News and Views

Overcrowding eased by room to breathe

Additional living spaces have now been built in 21 remote Aboriginal communities under Room to Breathe – part of the Territory Government’s 10-year record $1.1 billion remote housing program, Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes.

The extra rooms have been built by Territorians – with an Aboriginal employment rate over 30 per cent – as a cost effective way to quickly ease overcrowding.

NT Minister for Housing and Community Development Gerry McCarthy said the Territory Government is making solid progress on a key election promise to tackle overcrowding in remote Aboriginal communities with additional living spaces under Room to Breathe works underway or completed in Ampilatwatja, Areyonga, Beswick, Bulman, Engalwala, Gapuwiyak, Hermannsburg, Kintore, Kybrook Farm, Lajamanu, Maningrida, Milikapiti, Milyakburra, Ngukurr, Numbulwar, Ramingining, Titjikala, Wadeye, Wurrmiyanga, Warruwi and Weemol.

“We promised to deliver the biggest remote innovative housing project in Territory history and it is happening – we are doing what we said we would do,” Mr McCarthy said.

“This project is so important because we know a good home leads to a good education, good health and good community outcomes – that’s why we fast tracked $10 million for Room to Breathe before our first budget began in 2017.

“I am proud to say 146 additional living spaces have begun to ease overcrowding in 21 communities – local people have been employed for this work which has been guided by local decisions.”

Mr McCarthy said he had visited communities across the Territory and heard from many families about how Room to Breathe had eased overcrowding.

“Our remote housing program isn’t only about bricks and mortar, but it’s about improving homes so children and their families have a healthy environment to live in – we want to give children a good start in life, it’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do,” he said.

Local Engawala resident Nathan said a new bedroom, wardrobe and enclosed verandah had improved his home for his family.

“It’s been so good having extra room. It makes me feel very happy and very grateful,” Nathan said.

Mr McCarthy said this was only the beginning of the 10-year program, which will improve the lives of thousands of Territorians in remote Aboriginal communities.

“I want to thank everyone across the 21 remote Aboriginal communities that have been part of the first early Room to Breathe works,” he said.

“We have an enormous task to address decades of need, but work is underway to improve remote housing.

“We are walking hand-in-hand with Aboriginal people to ensure local people make decisions about how Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes. is rolled out in their community.”

Source: NT Government

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