MR ENTSCH: (Leichhardt) (10:45): The right to housing is an absolutely fundamental right of all Australian citizens.
Sadly, the Queensland Labor government, in a campaign led by Jackie Trad, is more interested in playing politics than putting roofs over people’s heads.
This year marks the end of the 10-year Remote Housing Strategy.
The Commonwealth provided $5.4 billion over a decade to the states and territories under the Remote Housing Strategy to assist states in meeting their housing responsibilities.
The hugely successful NPARIH program delivered 4,000 new homes and 7,500 refurbishments and reduced overcrowding in Indigenous communities.
While the strategy has been a success, more remains to be done, especially in Cape York communities in my electorate.
Let me be very clear: the federal government is 100 per cent committed to helping Queensland with its remote-housing responsibilities.
The federal government has invested $1.13 billion in Queensland remote Indigenous housing, and this has delivered 1,144 new homes and 1,490 refurbishments.
The shortfall to overcome overcrowding in Queensland stands at around 1,100 houses.
Shamefully, the Queensland Labor government is intent on using Indigenous people as political pawns.
Queensland is now the only state or territory that has refused to negotiate a new housing deal with the Commonwealth.
Recently, Queensland Labor minister Jackie Trad embarked on a scaremongering mission across Cape York, claiming that the federal government was cutting funds in Indigenous housing.
However, Ms Trad made no mention during her fly-in fly-out visit of the 14 per cent administration fee that her government is adding to every element of building a house in Indigenous and remote communities.
The money is skimmed off the top and put straight into consolidated revenue.
How disgusting is that?
Fortunately, Cape York community leaders saw straight through Jackie Trad’s blatant lies.
I saw firsthand the success of NPARIH programs during my recent visit to Cape York, especially in Lockhart River, under the guidance and leadership of Mayor Wayne Butcher.
In fact, one young Indigenous apprentice is living in the house that he helped to build.
Apart from the funds that were made available under NPARIH’s program, how much have the state Labor government invested, and how many houses have they built in remote Indigenous communities?
The answer is zero.
The Queensland government need to get on board, or we should cut them out completely and provide housing funds directly to the council.
In fact, after speaking to several Cape York mayors and CEOs during my recent visit to the region, I know that the majority of them would prefer this method.
I know for a fact that, if we went down this path, Cape York communities would get far more bang for their buck.