-design model Our Place ensures the approach to Indigenous housing in Queensland is a shared responsibility by both government and the community-controlled sector.

“Our Place is focused on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing outcomes in Queensland and has an important role in advising the State Government to address housing issues in Queensland,” Ms Doctor said.

“The quality of Our Place shows significant substance, because it has been informed and designed by Australia’s leading housing experts.

“This piece of leading policy work is exactly what we have been seeking – our peak body looks forward to being part of the implementation of the initiatives in Our Place, so that our work can be a beacon of what can be achieved when government and community work together.”

Our Place will also establish a dedicated community housing upgrade program to be delivered in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Queensland.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Queensland chief executive Neil Willmett said ATSIHQ has worked closely with the Queensland government to co-design Our Place to find housing solutions that will see First Nations Queenslanders thrive.

“When governments listen to people about issues that affect them, they make better decisions, get better results, and deliver better value for money,” Mr Willmett said.

“The government has listened to First Nations Queenslanders and together we have shaped an action plan that has a strong reform agenda to achieve change.

“Our Place is bold – it has to be to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing inequality in Queensland – and supports our vision to shift the way we work and deliver First Nations housing in Queensland to grow a strong and sustainable sector.”

Our Place will also include opportunities for the First Nations building and construction industry and delivering apprenticeships and training.

Queensland Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the state government is committed to closing the gap by increasing home ownership for First Nations communities.

“As part of a $12 million investment we’ll set up a one-off subsidised modular homes program, a tailored Sales to Tenants program, home ownership education and support for pre-purchase readiness and post-purchase sustainability,” she said.

“In response to calls from Indigenous community housing organisations, we’ll also create a funding program to help them maintain and upgrades homes, as part of a $20 million allocation.

“We’ve delivered hundreds more homes across 17 remote and discrete communities, and through Homes for Queenslanders, we’ll build even more."

Queensland Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Communities Minister, Leeanne Enoch said the government is focused on closing the gap in partnership with First Nations Queenslanders.

“Breaking down housing inequity that disproportionately affects First Nations Queenslanders is critically important to our combined effort to Close the Gap on disadvantage,” Ms Enoch said.

“Our Place means working with Indigenous councils and First Nations people to invest in more homes and jobs in remote communities and support more options for home ownership.”

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