The Central Land Council welcomes a landmark Northern Territory Supreme Court ruling that lifts the bar for housing standards in remote Aboriginal communities.
CLC chief executive Joe Martin-Jard said the ruling has profound implications for the housing quality, condition and maintenance standards to which remote community tenants are entitled.
“The court acknowledged that it is not enough for houses to be ‘safe’ – they must also meet contemporary standards of ‘humaneness, suitability and reasonable comfort’,” Mr Martin-Jard said.
“The ruling echoes the concerns our delegates and constituents have voiced for decades and challenges dated assumptions about what constitutes acceptable housing standards for Aboriginal people.”
“It sets an important precedent and belatedly establishes new standards for all NT remote Aboriginal communities.”
He said the ruling, which relates to litigants from the Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) community, validates the complaints about grossly inadequate repair and maintenance regimes the CLC has heard from its constituents for too long.
“Our constituents want a thorough overhaul of the remote housing system – one in which they have a major say about what is provided and how it is provided, and in which the government invests enough to maintain their houses,” said Mr Martin-Jard.
In July, the four NT land councils endorsed a detailed proposal to return housing services to community control over the next decade.
“The Northern Territory Supreme Court ruling adds impetus to our call,” said Mr Martin-Jard.
“We look forward to working closely with the Australian and NT governments and the NT Minister for Remote Housing, Chansey Paech, in his new role.”
“We congratulate Minister Paech on his appointment to this critical role and look forward to working with him on improving all aspects of remote Aboriginal housing.”