The Hon. Rob Knight MLA, NT Minister for Housing
The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari
The Australian Government is investing a further $8.5 million to improve Indigenous housing in Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.
The funds announced today are in addition to the $44 million already committed for Nguiu under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) – a joint Australian and Northern Territory Government program to improve housing in Northern Territory Indigenous communities.
Nguiu was the first community to sign up to a township lease providing the security of tenure to attract the immediate delivery of additional housing investment.
The Nguiu community signed a 99-year township lease with the Australian Government in 2007.
As a result, Nguiu is one of the first SIHIP sites providing new houses and employment opportunities for local people in the community.
The SIHIP work is in addition to the 25 new houses delivered as part of the lease agreement, some of which have already been constructed and are now home to local families.
It will also boost the economy and create local jobs as part of housing construction and refurbishment work.
Work is expected to begin in the 2009 dry season and will be undertaken by Territory Alliance, one of three building industry consortiums that are delivering SIHIP across the Northern Territory.
Following consultation with the Nguiu community, around 90 new houses will be constructed to reduce overcrowding. In addition, about 145 existing houses will be substantially upgraded.
A Housing Reference Group has also been established in the community. This group will work with Territory Alliance and provide advice on the location and type of new housing to be built in Nguiu under SIHIP.
This group will also work with governments, advising them on broader decisions around the management and delivery of housing in their community.
Decent housing is essential to improve the health of families and children and increase participation in the workforce.
It is central to the Australian and Northern Territory Government's commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
This announcement, along with the recent announcements for Tennant Creek, Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island, increases the total funds committed to Indigenous housing in the Northern Territory by $25 million. The total SIHIP commitment across the Northern Territory is now $672 million – one of the biggest investments ever by governments in Indigenous housing.
We are encouraging other landowner groups in the remaining SIHIP communities to finalise lease agreements so work can begin in those areas.
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