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Government Federal, Indigenous

Wilya Janta welcomes funding and encourages more First Nations involvement in designing remote housing

Wilya Janta (Standing Strong) 3 mins read

Wilya Janta (Standing Strong) housing collaboration welcomes the $4 billion remote housing agreement announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today.

 

“We commend the federal and territory governments, land councils, and housing on this agreement, which will invest urgently-needed funding to fix the longstanding remote housing crisis,” Wilya Janta CEO Dr Simon Quilty said.

 

“The current model of community engagement in housing design is failing. Homes in remote communities are overcrowded and overheated, fuelling the social, health, and cultural inequities faced by Aboriginal communities.

 

“While commendable, this funding will only make a difference if governments are genuinely committed to engaging with community and working on innovative solutions to housing design and evaluation.

 

“Building houses is one thing, building trust and community is another.”

 

Jimmy Frank Jupurrurla, a Warumungu man and Chair of Wilya Janta, knows these issues too well.

 

“Governments focus too much on cost efficiency and doing things quickly, but in the long run, these houses are making our people sick, our well being is forgotten. The new houses being built today are not designed for our culture or our climate,” Mr Frank (Jupurrurla) said.

 

“This announcement by Prime Minister Albanese is really good, and us Wumpurrarni people really want to work with government to make the money go to really good things.

 

“Climate change, what we expect in the next 20 years, these houses need to be prepared for really hot weather.”

 

Wilya Janta is working with community and industry to build community-designed homes in Tennant Creek, which will act as a feasibility study for culturally appropriate and climate resilient housing as temperatures continue to rise. 

 

The collaboration is currently seeking partnerships with government and community housing providers to ensure broad adoption of the Wilya Janta model for community directed housing design.

 

For media enquiries and interview requests:

Alycia Gawthorne, 0425 016 380, hello@wilyajanta.org 

 

Background information:

The Wilya Janta (Standing Strong) housing collaboration is an innovative Aboriginal
not-for-profit cultural consultancy
that promotes community agency in the design and construction of culturally and environmentally appropriate homes that allow First Nations communities to thrive.

 

Through culturally sensitive collaboration, design and building, Wilya Janta is pushing to define a new standard for housing in remote communities. This will include homes designed specifically for the local climate with optimal thermal performance to reduce the need for cooling and reduce drivers of poverty.

 

‘Wumpurrarni’ is the Warumungu term for Aboriginal people. 

 

Additional quotes attributed to Dr Simon Quilty, CEO of Wilya Janta:

“For too long, successive governments have ignored the needs of community, focusing on low maintenance homes at the expense of environmental and cultural considerations.

 

“As a medical doctor in the Territory over 20 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the effect poor housing has on people’s health,” said Dr Quilty.

 

“We’re talking about people being treated for entirely preventable skin diseases caused by overcrowding. Patients who can’t store medicine properly because they can’t afford the high cost of electricity, leading to the power being turned off and fridges overheating.

 

“Aboriginal people have always held the solutions for their communities, they are experts in knowing how to live well in hot climates, but they’ve just never been listened to in regards to how houses might be built that recognise both culture and environment.”

 

Additional quotes attributed to Jimmy Frank Jupurrurla, Chair of Wilya Janta:

“When I look back from the 80’s right up till today, too many of these housing programs are quick fixes. Back then, we did get some say in how houses were designed, but not in a long time, not since the Intervention.

 

“As long as something is built on our community, we are happy getting it because we are desperate, but it doesn’t mean that these houses are any good.

 

“Us Wumpiurrarni people, when a house is being built, no one ever asks how we want to live, what is suitable for our culture and our climate. We don’t get asked, we never sit down with architects and designers to make houses suitable for us at the grassroots. 

 

“My people have asked many times for housing in different ways, but the messages we give to the government are always colliding with Papulinyi (non-Indigenous) policy and guidelines, and how we want our houses is not the way the houses end up. “

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