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Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


This research explores what is required for sustainable Indigenous housing in regional and remote Australia to deliver positive health and wellbeing outcomes for householders, so that housing stock is maintained at high levels over time and is designed with climate change challenges in mind. 

Current regional and remote Indigenous housing stock is unable to provide consistently healthy and comfortable indoor environments. Operating and maintenance costs are three times greater for remote housing than in capital cities, so developing strategies to reduce these costs is a key goal. The adoption of life-cycle costing (LCC) frameworks offer potential to reduce expensive responsive repair work while guaranteeing amenity to householders. An LCC framework requires thinking of the lifespan and benefits of a structure within which savings might be derived by strategic investments. 

This report finds attention to climate change is not yet a feature of Indigenous housing and infrastructure agreements, with inadequate funding and attention paid to climate preparedness in new builds, refurbishments and retrofit programs. This is despite the impact of extreme temperature on both householder wellbeing and health hardware.

Key points:

  • For Indigenous housing to be sustainable, it should be safe and humane. It should support householders to enact healthy living practices and secure their wellbeing and be provided in the places Indigenous people prefer to live to meet different needs and purposes.
  • This requires a life-cycle approach to housing management, with appropriate levels of funding for planned and responsive repair and maintenance systems that attend to the functionality, quality and serviceability of a building, ensure safety, comply with statutory obligations, prioritise health hardware function, and protect householders from climate risks.
  • Indigenous regional and remote communities will experience the negative impacts of climate change earlier and disproportionately, compared with most urban Australian settings. Funding for housing supply, design and maintenance must reflect this distribution of risk and higher cost.
Publication Details
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AHURI Final Report 368