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COAG delivers for the NT.



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M e d i a R e l e a s e THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Federal Member for Lingiari 30th November 2008 COAG DELIVERS FOR THE NT The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has agreed to an additional $4 billion to help close the housing, health and employment gap for Indigenous Australians. Member for Lingiari, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, said it is the meat on the bones of the Australian Government commitment to improve Indigenous lives. “I welcome the $1.94 billion in new Federal funding over ten years ($834.6 million over five years) to the States and Territories to lay the foundations for major reforms to Indigenous housing in remote Australia,” said Mr Snowdon. “The appalling living conditions, and over-crowding in so many remote Territory communities needs to be urgently addressed to see any improvement in health, education or employment.” The National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing will mean up to 4200 new houses and 4800 major upgrades to existing houses in remote communities. Funded by the Australian Government, the remote Indigenous housing reform package will be delivered in partnership with State and Territory Governments and will include: • A requirement that new and existing housing assets be held under secure tenure, including long-term leases; • economic development opportunities through increased local training and employment for Indigenous people in construction and housing management; • an ongoing maintenance and repairs program; and • access to affordable accommodation options in regional centres to support employment, education, training opportunities and access to support services in regional areas of high unemployment. Work on the program will start in early 2009.

COAG has also agreed to provide $400 million over 2 years for social housing and $800 million over four years in new homelessness initiatives - a total package of $1.2 billion in additional funding.

Indigenous Health

COAG has agreed to invest $1.6 billion over four years in Indigenous health to tackle chronic disease in Indigenous communities.

Mr Snowdon said the funding includes an $805 million Australian Government commitment to deliver more health professionals to Indigenous communities, expand health services, and help tackle chronic diseases.

“Diseases like diabetes and cancer are devastating Aboriginal communities, taking the lives of far too many Indigenous Australians at the time when they should be raising their families, and leading their communities,” said Mr Snowdon.

Around $470 million will be provided to chronic disease management, $171 million to increase the capacity of frontline primary care workforce and $161 million to tackle the key risks for chronic disease, including smoking.

Jobs and Indigenous Economic Participation

The Australian Government will invest $172.7 million over five years and the States and Territories $56.2 million to help up to 13,000 Indigenous Australians find and keep a job.

“It is extremely pleasing to see that around 2000 jobs in Government service delivery that were previously subsidised by the Community Development Employment Program, will now be fully funded,” said Mr Snowdon.

This additional funding will help meet our target of halving the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Remote Service Delivery

The Australian Government and the States and Territories will invest $291 million over six years to better coordinate early childhood, health, housing and welfare services in remote communities.

“This reform is critical if we are to get real change in the way in which all levels of Government work with Indigenous Australians,” said Mr Snowdon.

This funding, including a $154 million commitment from the Australian Government, will enable Governments to put in place-coordinated service delivery in 26 key communities across remote Australia.

Together these COAG initiatives will kick start the reform agenda needed to reach our long term targets for closing the gap in life expectancy, health, education and employment. A dedicated Closing the Gap COAG meeting will be held in 2009.

Kate Media Adviser Office of the Hon Warren Snowdon MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Suite M1-49 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 7620 Mobile: 0488 484 689 Fax: 02 6273 7112