The Australian Greens say that a new report on Aboriginal housing in the Northern Territory shows the Government to do more to address overcrowding.
The report, ‘Tenants' experiences of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing Property and Tenancy Management Reforms’, was released today.
“It is great that the report on tenants’ experiences shows positive effects are being felt in some areas, particularly for the health and education of kids,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“However, the report also makes it clear that overcrowding continues to be a serious problem in the Northern Territory. The Government needs to address this ongoing issue in order to make sure this housing program is more effectively delivered.
“The occupancy target for the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) in the Northern Territory is an alarming 9.3 people per dwelling, and numbers across the Territory are often much higher. The overcrowding issue was also addressed in the ANAO report on the implementation of the NPARIH in 2011.
“This new tenants’ report shows that when overcrowding is addressed, by both reducing occupancy and building homes to cope with a larger number of residents, outcomes improve and people feel happier.
“Many of those people who are in new or rebuilt homes report being happier, in part because of reduced levels of overcrowding. This is because homes can be built to include the additional bedrooms, bathrooms and living space people need.
“In contrast, the report has found that ‘many of those tenants who received refurbishments did not identify a significant change in their wellbeing or happiness’ – in many cases because simply refurbishing a home does not add any capacity, like more bedrooms or bathrooms, so any overcrowding problems just continue.
“For this program to be more effective, the Government needs to ensure that the property work being undertaken creates more capacity within homes to cater for the number of people living there.
“It’s not good enough for the Government to simply refurbish a home, in full knowledge that overcrowding will make it significantly harder to maintain the property in good order.
“Positive investments in communities, including adequate housing and community support services, will deliver far stronger and longer term outcomes than the waste we’re currently seeing through failed schemes such as income management,” Senator Siewert concluded.