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4710.0 - Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Australia, 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/05/2002   
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May 6, 2002
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Housing and infrastructure in Indigenous communities - ABS

Housing, drinking water and sewage infrastructure have improved in remote Indigenous communities across Australia since 1999, according to the results of the 2001 Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Housing: The survey collected information on 1,216 discrete Indigenous communities, containing a total of 18,842 dwellings. Of these dwellings:
  • There was a 4% increase since 1999 in the number of permanent dwellings managed by Indigenous Housing Organisations (IHOs) in Indigenous communities.
  • The proportion of IHO managed permanent dwellings reported to be in need of major repair or replacement decreased by 2% (from 33% in 1999).
  • The proportion of occupied temporary dwellings also decreased by 2% (from 12% of the total dwellings in 1999), and the proportion of people living in temporary dwellings dropped from 7% in 1999 to 5% (5,602 people) in 2001.

Water supply and sewerage systems: Since 1999 there has been an improvement in the management and operation of basic drinking water and sewerage services. In communities with a population of 50 or more in the 12 months prior to the survey:
  • Of communities not connected to a town water supply, 20% reported not sending their drinking water away for testing, down from 27% in 1999. The number of people in communities without testing fell by nearly half.
  • While the proportion of communities whose water samples failed testing showed little change since 1999, the number of people in affected communities fell by 33%.
  • Nearly half (48%) of all communities with a population of 50 or more reported sewerage system overflows or leakages, down from 59% in 1999.

Health and education facilities: The survey found that the majority of people living in discrete Indigenous communities had basic health facilities located nearby, however education facilities beyond primary school were generally located further away.
  • Approximately one third (34%) of communities had either a hospital or a health clinic within 10 km, with 27% of the population living in discrete communities being within 10 km of a hospital, and a further 58% within 10 km of a clinic.
  • The majority (87%) of people living in Indigenous communities had a primary school located less than 10 km from their community.
  • Just under half of the population living in Indigenous communities (49%) had a school up to Year 10 located within 10 km of their community, and only 21% had a secondary school up to Year 12 within the same distance.

The 2001 Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey was funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. It updates information from a similar survey conducted in 1999.

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