The first moves are made by the authorities to evict families at Cabbage Tree Island.
The first moves are made by the authorities to evict families at Cabbage Tree Island.

NSW aboriginal housing a time bomb

THE New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has described the current housing situation in Aboriginal communities as a ‘time bomb of festering social unrest’.

But it says it is deliberately keeping out of the situation at Cabbage Tree Island, in which two sisters and eight other families have been threatened with eviction.

“That is between the local council and the residents,” the land council’s spokesman Roy Tanton said.

But chairwoman Bev Manton said: “The NSWALC fully supports the boards of local Aboriginal land councils in the pursuit of good property management and making the hard decisions regarding evictions.”

However, she said, Cabbage Tree was a designated Aboriginal community and the housing in most such communities was dilapidated.

The Federal and State governments needed to speed up the funding for housing and infrastructure in Aboriginal communities across the State, Ms Manton said.

The authorities had been paying lip service to the issue and people in NSW, which has the largest Aboriginal population in Australia, were struggling as a result.

“Both governments are dithering while our people are suffering. This suffering can make people desperate, causing them to act desperately,” she said.

“I’m appalled that the boards of local Aboriginal land councils are being forced to evict tenants from dilapidated sub-standard housing to comply with Government policy decrees.

“In some cases the boards must make decisions about evicting members from their own communities and families.”

This caused a lot of ill feeling within a community, which carried down the generations.

The Commonwealth Government had all but deserted Aboriginal housing in NSW despite its public rhetoric.

“It views the Aboriginal housing sector in its current form as inefficient and unviable,” she said.

“The situation is a disgrace,” Ms Manton said.



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