Remote Indigenous Housing scheme lacking transparency, poorly managed, review finds

A review into the national $5.4 billion Indigenous remote housing scheme has criticised it as lacking transparency, being poorly governed, and hampered by constantly changing policies, sheeting home the blame to all governments in what it said was “a sign of the times”.

The Remote Housing Review was commissioned by Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and examined the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) and the Remote Housing Strategy from 2008 to 2018.

The strategy’s aim was to address overcrowding, poor housing conditions, and severe housing shortages in remote Indigenous communities, but the review said more needed to be done.

It found that, after accounting for population growth, an additional 5,500 houses are needed by 2028.

There was clear evidence that houses deteriorated quickly without ongoing maintenance and repairs, it said, and Governments’ first priority had to be to protect their investments and increase the longevity of houses through maintenance.

The key was an increased emphasis on planned cyclic maintenance, with a focus on health-related hardware: “Without further investment in this area, improvement will be lost, and the $5.4 billion investment will have been wasted,” it said.

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