Image: Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell - the Minister wants to continue building capacity of the sector
Indigenous and Maori leaders in the housing sector gathered in Tauranga over the last week to showcase innovations and ideas. Presentations were given by representatives from Canada, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia with some suggesting we could all be doing a lot more. IN the case of the State of Victoria the ABC has been reporting a major handover:
In a landmark move, the Victorian Government is handing over social housing assets worth $500 million to Aboriginal Housing Victoria to own, manage and develop on behalf of the state's fast-growing Indigenous community.
The first tranche of 511 properties — located around Melbourne — was transferred unannounced to Aboriginal Housing last month.
Tim Chatfield, chairman of Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV), said the historic decision had put Aboriginal people on the map.
AHV is believed to be one of nine Aboriginal housing associations in Australia.
The housing transfer is believed to be the largest — some 1,522 titles — to an Indigenous organisation anywhere and is due to be completed within two years.
In Victoria, it follows the granting of land rights to Indigenous communities at Lake Tyers in the 1960s and Famlingham in 1987.
AHV CEO Jenny Samms said she believed the transfer of housing to the Indigenous organisation was the largest.
"I believe it is the biggest housing ownership transfer in Victoria and the biggest in Australia to a single Indigenous organisation," she said.
'Tough job managing housing stock without owning it'
The decision follows several years of consultation and negotiation that first began under the previous Liberal National Government.
It is understood the State Government is deliberately underplaying the significance of the move to avoid pressure from the not-for-profit housing sector to transfer further stock.
Under the previous agreement, AHV acted as a rent collector but had no powers to buy and sell properties.
It collected rent and undertook basic maintenance on properties housing some 4,000 people on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Ms Samms said the change put Aboriginal people "on the map" in Victoria where native title had traditionally delivered few benefits to the Indigenous community.
"It has been a tough job managing old government housing stock without actually owning it and being able to make significant improvements," she said.
Meanwhile Te Ururoa Flavell, Minister for Maori Development in New Zealand has said that 40 affordable units have been built and 243 houses repaired in year one of the Maori Housing Network. The network is managed by Te Puni Kokiri and has also run 32 projects to build Maori capacity in the sector.
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