An agreement designed to help redress the historically low rate of Aboriginal home ownership was signed today outside Parliament House.
Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with representatives of the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation from the Pilbara.
“We would like this initiative to become a model for future co-operation between the State Government and groups such as Gumala - a co-operative approach that will effectively foster increased Aboriginal home ownership,” Mr Logan said.
Only 27 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Western Australia own their own homes.
Gumala is an alliance of Aboriginal language groups in the Pilbara. While many of its members are in Tom Price, others live in South Hedland, Perth and throughout WA.
“The MOU will help raise awareness of the existing range of home ownership choices currently available to Gumala’s members,” Mr Logan said.
The agreement includes the development of an expanded range of product options that will help Gumala members overcome the obstacles of housing affordability and existing debts. This could include shared equity schemes for members earning more than current Homeswest limits.
“The MOU will build on some worthwhile programs already in place, including the Aboriginal Home Ownership Scheme (AHOS) and Keystart,” Mr Logan said.
AHOS is run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people and provides shared equity and low deposit loans. More than 500 households have received AHOS loans. Keystart is a mainstream loan scheme that provides low deposit home loans across the community. Many of its borrowers are Aboriginal.
“Home ownership is a key factor in overcoming economic disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mr Logan said.
“It can improve quality of life, improve family health, foster independence, reduce reliance on welfare and address systemic poverty.
“The signing of this MOU represents a real milestone on the road to increased Aboriginal home ownership. It demonstrates our intention of working together - using the resources of Government and an Aboriginal Corporation to achieve the positive housing outcomes that we all so urgently seek.
“It is another example of the Gallop Government’s commitment to improving the quality of services to all Western Australians, wherever they live.”
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