Bleak performance on black housing

The Queensland Government has failed its own test on Aboriginal housing.

It is nearly two years since the Labor government strutted its supposed reformist credentials and bragged that it was delivering a new deal to Aborigines in remote FNQ communities to enable them to own their own home. The reality, however, is a nightmare of red tape, confusion and continuing frustration for Aborigines who aspire to emulate lifestyles that white communities take for granted.

The scheme was based on a 99-year lease arrangement but only five applications have been lodged and it appears not one application has yet been successful.

Confusion over native title rights and the complexities of leasing arrangements have been blamed as the prime causes of the mounting delays.

The Queensland Government no doubt thought it was being smart by resolving that it is indigenous land councils and not the state administration which can grant the leases. An easy scapegoat if anything goes wrong. Unfortunately, the blame game is not helping black people to secure economic independence.

The government stands condemned for not clarifying relevant issues prior to announcing this initiative. Worse, it has held out hope but now dashed the aspirations of many aborigines who falsely believed this administration would deliver a better deal. Tragically, they are left in public housing to contemplate yet another bruising let-down in their quest for self-esteem and equal rights. They have every right to be angry.