In a Queensland first, human rights advocate Mick Gooda has been appointed to the role of First Nations Advisor to help improve housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Jackie Trad, said Mr Gooda brings an incredible wealth of experience in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.
“We know that to ensure the best outcomes for remote communities we need to work with them, not simply do things to them,” Ms Trad said.
“This is especially important as we are approaching a crisis in remote housing brought on by the Commonwealth’s disgraceful decision to completely cut funding to building new housing.
“We are taking decisive action to support communities with new funding while we continue to try and reach an agreement with the Commonwealth.
“Our Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and there is no one better placed to facilitate this partnership than Mick Gooda.
“Mr Gooda has extensive experience working in remote, rural and urban environments and can draw on a deep and diverse body of cultural knowledge.
“He will facilitate our engagement with key stakeholders and provide advice to the Government.
“We are launching community consultation to guide how we can target investment to best support the jobs that rely on remote housing construction while we wait for the Morrison LNP Government to see sense.”
First Nations Advisor Mick Gooda said stable home environments are so important as a platform for better outcomes in the areas of health, education, justice and child protection.
“I am looking forward to working with the Queensland Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve better community outcomes across the state.”
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Queensland Government had committed $40 million towards a modest remote housing program for 2019 to protect jobs whilst it continues to seek Commonwealth funding.
“This investment will support up to 132 full time equivalent jobs, build up to 17 new houses, 68 extensions and 32 lot developments for future construction in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” said Mr de Brenni.
“This will help offset the Federal Government’s decision to abandon funding talks for remote housing following the expiry of the National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) on 30 June 2018, and ensure economic activity associated with housing construction does not cease entirely,” he said.
“Mr Gooda will also work closely with Indigenous Community Housing Organisations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Local Government Councils and key stakeholders to shape the formation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Body.
“The Action Plan and Housing Body are two major commitments under the historic Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027 and will pave the way to lasting housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the additional $40 million is on top of the $145.7 million already committed by the Palaszczuk Government to remote housing through the 2018-19 State Budget.
“This is a modest response to significant remaining overcrowding and housing demand in remote communities and is not a substitute for long-term Commonwealth funding,”
“Queensland’s offer of up to $1.08 billion over 10 years towards a new remote housing agreement with the Commonwealth stands, if the Commonwealth is prepared to reciprocate our offer,” she said
The Palaszczuk Government will partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councils to develop a program of works for 2019 in the coming weeks.