The National Indigenous Housing Guide – on a cold lake, in a leaking Canadian canoe with three broken paddles

June 26th, 2012

Given the lack of interest in the Guide on the home front it seems odd that in her recent speech on Indigenous Housing in Canada the Guide was presented as a key tool in Australia turning the corner towards better Indigenous housing. 

We are able to quote straight from the Minister’s speech:

“In 2008, we agreed with all state and territory governments a new housing agreement, with clear and measurable targets, to:

  • reduce severe crowding in remote Indigenous communities;
  • increase the supply of new houses;
  • improve the condition of existing houses in remote communities; and
  • ensure that rental houses are well maintained and managed.
  • And we matched that commitment with dollars — we have committed $5.5 billion over ten years to secure these goals.

We insisted on building regulations for all buildings constructed through the program – which had never applied in remote communities before.

All buildings funded through the agreement must be designed and delivered in line with the requirements of the National Indigenous Housing Guide, the National Construction Code and all Australian standards and construction legislation.”

We never wish to disagree with the Minister, but in the 1990s across the Anangu Pitjatjantjara Lands in the north west of South Australia, stringent regulations (documented in the AP Design Guide) were not only developed but enforced with a corresponding improvement in housing. This work proved the idea of a design guide used to create the first edition of the National Indigenous Housing Guide. Visit the Nganampa Health site and download the AP Design Guide.  

Given the Guide is seen to be important can we now have a commitment by the Australian Government to:

  1. review the Guide now, as it is 3 years overdue 
  2. put in place processes to ensure all design documents and completed building works comply with the Guide as soon as possible.