Always more need than supply
Thousands of Aboriginal people across NT homelands live in a near-invisible housing crisis. (We don’t actually know how many people live on homelands. It could be 10,000 but it could be many more.) We do know that:
- there are many more residents than houses to shelter them
- there has been no funding for new houses for a decade
- what housing does exist is dilapidated, energy intensive to run, and in many cases beyond economic repair.
To ensure AHNT has an accurate view of existing homelands infrastructure and housing – and a good understanding of the need for new housing and improved services – our engagement officers regularly travel to visit homelands. We also devote a full day of our annual conference to presentations and discussion of homelands. And we are lobbying hard to have homelands included in the next funding agreement for remote housing.
Urgent repairs in progress
In 2023 governments allocated $100 million to address the massive, urgent need for repairs and maintenance of homelands housing. AHNT is working with the NT Government, land councils and service providers to make good decisions about how to prioritise the work and allocate the money:
- The first portion was allocated to urgent repairs to power, water and sewage infrastructure.
- The remainder will be allocated in accordance with regional priorities that AHNT, the NT Government and land councils have agreed on.
All the funds will be allocated by 30 June 2024 – for status updates see the Homelands Housing and Infrastructure Program page.
New housing yet to happen
In addition to raising the standard of existing housing, there is an urgent need for new housing on homelands. AHNT is continuing to advocate strongly in this regard.
In early 2024 Housing Australia opened its first round of funding and until 22 March 2024 it is possible for Aboriginal housing providers to apply for capital grants to build housing on homelands.
Image credit: clearing bush for the airstrip at Mormega, aka Momeka, 1980. National Archives of Australia, A8598, AK29/4/80/27