Improvements seen in Indigenous housing but areas of concern remain

A new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that not only is Indigenous homeownership increasing, but other areas of Indigenous housing are also showing improvement.

According to the report, Indigenous housing indicators 2005-06, the number of Indigenous households who owned or were purchasing their home increased by almost 10,000 from 46,224 in 2001 to 56,027 in 2006, or from 32% to 34% of all Indigenous households.

'Data indicates that improvements are also being made in alleviating overcrowding and securing more access to essential services,' said Ms Helen Johnstone of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Welfare Unit.

The proportion of overcrowded Indigenous households fell from 14.7% in 2001 to 12.4% in 2006, and over the same period there was a decrease in the number and proportion of Indigenous Community Housing dwellings that had no organised sewerage system or water supply.

But areas of concern remain. Over one third households in Indigenous Community Housing were overcrowded in 2006. There were also 51 dwellings in Indigenous communities that had no organised sewerage system and 85 that had no organised electricity supply.

In addition, 30% (6,674) of Indigenous Community Housing dwellings were in poor condition.

The report also highlights greater access to social housing. The proportion of Indigenous households in public housing increased from 5.9% to 6.3%, and the proportion of Indigenous households in receipt of Commonwealth Rent Assistance increased from 2.4% to 3.2%.

Since 2001 the number of Indigenous housing organisations has fallen from about 600 to just under 500 in 2006, partly due to rationalisations.
There were 166,671 Indigenous households in 2006, representing 2.3% of all Australian households. Of these, 34% were home owners or purchasers, 30% were private or other renters, 20% were renting from state or territory housing authorities, and 9% were renting from Indigenous or mainstream community organisations.

18 October 2007

Further information: Ms Helen Johnstone, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1259, mob 0418 271 395

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.