There is a massive need for a coordinated approach to Aboriginal housing policy development and advocacy in the community sector, this has become particularly apparent in relation to the future of remote housing in Australia.
In the lead up to the 2016 Federal election a coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations published The Redfern Statement[i], an ‘urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. The Statement stressed “It is critical that Australia’s First Peoples are properly represented at the national level to ensure meaningful engagement with Government, industry and the non-government sectors to advance the priorities of our people. Among other things, one of its top four requests was for the new Federal Government to commit to resourcing a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for housing.
Under the call for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for housing, the Redfern Statement noted that:
Federal and State Government policies concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing is currently disjointed, wasteful and failing. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in urban and regional markets face many barriers in accessing and securing safe and affordable housing, including discrimination and poverty.
The next Federal Parliament should support the development of a national representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who can focus on housing security for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and:
On 14th February 2017 the Prime Minister met with Congress and he agreed to support Congress in principle and undertake some consultation around the establishment of six national peaks (including housing).
On 20 July 2017 National Congress convened an Aboriginal and Torres Islander Housing Workshop: Working Towards a National Indigenous Housing Policy Organisation was held in Adelaide with over sixty participants coming from all States and Territories.
A national working group was established that is working towards establishing a national peak organisation that represents the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities in the housing sector.