Inadequate housing is an ongoing problem on Alyawarr lands. Banjo Morton says little work has been done to repair houses in Ampilatwatja, some of which are little more than tin shanties. Raw sewerage flows from an open hole not far from some houses.
The COAG National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing was entered in 2008. The objectives of the NPARIH over the ten-year period 2008-09 to 2017-18, are to:
- significantly reduce severe overcrowding in remote Indigenous communities;
- increase the supply of new houses;
- improve the condition of existing houses in remote Indigenous communities; and
- ensure that rental houses are well-maintained and managed in remote Indigenous communities.
Ampilatwatja (a community of 450 people) was not allocated any houses under the initial $672 million government housing program, under which 700 homes were to be built in 20 bigger remote communities across the territory.
The Northern Territory Implementation Plan (2013-14 to 2017-18) provides for $1.7 billion to be allocated by the Commonwealth and $240 million from the Northern Territory Government for the construction of 1,456 new houses and the refurbishment of 2,915 existing houses. However it is still hard to see where any progress has been made on Alyawarr lands. By contrast, those communities which have signed 99 year leases have received more housing funding.
According to an ABC report dated 7/3/16, 'the Commonwealth has decided to allow the Territory to spend $150 million earmarked for Indigenous for homelands, when and where it wants — money which was meant to last eight years'. Santa Teresa has resorted to suing the NT Government for basic repairs.
Much of the housing in remote areas needs to be replaced entirely. In 2010 a $25,000 kit home was donated by a company in Adelaide and erected at Honeymoon Bore with the assitance of Union volunteers. The self-build option is also available; to view a report by the Centre of Appropriate Technology on this topic, click here. The following documents also highlight the need to re-think conventional approaches to housing:
- AIHW, Housing strategies that improve Indigenous health outcomes, December 2013.
- Nganampa Health Council, AP Design Guide: Building for Health on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, 1991.
A treaty would allow us to prioritise appropriate housing maintenance and construction.