Page 4630 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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people. This funding is used to fund specialised indigenous housing providers, Billabong Aboriginal Corporation and Ghibba Gunya Housing Corporation.

Moreover, combined funding from the ACT and Australian governments, in excess of $2 million, was provided over 2003-04 and 2004-05 to the Billabong Aboriginal Corporation to significantly increase the stock of indigenous housing. Billabong has purchased seven properties with this funding. In addition to properties purchased, Billabong received one property through the community organisation rental housing assistance program in 2004-05. This means that Billabong has received eight additional properties since 1 July 2004, a 67 per cent increase, and will be allocated an additional three properties in 2005-06, two of which will be aged persons units.

Funding of over $50,000 per annum has also been provided to Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service since 2002 to provide a housing liaison service. Dyiramal Migay, another program run by Winnunga, is funded in partnership with Aboriginal Hostels Ltd to provide a supported accommodation service for young women experiencing homelessness. These services assist indigenous people in the ACT to access appropriate housing and related support services. I hope to be announcing further support services later this year.

Against this background, the new indigenous housing agreement between the ACT and Australian governments is intended to be a catalyst for continuing to improve housing outcomes for indigenous people. The agreement also aims to ensure that appropriate levels of ongoing resources and assistance are provided to support the development of management skills and capabilities to facilitate a robust and viable indigenous housing sector.

Under this agreement, a gradual transition will see the ACT government take over responsibility for allocating all funding for indigenous housing service delivery from 1 July 2006. This is a departure from previous arrangements, whereby the Australian government provided funding directly to indigenous community housing organisations in the ACT. The new agreement establishes a joint funding pool for indigenous housing services in the ACT from 1 July 2006. This funding pool will combine annual funding of nearly $820,000, of which over $400,000 is provided by the ACT government.

This pooled funding arrangement will result in improved indigenous housing services in the ACT, with less confusion for housing providers and tenants. This arrangement will, for the first time, allow the ACT government to have input into the allocation of Australian government funds for indigenous housing in the territory. This will ensure that funds are allocated to areas of greatest need.

In accordance with the ACT government’s commitment to community consultation, the agreement provides for the establishment of an ACT advisory committee on indigenous housing. The committee will provide advice on policies and strategies to improve housing outcomes for indigenous people in the ACT. The government will be shortly seeking expressions of interest from the indigenous community to join this committee.

In conclusion, I believe that this agreement will have a positive impact on the housing outcomes for the indigenous community of the ACT. Housing is the foundation upon which successful employment, education, health and social outcomes are built. This

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