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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Transport and Main Roads
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    Lack of federal funding will hit Cape locals hard

    Minister for Transport and Main Roads
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    Thursday, May 31, 2018

    Lack of federal funding will hit Cape locals hard

    Ministerial Champion for Lockhart River Mark Bailey has today slammed the Turnbull Coalition Government’s decision to abandon the people of Cape York in its recent budget, after it was revealed federal funding for housing in the region would be axed.

    Mr Bailey, who visited Lockhart River and the Torres Strait this week, said locals were deeply concerned after the Turnbull Government ended its 50 year old commitment to federal funding for remote indigenous housing.

    “It was reprehensible of the Coalition to include zero funding for critical programs like the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPRH), which will disproportionately impact some of Queensland’s most disadvantaged communities, in its recent budget,” Mr Bailey said.

    “The Turnbull Government has told Queensland that after 30 June there will be no funding for remote indigenous housing from the Commonwealth and the NPRH will end.

    "Many remote indigenous communities have very low rates bases and need federal funding to keep up with housing construction demand. Malcolm Turnbull and Warren Entsch should get out from behind their desks and meet with Cape York and Torres Strait communities to listen to the terrible impact these cuts will have and reverse their decision to abandon them.

    “Housing is a basic human right, we know that we can’t Close the Gap if people don’t have somewhere safe and secure to live.

    “The Prime Minister’s decision to cut housing funding means significantly less new housing construction in every community.

    “If Malcolm Turnbull refuses to reinstate this funding, we will see overcrowding in communities, consequential health impacts and fewer opportunities for the community to gain the skills that will lead to employment outcomes.”

    Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said communities on the Cape would suffer terribly if the funding was allowed to dry up.

    “Through the NPRH we have been able to address overcrowding, which we’ve now nearly halved in Queensland,” Ms Lui said.

    “Overcrowding means the return of diseases like scabies and rheumatic fever, which are barely seen outside remote communities.

    “If we want healthy, strong indigenous communities we need to invest in housing, like both state and federal governments have done for the past 50 years.

    “A reduction in supply can only lead to increases in rent, especially for households already doing it tough.

    “Coupled with Prime Minister Turnbull’s ongoing push to reduce wages, increases to rents will spell disaster for thousands of families.

    “For many households this will result in homelessness, and in turn housing shortages will lead to high unemployment and poorer health and safety outcomes in communities across Queensland.

    “Local job and skill development opportunities will be significantly reduced, with further impacts on supplier businesses in the construction sector.”

     

    ENDS

    Media contact: Dominic Geiger, 0447355565