Community control

Aboriginal hands are capable

This page is a work in progress.

Aboriginal housing in Aboriginal hands – it’s the core of our work and the very vision of our founders. ‘Building the community-controlled sector’ is also one of four priority reforms in the whole-of-government plan for Closing the Gap.

Aboriginal people have made their own homes for millenia and they continued to do so after colonisation. It is only very recently that Aboriginal housing has been conceived and constructed for Aboriginal people. (See our photo exhibition.) In just two generations, the Aboriginal housing system has been upended; it’s now rare to find examples of Aboriginal people designing and building their own houses.

It will take time to shift back to controlling our own housing. It involves transforming the system – its elements and their relationships.

Community organisations need time and support to build up their capability and their capacity. AHNT believes that community housing providers are strengthened when they register and comply with the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH). To that end we are hosting a two-day forum, Understanding NRSCH.

For their part, government agencies need to relinquish control – and funding – to enable the community sector to grow strong – and that is very challenging, to say the least, for organisations whose very purpose is to govern. (Transforming government organisations is another priority reform under Closing the Gap, but so far it has not translated into discernible action.)

Ultimately, there might be a new Indigenous housing authority to govern the system. For now, we are contributing to research and modelling to gain an understanding of the possibilities.

Image credit: Newspaper clipping from 1968, showing Phillip Roberts, President of the NT Council for Aboriginal Rights and NT Secretary of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, and providing his comments on then Minister for the Interior’s position that Aboriginal people have no land rights. National Archives of Australia A1734, NT1968/25, p114

This is Aboriginal land

We work with deep respect for country and its rightful owners, ancestors and elders, past and present.
Please be aware that our site includes names and images of people who have passed.

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