Four-year commitment to strengthen regional and remote Aboriginal families
Transitional housing principle of mutual obligation and responsibility
Fund a major initiative of regional services reform
Hundreds of Aboriginal families in the Kimberley and Pilbara are set to benefit from a $200 million fund established by the State Government to help break the cycle of generational welfare dependency.
The North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund is a major initiative of the Government's regional services reform to improve the lives of Aboriginal people living in regional and remote Western Australia.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said affordable housing, supported by human services, could put families on a path to greater educational and economic success and improved wellbeing.
"The North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund will increase housing options and support for Aboriginal families so that they have a better chance of prosperity," the Minister said.
"In the North-West, the majority of Aboriginal households are in social housing - more than 70 per cent in the Kimberley and more than 50 per cent in the Pilbara.
"This fund will support hundreds of Aboriginal people to move out of social housing into transitional housing, private rental accommodation or home ownership."
Mr Redman said the fund was broader than the Government's transitional housing program because it would provide opportunities for private housing investment, encourage innovation in housing design, and occur over four years to allow for the qualification of Aboriginal apprentices and trainees.
Housing Minister Brendon Grylls said families in transitional housing would be required to fulfil a range of tenancy obligations, including ensuring their children attended school and the adults in the household were employed or in training.
"The program will apply the transitional housing principle of mutual obligation, in which individuals, couples and families must meet education and employment responsibilities in return for affordable rent and a range of support services," Mr Grylls said.
Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said Aboriginal people in the Kimberley and Pilbara were far less likely than non-Aboriginal people to have finished school, be employed and own their own home.
"The State Government, through regional services reform, is working with Aboriginal people and communities to help turn this situation around," Ms Mitchell said.
"Over the next four years, the North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund is expected to result in increased school attendance for at least 600 Aboriginal children, participation in jobs and training by about 300 adults, apprenticeships for 30 young people and eventual home ownership for at least 15 families."
The four-year fund will be implemented this year, starting with a $25 million commitment from the Australian Government to build 50 more transitional houses in the Kimberley. Construction of the houses is expected to begin in Kununurra by September 2017.
The Government is partnering with Empowered Communities to ensure implementation of the fund in the East Kimberley is tailored to the needs of Aboriginal people.
The fund is supported by the State Government's Royalties for Regions
The $25 million Australian Government commitment will come from the National Partnership on Remote Housing
An expression of interest for the appointment of a builders' panel for the housing construction will open on January 27 at Tenders WA: http://www.tenders.wa.gov.au
Construction or refurbishment of housing for the fund will provide apprenticeships, traineeships and jobs for local Aboriginal people
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Housing Minister's office - 6552 6100
Child Protection Minister's office - 6552 5400