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Aboriginal Housing Legislation Amendment Bill

Extract from Hansard – Wednesday, 10 March 2010

MS A.S. CARLES (Fremantle) [1.09 pm]: I rise to support the Aboriginal Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 and to put some comments on the record. I agree with the comments of the member for Kwinana and the member for Nollamara and congratulate them for their contributions to this important debate. The Greens (WA) support any initiatives that will improve the lot of Aboriginal people in our state. There is obviously an urgent need for money to be put into the Aboriginal housing sector. Aboriginal people need to be involved every step of the way, of course, because this is all about them.

Members may recall that I have an adopted Aboriginal brother. He works in remote Aboriginal communities and he came down at Christmas. The statement he made to me then has stayed with me. He said, “We are the most studied people. We are sick and tired of being studied. Please, we just need support and help for our people. We need help with housing our people.” He described the shocking Third World conditions that he works in, and that was a big eyeopener for me.

One of my concerns about this legislation and from the briefing I had yesterday is that Aboriginal people really have not been involved in the design process. Because of this big rush that is on with the federal money, 75 houses must be built by the end of the year. So far, there are seven fully serviced houses on the ground and another seven to come. It is a very big ask. It is quite unrealistic. Prefabricated houses are being built as we speak to be trucked up there. I am concerned that we are missing a big opportunity for these communities to have sustainable housing that they will want to own, that they will be involved in the design of and that they can be proud of, so that they are part of the building process and the training and employment opportunities and will have a sense of ownership. I flag that matter and hope that we are not blowing something here, because we need a long-term solution to this issue that will really work for Aboriginal people. But it is a good start.

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