Amendments to the Aboriginal Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

Speaking in the Legislative Council: Hon. Lynn MacLaren MLC

 

Amendments to the Aboriginal Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

 

In a nutshell I am seeking to ensure three things were included this Bill:

 

Firstly,

 

A concrete definition of how the Housing authority will be satisfied the local communities wishes are being represented by housing corporations or other entities such as the Aboriginal Lands Trust signing leases on their behalf.

 

·        This relates specifically to Division 2 – 62C “Wishes of Aboriginal Inhabitants to be ascertained”

 

·       I am concerned that the Bill proposes that the Housing Authority should be satisfied that the local communities wishes are being satisfied – without a meaningful description of how exactly this might happen.

 

·       The lack of provisions that require government to ensure such consultation is either a comprehensive or transparent process leads me to worry that these consultations may not happen or could end up being superficial and not make the most of this opportunity.

 

·       I have moved to have a more prescriptive meaning attached to how this might actually happen. 

 

·       The Greens believe communities have a fundamental right to be fully consulted on issues which directly impact upon their lives, and see full informed prior consent as a crucial consideration where the rights and interests of communities are affected.

 

·       Our amendment goes some way to ensuring this. Benchmarking of advocacy or consultation could be as simple as a checklist of minutes and attendees to meetings, or as detailed as a best practice governance model. The point is that the legislation should enable this is to be negotiated and agreed on up front.

 

Secondly,

 

A concrete definition of what kind of housing is to be provided.

 

This relates specifically to the Bill missing any guidance on ensuring housing is built (or refurbished) to culturally and environmentally appropriate designs.

 

·       We would all be aware of the surreal legacy of wholly inappropriate housing such as the 4x2 hotboxes dotted through our harshest regions and most remote communities.

 

·        This is why I have sought to ensure that the Housing Authority be required to propose that the  housing it provides will be culturally and environmentally appropriate.

 

·        The Greens believe that community negotiation is the best way to ensure the delivery and repair of housing and infrastructure. In fact we believe the most appropriate manner to resolve housing issues is through negotiated outcomes. It is in this spirit of participation, engagement and negotiation that we hope the housing authority, the local aboriginal housing corporations and local people will determine the design of their housing.

 

·       There is much potential for great innovations in building materials and housing designs to be made. There is great potential for local communities to be trained and employed in architecture, design, construction, design, and sustainability (environmentally friendly housing) technologies. A green building and retrofit program in our aboriginal communities and led by our aboriginal communities is one of the most obvious and exciting opportunities we have right now.

 

Lastly, I am trying to ensure that the relevant recommendations from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report relating to Housing and Infrastructure (recommendations 73 – 76) and Improving the Living Environment (321 – 327) have been incorporated into this bill.

 

We have been told by the parliamentary secretary that the implementation plan is where that detail will be and where we will see that being implemented. We are all anxious to see the implementation plan, but today, we have before us, this legislation, which is lacking. This simple amendment that we have proposed is a way to ensure that the spirit of these agreements that have been adopted by government can actually be implemented, not just today in this budget under this government, but for the future.

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Amendments to the Aborginal Housing Bill.pdf 61.27 KB