Aboriginal Health #Socialdeterminants and #Remote Housing Debate : @NACCHOChair urges Federal Government to maintain funding $ for remote Indigenous housing

“ NACCHO is extremely disappointed that the Commonwealth Government has recently walked away from all States’ Remote Housing funding agreements and only maintained smaller scale arrangements in the Northern Territory.

States have been offered short-term agreements and committed fewer funds.

Simply put, decent housing and reducing homelessness is critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people’

We know it’s a significant concern for State Governments too

Mr John Singer Chairperson of NACCHO See full Press Release Part 1

It is morally reprehensible that the Federal Government can walk away from ongoing funding for remote communities after being involved in this space for 50 years.

If the PM does not step in to resolve this issue – as requested in a formal letter sent to him by WA Premier Mark McGowan on May 11 – he will be showing his true stripes as the so-called PM for Closing the Gap.

We want to Close the Gap – not slam the door.”

WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley : Read full Press Release Below Part 2 Remote communities’ campaign calls on Commonwealth for a fair go

“The people living in WA’s 165 remote communities are amongst the most vulnerable in Australia. There are significant challenges in servicing their communities to a suitable standard.

For the Federal Government to suggest that this is solely a State responsibility is a nonsense.

I would urge all Australians – including all members of the Liberal and National State Opposition whose silence on this issue to date has been noted – to get on board with this campaign.”

I’ve spent a lot of my life having to deal with the slings and arrows of being an Aboriginal person. Nigel Scullion is just the latest in that , he’s clearly unsuitable to try to resolve this issue and I am surprised and disappointed that he would resort to such rhetoric.”

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt in The Guardian

WA minister says Scullion ‘unsuitable’ to resolve remote Indigenous housing dispute

and Press Release Part 2

“Without a decent place to live, the task of closing the gap in health or education becomes only more difficult,”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Patrick Dodson said housing underpins all of the Close the Gap targets. See Part 3

Download NACCHO Press Release

NACCHO URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAINTAIN HOUSING Agreements

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is extremely concerned that the Federal Government has cut funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.

Housing conditions in remote communities remain substandard, overcrowded and there are high rates of homelessness in remote communities. All of these contribute to poor health outcomes and prevalence of third world diseases like trachoma and rheumatic heart disease.

The WA State Government’s ‘Don’t Walk Away’ campaign, calls on the Federal Government not to abandon remote communities in Western Australia. For more information, visit http://www.dontwalkaway.wa.gov.au

NACCHO requests that the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing funding is maintained to support efforts in Closing the Gap policies of the Federal government and Agreements with all States signed as a matter of urgency.

Part 2 Remote communities’ campaign calls on Commonwealth for a fair go

The WA McGowan Government started a campaign to pressure the Federal Government to not abandon 165 remote communities in Western Australia.

The ‘Don’t Walk Away’ campaign featured online and print media advertising, and promote a website with a call to action for people concerned about the plight of the almost 12,000 people living in remote communities across WA.

June 30 marked the end of a 10-year, $1.2 billion funding agreement between the Federal Government and the WA Government to support remote communities through the provision of housing.

The WA Government contributes about $90 million annually to maintain these communities through the provision of essential services such as power, water and waste management, infrastructure and regular maintenance activity.

The Federal Government’s own independent Remote Housing Review has identified that about 1,300 new homes will need to be built in WA in the coming decade to address issues of overcrowding in remote communities and to cater for population growth.

But despite months of haggling, the Federal Government has indicated it intends to wash its hands of further involvement in the provision of housing for remote services after making a payment of about $60 million over the next three years.

This will leave an approximate $400 million gap in the State’s finances over the forward estimates.

The State Government today issued a national call to action for all caring Australians to lobby Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – the so-called PM for Closing the Gap – to solve the current impasse and prevent indigenous Australians living in remote communities from further disadvantage.

For more information, visit http://www.dontwalkaway.wa.gov.au

Part 3 Labor Press Release TURNBULL WALKS AWAY FROM REMOTE INDIGENOUS HOUSING

Malcolm Turnbull has turned his back on remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, with funding for remote housing in those states ceasing yesterday.

This is despite Senator Nigel Scullion’s repeated claims to contrary over the past six months.

This year’s Budget confirmed there would be no additional funding for these states in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. Only the NT will continue to receive Commonwealth support to tackle overcrowding.

Shadow Homelessness Minister Doug Cameron said the Turnbull Government is walking away from remote communities. “This cut shows an appalling lack of leadership and a complete misunderstanding of the Close the Gap framework,” Senator Cameron said.

“Overcrowding is a root cause of Indigenous disadvantage because it leads to a range of other social and health problems in remote communities. Prior to the Budget, Senator Scullion’ described claims he was cutting the agreement as ‘fiction’ and ‘nonsense’.

In December 2017, Senator Scullion told the Guardian Australia that “commonwealth officials are in discussion with their state counterparts regarding future funding arrangements. This will include further Commonwealth funding.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Patrick Dodson, said housing underpins all of the Close the Gap targets. “Without a decent place to live, the task of closing the gap in health or education becomes only more difficult,” Senator Dodson said.

According to a 2017 review of the program, by 2018 the strategy will have delivered 4,000 new houses and 7,500 refurbishments The NPA is estimated to have led to a significant decrease in the proportion of overcrowded houses in remote and very remote areas.

It has also been a driver of job creation and Indigenous business’s in many remote communities.

With Malcolm Turnbull’s refresh of the Close the Gap strategy now underway, it is critical that the Turnbull Government does not walk away from any of the current targets.

Instead of walking away from programs that work – the Turnbull Government should be working with Indigenous communities to ensure services are delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and homelessness : New @AIHW Reports : Will 64,644 #Indigenous people be homeless in their own country this Xmas ?

To be homeless in your own country is a tragedy for First Nations Peoples, and the failure lies at the door of the Turnbull Government.

 Unless the problem of homelessness and housing is addressed, the many other social predicaments affecting Indigenous people will also not be addressed,

 It is now time for the Turnbull government to show some respect and get serious about addressing homelessness in Australia, and especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Senator Patrick Dodson Press Release see Below

 ” Other than the efforts of coalface organisations such as the Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Corporation, the First Nations Homelessness Project there has been little done for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are homeless. 1 in 4 of Australia’s homeless are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.”

Ngalla Maya is a registered charity and if people would like to donate this Xmas they can through: Ngalla Maya

Gerry Georgatos :University researcher and academic and an Australian human rights campaigner, who has campaigned for prison reform, as well as championing the rights of Indigenous Australians and the homeless.EMAIL

SEE Previous Gerry Stories Like : Family evicted the day before Christmas

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Senator Patrick Dodson Press Release

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report on Specialist Homelessness Services 2016-17 found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ‘continue to be over-represented in both the national homeless population and as users of specialist homelessness services’.

See Full AIHW report HERE

The report also found that while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up only 3.3% of the Australian population, they constitute 25% of the clients accessing specialist homelessness services in 2016–17, which is an estimated 64,644 clients.

The key findings of the report were:

  • Indigenous client numbers increased by 5% since 2015–16 to around 64,644 in 2016–17, and grew at a faster rate than the general SHS population (3% increase).
  • There were more returning Indigenous clients (58%) than new Indigenous clients in 2016–17, meaning over half the Indigenous clients in 2016–17 had received assistance at some time in the previous 5 years.
  • The length of Indigenous client support continues to increase, up from 44 to 46 days in 2016–17, and remains notably longer than that of non-Indigenous clients (39 days in 2016–17).
  • The proportion of Indigenous clients receiving accommodation servicesdecreased to 42%, down from 44% in 2015–16; however, the median length of accommodation increased slightly (20 nights, up from 19 nights) but remains significantly shorter than non–Indigenous clients (41 nights).
  • An estimated 3,000 (or 6%) more Indigenous clients ended support in public or community housing and fewer Indigenous clients were in short-term or emergency accommodation following assistance from SHS agencies in 2016–17.

Characteristics of Indigenous clients 2016–17

Of the 64,644 Indigenous clients who received services in 2016–17:

  • Around 1 in 4 (23%, or 14,500) were children aged under 10, compared with 14% (or nearly 28,000) of non-Indigenous children under 10.
  • Just over half (53%) were aged under 25, compared with 40% of non-Indigenous clients.
  • There were twice as many Indigenous female clients aged over 18 (42%, or over 27,000) than male Indigenous clients (21%). By comparison, 46% of non-Indigenous clients aged over 18 were female and 29% were male.
  • Just over 1 in 4 (26%) sought assistance because of a housing crisis and a further 1 in 4 (23%) because of domestic and family violence. Non-Indigenous clients also reported these two main reasons most commonly (domestic and family violence 26%; housing crisis 23%).
  • Over one-third (35%) were living as single parents with a child or children when they approached an agency for support, similar to non-Indigenous clients (34%).

Clients may also be facing additional challenges when they present to an agency for assistance.

Figure INDIGENOUS.2 outlines the multiple vulnerabilities reported by Indigenous and non–Indigenous clients (aged 10 and over) of homelessness services.

Specifically, domestic and family violence, mental health issues and problematic drug and/or alcohol use identified within these populations.

Over half (54%) of Indigenous clients reported one or more of these vulnerabilities, fewer than non–Indigenous clients (61%). One in 3 (35%) Indigenous clients reported domestic and family violence and of these clients the greatest overlap in vulnerabilities was with mental health:

  • Eight per cent reported both domestic and family violence and mental health issues, while a further 1 in 20 (4%) reported all three vulnerabilities (domestic and family violence, mental health issues and problematic drug and/or alcohol use), similar to non–Indigenous clients (3%).

Alarmingly, the AIHW also found that the gap between Indigenous and non–Indigenous rates of service use has continued to widen.

The report found that in 2016–17 Indigenous people were 9.2 times more likely to use specialist homelessness services than non-Indigenous people, up from 8.2 times in 2012–13.

The use of homelessness service use by Indigenous clients living in remote or very remote areas has increased by the greatest margin over time; from 499 Indigenous clients per 10,000 population in 2012–13 to 721 in 2016–17.

This is in contrast to non- Indigenous clients in the same areas where the rate decreased from 53 clients per 10,000 to 41 clients over the same time period.

The Turnbull government has yet to release its Discussion Paper on the ‘refresh’ of the Close the Gap targets.

The IAHW Report on Homelessness Services makes it clear that the current Close the Gap targets are doing little to address the unmet need for

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are dealing with homelessness or the threat of homelessness daily.

 

It is now time for the Turnbull government to show some respect and get serious about addressing homelessness in Australia, and especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co