Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 20 October 2005) . . Page.. 4012 ..
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—disadvantage(Question No 560)
Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 25 August 2005:
• What has the ACT Government achieved in reducing indigenous disadvantage in the portfolio area of Disability, Housing and Community Services;
• What (a) levels of funding and (b) programs have been implemented in relation to part (1) during (a) 2001-02, (b) 2002-03, (c) 2003-04 and (d) 2004-05.
Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
In responding to the questions, I am providing information in relation to those areas of the Department of Disability Housing and Community Services for which I am responsible. Information is not provided for the year 2001-02 as the Department did not exist at that time.
The ACT Government has provided a number of services within the portfolio area of Disability, Housing and Community Services to reduce indigenous disadvantage.
However, most service provision to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families occurs as part of general service delivery in all portfolio areas. For example, in 2003-04, of the 1638 people in the ACT who used disability services funded under the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement, 22 identified as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or both1. As at 6 September 2005, in public housing, (excluding community housing and Disability ACT housing), 193 out of 10 667 households contain indigenous persons (1.81%). Some caution must be applied to both the disability sector and public housing sector data, however, as ethnicity remains self-identified, and for a range of reasons, the figures above may represent an undercount of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The quality of Indigenous data and Indigenous reporting in community services, housing and health has been a matter of national concern for some years. The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services shares a national commitment to improving the quality of data on Indigenous people in housing and community services data collections. As part of the work plan for the National Housing Data Agreement Management Group, Housing ACT is currently putting together its action plan for improving the identification of Indigenous households in mainstream housing programs and has already introduced measures to collect information consistent with national data standards for Indigenous identification. Under the National Community Services Information Management Group work plan, the Department will continue to participate in initiatives to improve the quality of Indigenous identification in community services data collections and to improve the quality and consistency of performance indicators for Indigenous people in this sector.
In addition to provision of generalist services, the Government has funded initiatives targeted specifically at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families, in the areas of social housing, carers and community engagement, in recognition of their disadvantage.
• $0.350m has been provided in each of 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05, for development of the indigenous housing sector to provide better access and wider choice for indigenous people. This funding is used to fund specialised indigenous housing providers such as Billabong Aboriginal Corporation and Ghibba Gunya Housing Corporation.