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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Palaszczuk Government, Mayors urge Turnbull not to dump progress on Closing the Gap

    Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Palaszczuk Government, Mayors urge Turnbull not to dump progress on Closing the Gap

    The Palaszczuk Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mayors have united in a call for funding continuity for Queensland's nation leading housing program in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    Meeting in Cairns, the group issued a united demand to the Australian Government urging it not to dump funding for housing outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said that housing in remote communities was a responsibility of all levels of government and uncertainty about the major Commonwealth funding agreement was a significant cause for concern.

    "Last week we saw Treasurer Morrison signal he is prepared to dump funding for the national agreement on housing affordability.

    “This week we see no commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing, potentially ripping almost half a billion from the Queensland budget.

    “The Turnbull Government appears just a step from walking away from national funding agreements, putting a decade of progress at risk of a massive slide backwards,” Mr de Brenni said.

    “Communities, local governments and the states demand certainty, and we need it quickly, before development, jobs and hope dry up.

    “There is just too much that has been achieved to walk away now. Any cut in funding for indigenous and remote housing would be a disaster for the social, health and economic outcomes of these communities.”

    Torres Strait Mayor Fred Gela said that State Government was moving in the right direction in terms of housing and this progress was too important to risk.

    “I met with Minister de Brenni when he was in Cairns and discussed a range of potential program enhancements that Mayors wanted to see when it comes to the delivery of new homes,” Mr Gela said.

    “The Minister reported good progress in today’s meeting, but the cloud over ongoing federal funding is a real worry.

    “There is no cost savings in increasing overcrowding. Without NPRH investment continuing you can expect continuing and increasing challenges with health, educational attainment, employment outcomes, social emotional well-being and family safety. You can’t build up remote economies without a strong pipeline of construction work.”

    The State Government and Mayors also united in a call for Cherbourg, Yarrabah and Torres Shire to be including as part of a new housing agreement.

    “Yarrabah, Cherbourg and the Torres Shire face the same difficulties as any other indigenous community when it comes to housing,” Mr de Brenni said.

    “These communities are being held back because they aren’t considered remote, which means they people are missing out on the construction of new homes and the jobs and economic benefits that come with it.”

    Minister for Local Government and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner said housing was an important step in Closing the Gap on disadvantage.

    “I know from talking with Indigenous Mayors, Queensland is well above the national average for satisfaction with state-owned and managed housing in remote communities and that’s backed up by the Australian Report on Government Services released earlier this year, but we need to do more,” Mr Furner said. 

    “Safe, secure housing and partnerships are crucial to Closing the Gap on health, education and employment outcomes, and that’s why a meaningful commitment to funding from the Turnbull Government for more housing in Queensland’s Indigenous communities is so important.”

    The Communique from the Mayors’ meeting can be found here: http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/aboutus/news/pages/CommuniqueApril17.aspx

    ENDS

    Media Contact: Tristan Douglas 0447 164 197