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The Australian National University

Housing tenure and Indigenous Australians in remote and settled areas

Discussion Paper 275 / 2005


This paper adopts a socioeconomic and policy systems approach to housing tenure patterns. It argues that the housing tenure system in more densely settled Australia, dominated by home ownership, does not fully penetrate to remote areas for either Indigenous or other households. It uses data from the 2001 Census organised by remoteness geography to demonstrate this lack of penetration, and attempts to describe the housing tenure system in remote Australia in its own terms. The paper begins and ends by specifically looking at ideas about promoting home ownership in remote Aboriginal communities. It argues that this is a largely unrealistic policy goal, given the underlying income and employment status of Indigenous people in these communities. The paper also argues that there are better measures of Indigenous housing disadvantage in Australia than low home ownership rates and it identifies two: private rental rates in settled areas and household size in remote areas.

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