Wu­jal Wu­jal’s cham­pion MP blasts fed­eral hous­ing cuts

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity of Wu­jal Wu­jal, 30 km north of Cape Tribu­la­tion, will soon be faced with a hous­ing cri­sis fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion by the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment to with­draw fund­ing for Indige­nous hous­ing, ac­cord­ing to state Min­is­te­rial Cham­pion for Wu­jal Wu­jal, MP Leeanne Enoch.

Ms Enoch said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion will have dev­as­tat­ing long-term im­pacts on the Far North Queens­land com­mu­nity.

“If Mal­colm Turn­bull was se­ri­ous about Clos­ing the Gap, he would never have con­tem­plated with­draw­ing fund­ing from Indige­nous hous­ing,” Ms Enoch said.

“We need a united ef­fort to sup­port Queens­land’s re­mote Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, and I call on Op­po­si­tion Leader Deb Freck­ling­ton to stand up to her mates in Can­berra and con­demn this with­drawal of Com­mon­wealth sup­port.

“Deb Freck­ling­ton was quick to go on the record say­ing that she wanted to make a dif­fer­ence for Indige­nous Aus­tralians and specif­i­cally high­lighted the is­sue of overcrowded hous­ing.

“She needs to put the in­ter­est of Queens­lan­ders first, show some lead­er­ship and sup­port the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal Indige­nous coun­cil may­ors to stop this.”

Ms Enoch said hav­ing ac­cess to safe and se­cure hous­ing is a fun­da­men­tal hu­man right and the cuts to fund­ing will lead to in­creased rates of over­crowd­ing in many of Queens­land’s re­mote indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

“The out­look would be grim – poorer health out­comes, and em­ploy­ment out­comes,” she said.

“More than 70 per cent of new con­struc­tion is now de­liv­ered by Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der coun­cils, which means lo­cal jobs and skills de­vel­op­ment that will lead to pos­i­tive and sus­tained em­ploy­ment out­comes.”

Wu­jal Wu­jal Mayor Des­mond Tay­ley said the Prime Min­is­ter should not walk away from a part­ner­ship that has done so much to close the gap of dis­ad­van­tage the com­mu­nity suf­fers in re­la­tion to hous­ing.

“This pro­gram has en­joyed much suc­cess, but there re­mains a short­fall of thou­sands of houses.

“There are still in­stances where up to 30 peo­ple are liv­ing in two and three bed­room homes,” Mr Tay­ley said.

“I ur­gently seek a com­mit­ment from the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment for an on­go­ing pro­gram to re­duce over­crowd­ing in dis­crete and re­mote Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­land com­mu­ni­ties like Wu­jal Wu­jal.

“Too much has been gained since the pro­gram be­gan un­der the Rudd Gov­ern­ment 10 years ago.

“This part­ner­ship has de­liv­ered for my com­mu­nity and I want to see it con­tinue.”

One of the nine houses built on the south­ern side of Wu­jal Wu­jal in 2007

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