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Outstanding year for ATSIC Home Ownership Program.



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Media Releases

Outstanding year for ATSIC Home Ownership Program

6/8/2003

“It has been an outstanding year for ATSIC’s Home Ownership Program with lending at record levels and a record low default rate on housing loans,” Commissioner Cliff Foley, Chair of ATSIC’s Social and Physical Wellbeing Committee said today.

The self-funding scheme lent a record $76.4m to Indigenous home buyers last financial year, up by over 26% on the previous year.

“This is a remarkable achievement and reflects ATSIC’s goal of assisting Indigenous Australians in their pursuit of social and economic independence,” Commissioner Foley said.

“The ongoing success of this program has now assisted more than 19,000 Indigenous Australians into home ownership. A record low default rate last financial year enabled the program to generate higher than expected program revenue which resulted in even more available funds for lending. This result puts the lie to false stereotypes of Indigenous people not being able to manage money,” he added.

The highest level of interest in the home loan scheme occurred in Melbourne, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Alice Springs. But there was significant interest across the country with nearly all states and territories recording increases.

ATSIC took over management of Indigenous housing loans in 1990, and since then has approved more than 5,600 loans. Since its introduction the program has provided more than $500m in home loan finance.

The program operates on a similar basis to commercial lending schemes where borrowers repay their loan with interest like mainstream housing loans. However, unlike mainstream schemes all ATSIC loan repayments and loan interest are channelled back into making new home loans.

Commissioner Foley said the HOP provides considerable flow-on benefits.

“The level of family violence in our communities is at an all time high and overcrowding and substandard housing are a large contributor to this. By achieving economic independence through home ownership, we are taking Aboriginal people off the welfare merry-go-round and lessening the call on public housing,” he said.

Only 32% of Indigenous Australians own their own home compared to around 70% in the wider community. ATSIC is endeavouring to increase the Indigenous rate to 40% by 2010. Media enquiries Grant Gilluley 0418 413 274