Paul Henderson MLA, Northern Territory Chief Minister
Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari - Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
A landmark joint housing program between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments will deliver vital construction, refurbishment and infrastructure developments, as well as jobs in 73 Northern Territory Indigenous communities and some urban areas.
The Australian Government will contribute $547 million over four years through the Northern Territory Government, and the Territory Government will provide a further $100 million.
The program will deliver:
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the housing program will substantially improve living conditions for around 80 per cent of Indigenous people living in the targeted remote and urban communities.
"Work is planned to begin from October this year, and the successful construction companies will be working in communities for several years," Ms Macklin said.
A total of $420 million for major works in 16 high need communities and more than $124 million for refurbishments in an additional 57 communities will be provided. A further $103 million will be directed towards town camps, urban living areas and a small number of existing housing programs.
The Australian Government's contribution of $547 million is part of a larger $813 million commitment by the Australian Government to Indigenous housing and infrastructure services in the Northern Territory to 2011.
Ms Macklin emphasised that a significant focus of the program is on providing employment and training opportunities for local Indigenous people.
"Indigenous people will have access to jobs and training in their own communities, leading to future job opportunities in construction, repairs and maintenance," Ms Macklin said.
"This will arise from contractual obligations to be agreed with successful tenderers.
"This initiative presents a wonderful opportunity to create real and sustainable jobs in remote Indigenous communities.
"The program underpins the Government's commitment to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
"It is an example of the type of practical, on the ground measures which will improve health and safety in Indigenous communities."
Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, said this was the Territory's largest ever remote housing program.
"Overcrowding and disrepair of houses in remote communities is rife, contributing to significant health and education problems. We must improve housing standards if we are to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage," Mr Henderson said.
"This is a new era of delivering housing in the bush.
"For the first time, Government, industry and communities will work in partnership to ensure that benefits are delivered where they're needed the most.
"Importantly, the jobs and training offered through the program will open the door to future job and economic opportunities for Indigenous Territorians in remote areas."
The Northern Territory Government will deliver the program and the Australian Government will provide support in the development stages to establish the program.
Security of tenure will be a key element in allocating this funding. Communities receiving capital works under this program will need to enter into a lease for a period of time appropriate to the life of the capital works being funded.
57 communities to receive housing upgrades
16 communities to receive major capital works
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