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Living in the sunburnt country: Findings of review of the community housing and infrastructure programme (CHIP) - final report

13 Mar 2007

Indigenous Australians needing accommodation face a number of problems including:
• a lack of public housing; little or no private rental housing; and limited opportunity for home ownership
• a series of failures of Indigenous housing programmes resulting in poorly targeted and inappropriate housing
• CHIP funding being used as a substitute for mainstream public housing in urban and regional areas
• poor construction of new houses; a lack of maintenance of existing housing
• a fragmented and inconsistent Indigenous Community Housing Organisation sector
• the constraints caused by community title over land and housing.
As well: • the current system is vulnerable to incidents of fi nancial and operational mismanagement, nepotism and favouritism
• inadequate rent collection restricts the amount of money available for maintenance on housing stock which leads to the deterioration of buildings, and a downward spiral develops
• significant funds are wasted through administrative costs, overheads, bureaucratic red tape, poor governance and expensive, poorly designed houses unsuited to the needs of their occupants.

The housing needs of Indigenous Australians in remote areas have not been well served and the interests and expectations of taxpayers have not been met.

CHIP in its current form contributes to the policy confusion, complex administration and poor outcomes and accountability of government funded housing, infrastructure and municipal services. The Community Housing and Infrastructure Programme should be abolished. The current framework for the delivery of housing and related infrastructure and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has not worked and cannot work. It should be reformed and modernised and refocused so that all participants ranging from governments through to tenants are part of a new practical era - one based on national, state, regional, community and individual responsibilities and accountabilities which delivers appropriate accommodation for those most in need.

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