The Queensland government has established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak housing body to address some of the challenges First Nations people face in accessing appropriate sustainable housing.
The state government is investing $5.5 million to establish the organisation as part of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan 2019-2023.
Communities and housing minister Leeanne Enoch on Wednesday said the body, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Queensland, would advocate for the sector and work with government to improve outcomes for First Nations people.
“The new peak body will represent the Indigenous housing sector’s interests, providing advocacy and connection to government. Their extensive knowledge and geographically diverse backgrounds will provide unique insights into the housing challenges and opportunities for communities across Queensland,” she said.
“This group will continue to be a guiding force, working with the sector to deliver a program of work including workforce development initiatives and building organisational capacity.”
The new entity will advocate for housing providers in Brisbane and Canberra, according to its CEO, Neil Willmett. He said the body would ‘find new solutions and set new standards’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing in the state.
“We understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing challenges are complex and that they cannot be solved by a single organisation and will partner with like-minded organisations to have a common goal and make the best use of collective expertise,” he said.
Enoch has accused the federal government of walking away from its responsibility to fund remote Indigenous housing, noting that the commonwealth ended the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing in 2018.
“The federal government has vacated this space. But, we are taking action,” she said.
The announcement of the body has coincided with National Sorry Day.