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REMOTE SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY Walgett and Wilcannia in NSW.
REMOTE SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY On 21 April Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs the Hon. Jenny Macklin, MP outlined details of the $291.2 million National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery (NP). The Minister announced the bold aim of the NP: “…In just a few years we can build a critical mass of support and assistance to bring services and conditions in remote Indigenous communities up to the same standard as comparably sized communities elsewhere in Australia…” Jenny Macklin, MP 21/4/09 The strategy is intended to be comprehensive covering areas such as; education, health care, housing, infrastructure, municipal services recreation and sporting facilities. The new model will initially concentrate resources in 26 priority locations across Australia. They are: Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak, Gunbalanya, Hermannsburg, Lajamanu, Maningrida, Milingimbi, Nguiu, Ngukurr, Numbulwar, Wadeye, Yirrkala, Yuendumu, Angurugu and Umbakumba in the Northern Territory. Mornington Island, Doomadgee, Hope Vale and Aurukun in Queensland. Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia. Amata and Mimili in South Australia, and Walgett and Wilcannia in NSW. The Minister stated that in identifying where to concentrate Government investment, FaHCSIA developed a range of practical criteria including: • Significant concentration of population • Anticipated demographic trends and pressures • The potential for economic development and employment • The extent of pre-existing shortfalls in government investment in infrastructure and services • In the Northern Territory, building on the significant investment already set in train In each location there will be baseline mapping of social and economic indicators, government investment, services and gaps in services. The Minister announced that: “…A coordinated and comprehensive local implementation plan will be negotiated with and tailored to the needs of each community and across government… and monitored to ensure it is delivering on agreed upon priorities and if not will be revised…” Jenny Macklin, MP 21/4/09 COORDINATOR GENERAL FOR REMOTE INDIGENOUS SERVICES The Minister also announced the creation of a new position of Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services. The Coordinator General will: • Oversee the program and the implementation of major reforms in hosing, infrastructure and employment • Address service delivery issues and make sure services are delivered when and where they are needed • Monitor the provision of employment and training opportunities • Oversee housing tenure agreements • Report directly to the Minister and work across all agencies REACTION TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT On 21 April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the plan had already drawn criticism from some Indigenous groups who fear the approach to prioritise 26 communities will starve other communities of funds and force people to move to priority areas. They warned many who live in their home country do not want to move to larger centres where their children face greater exposure to alcohol and violence. NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT ON REMOTE INDIGENOUS HOUSING The Minister noted the vital importance of improving the quality of housing to the health and well-being of Aboriginal children and families: “…Housing underpins our reform agenda to tackle Indigenous disadvantage across the country…The shelter and security of a decent place to live is fundamental to reaching the ambitious targets we’ve set in health, education and labour market participation… No child can thrive in a house with no running water, where a dozen people share three rooms, where children are exposed to adult activities, unmonitored visitors or violent behaviour…” Jenny Macklin, MP The National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing sits under the umbrella of the National Affordable Housing Agreement and specifies 3 objectives that will contribute to the achievement of one overarching outcome of the strategy: Objectives: • Significantly reducing overcrowding in remote Indigenous communities • Increasing the supply of new houses and improving the condition of existing houses in remote Indigenous communities • Ensuring that rental houses are well maintained in remote Indigenous communities Outcome: • The agreement will contribute to the following outcome in the National Affordable Housing Agreement: Indigenous people will have improved amenity and reduced overcrowding, particularly in remote and discrete communities. Over 10 years the Agreement will deliver: • $4.786 billion over 10 years for remote Indigenous housing including $1.9 billion of new money • Construction of up to 4200 new houses to address severe overcrowding and homelessness • Significant upgrades and repairs of around 4800 houses in remote Indigenous communities across Australia which are currently in an appalling state of disrepair or are uninhabitable. • Improved tenancy management services • Economic development opportunities through increased local employment and training opportunities in construction and housing management providing up to 2000 local jobs • Upgrades to housing related infrastructure in remote communities, including town camps • Access to affordable housing options in regional centres to support employment, education, training opportunities and access to support services in regional areas of high employment • The States/Territories and the Commonwealth will work towards clearer roles and responsibilities and funding with respect to municipal services and ongoing maintenance and infrastructure and essential services in remote areas. PART 5 of the NP: FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS 2008/09 $333.807 million 2009/10 $432.733 million 2010/11 $412.783 million 2011/12 $463.941 million 2012/13 $478.971 million 2013/14 $746.792 million 2014/15 $594.352 million 2015/16 $463.176 million 2016/17 $411.729 million 2017/18 $447.627 million Total Funding $4.785911 billion The breakdown of the distribution of the funding outlined above will be determined when states and territories submit their implementation plans to FaHCSIA in the coming months. By Travis Gilbert Policy and Research Officer Homelessness Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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