Like many issues in Indigenous Australia, the challenge of decent housing and infrastructure remains ‘unfinished business’. It is both constantly in the news and yet, in terms of interdisciplinary research, largely ignored. It is a wicked social policy issue in danger of being placed in limbo, with inactivity and loss of past knowledge about what works allowing expertise to whither, the neglect disguised by a plethora of reviews and reports.
This research incubator aims to turn that around.
Housing for Health:
Fixing Infrastructure and Housing Policy in Indigenous Australia and Beyond
This is a multi-disciplinary research incubator which seeks to revitalise Indigenous health and housing policy. The incubator is based at the University of Sydney and is supported by the Henry Halloran Trust.
Progressing the ground-breaking work of Healthabitat, the not-for-profit company which took the problem of ‘poor living conditions’ and turned it into something that can be acted upon, with measurable results and full community participation
Addressing the root causes of ongoing poor function, through probing the cultural politics of substandard Indigenous housing and infrastructure amenity
We are also particularly interested in rethinking what groups such as Healthabitat confront in terms of policy inaction, or even policy dysfunction, and what kinds of advocacy and social change techniques may provide a more effective response moving forward. Is lobbying government the best way to effect lasting service delivery change or are there other methods in the contemporary era that need to be incorporated?
International in scope
Indigenous housing policy in Australia is complex with many resonances internationally.
Safe drinking water, sanitation, and houses that shelter and assist healthy living should be standard rights but are not. Climate change, the impact of extraction activities on water quality, population growth, and the physical impairments that come with premature aging, chronic disease, and trauma loads: these are just some of the issues this Incubator will be exploring, including through international comparative policy analysis. The Incubator aims to develop practical tools people can use on the ground to secure healthy living environments.
We would also like to acknowledge Kunmanara Lester from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and the late Paul Pholeros, whose visionary work is part of the legacy on which we are building.