Abstract: Responding to criticism that the housing stock in many of Australia's Indigenous communities has reached a critical state, the Commonwealth and Territory governments allocated significant resources to improve public housing in the Northern Territory. To this end, the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) was initiated in September 2007 to provide 750 new houses, rebuild 230 houses and refurbish 2500 houses by 2013. This type of top-down procurement structure is necessary when such a quantity of housing needs to be upgraded or built from scratch in such short timeframes. However, there is evidence that housing projects driven by both 'self-build' and 'supporter' ideologies can offer outcomes in tune with community aspirations and at lower cost. This paper argues that self-build and supporter-driven programs should also become part of the overall Indigenous housing strategy sponsored by the Commonwealth and Territory governments and that a long-term view of Indigenous housing procurement must be supported with a raft of new policies and funding opportunities. Although any new programs would require a sustained effort over many years - rather than the shorter 'burst' of activity associated with the SIHIP initiative - they are likely to produce cost-effective, sustainable and positive outcomes for Indigenous communities.
To cite this article: O'Brien, David. Home to Own: Potential for Indigenous Housing by Indigenous People [online]. Australian Aboriginal Studies, No. 1, 2011: 65-80.
[cited 30 Nov 15].