Homelessness among indigenous people is under the spotlight this week in Australia, with a call for an international movement for change.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority (NATSIHA) is holding the second International World Indigenous Housing Conference in the Gold Coast, with delegates from around the world.
New Zealand musician Stan Walker and a haka group performed at the opening ceremony.
Co-Chair of the congress, Rod Little, says First Peoples have a right to shelter and safe housing.
“For too long we have had the embarrassment of 3rd world housing in remote Australia. This is whilst the Nation has enjoyed economic booms which have not benefited our peoples or our communities. This is hidden from the United Nations. No more! It’s time to join our brothers and sisters from around the world. This is a call to all first peoples to come and join our partners NATSIHA to find solutions.”
The congress calls for indigenous people the world over to come together to promote change.
“Our Peoples know the importance of adequate and affordable housing to education, health, safety and well-being of families. This conference will highlight that whilst governments squabble over money, basic needs and rights are being ignored, health is declining at alarming proportions and poverty increases,” says Mr Little.
Co-chair of the National Congress, Dr Jackie Huggins says, “We have attempted to negotiate with the federal government, participated in government policies and not enough has occurred to support communities and families."
The inaugural International Indigenous Housing Conference was held in Canada in 2012.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples is the peak organisation representing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It has over 9000 individual members and 180 organisations.