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Bartlett welcomes overdue housing support for Yarrabah, but says too many strings attached.

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Media Statement Monday 1st October 2007


Bartlett welcomes overdue housing support for Yarrabah, but says too many strings attached

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has welcomed the federal government's agreement to provide much needed funding for housing in the far north Queensland Aboriginal community of Yarrabah, but says it’s unfortunate that the government requires funding to be attached to ideologically motivated conditions.

"There’s been a massive shortfall in the necessary funding for housing construction and upgrades in many Aboriginal communities, including Yarrabah, for many years, so any substantial injection of funding must be welcomed," Senator Bartlett said.

"It is also a tribute to the determination of the community at Yarrabah that they have been able to pursue and develop their own housing and funding models. This gives them the prospect of a greater degree of control over the process compared to what the federal government has imposed on some other Aboriginal communities."

"But it‘s unfortunate that the government is forcing Indigenous people to have to submit to conditions that do not apply to the rest of the community, and are allocating funding based on ideological and political agendas."

"As the federal government provides funding for housing at Yarrabah, it’s simultaneously removing funding from Indigenous community housing organisations (ICHO), or simply refusing to provide funds for maintenance unless these ICHOs hand their housing stock over to the state government."

"The federal government says that state governments are total failures when it comes to providing housing - a view which I'd have to agree with when it comes to housing on Aboriginal communities in Queensland. Yet they are forcing ICHOs to hand over their housing to the states. It’s ludicrous!"

"This long overdue funding for housing at Yarrabah is a welcome start, but it’s a shame that politics and ideology, rather than a coherent evidence based policy appears to be driving the federal government's funding decisions when it comes to Indigenous affairs and housing,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

Media contact - Tracee McPate - 0417 607 655

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