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    Georgia Boyles

    The NPARIH was brought about to aim to address the areas of homelessness, significant overcrowding, the severe shortage of housing for Indigenous Australians poor housing conditions (Australian Government Department of Social Services, 2013a). Despite some headway with these areas, there has been significant evidence that states all parties have not in fact reached any of said targets. One of the main downfalls of the policy is the lack of input or opinion from the Indigenous Australians on housing structure, location and so forth (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013). We can no longer ‘throw’ money at the Indigenous community in order to give them what we, as Westernized civilization, perceive is better. Yes everyone should have the right to housing, and adequate housing at that, but culturally and socially Indigenous Australians want things that different to the people implementing the policy (AIHW, 2013). How about we actually listen to them and give their community what they want? If they want smaller houses, build smaller houses. If they want a house with one large room in the middle, then build a house with one large room in the middle. It seems so simple, and yet here we are still discussing the fact that the policy has not reached its targets. Do we really need to keep asking why? The government has made it very clear how much money they have put into this policy- $5.5 billion over ten years- and whilst the funding itself is helpful, the job has not been implemented correctly (AGDSS, 2013, p.15b). You could have all the money in the world for a plan or policy, but if it is not performed appropriately, then what is the point? I strongly believe that a) the policy is good and b) the money is good, but in reality the execution of the most policy aspects is downright terrible (AIHW, 2013).
    In light of the recent Budget also, must debate has taken place surrounding whether the NPARIH will in fact continue (Scullion, 2014). The policy itself has some great aspects, which are key to closing the gap for Indigenous Australians (REF). If the policy is therefore cut completely or loses funding, then all hope for the Indigenous community may be lost in terms of finding adequate housing. However, if the policy does still stay in tact, in whatever way the Liberal government decides to go with, a new direction needs to occur in order for the policy to in fact work.
    In 2010 the Coalition took it upon themselves to state that Labor was “all talk and no action”, and had failed the Indigenous community (The Coalition, 2010, p.3) and this view was still upheld by the Coalition three years later. However, even now that the Liberal party finally has a chance to implement all the ‘great ideas’ they so easily reported whilst slandering the Labor party, they are already going down the wrong track. Instead of worrying about other political parties, one would suggest the best thing to do would be to actually effectively execute the policy, which both parties are still yet to do. Collaboratively working with the Indigenous community will achieve the most effective outcome (AIHW, 2013). After all, this is a policy for the Indigenous Australians and yet they remain the ones with little to no say at all, and we still wonder why the policy has not been effective.

    References:

    Australian Government Department of Social Services. (2013a). National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. Retrieved online from
    http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/programs- services/housing/national-partnership-agreement-on-remote-indigenous- housing

    Australian Government Department of Social Services. (2013b). National partnership on remote Indigenous housing – Progress review (2008-2013). Retrieved from: http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/indigenous/NPARIH%20Report %20Version%207%2028%20May_Web%20accessible%20FINAL_2%20%28 2%29.pdf

    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2013). Closing the Gap Clearing House. What works? A review of actions addressing the social and economic determinants of Indigenous health (7). Retrieved online from
    http://www.aihw.gov.au/uploadedFiles/ClosingTheGap/Content/Publications/ 2013/ctgc-ip07.pdf

    The Coalition. (2010). The Coalition’s plan for real action for
    Indigenous Australians. Retrieved online from http://www.alc.org.au/media/49211/coalitions%20plan.pdf

    Scullion, N. (2014a). Media Release. Delivering our commitments for Indigenous Australians. Retrieved online from
    https://www.nesa.com.au/media/65450/nigel%20scullion%20budget%20 media%20release.pdf

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