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Remote indigenous housing system: a systems social assessment

Jardine Orr, Andrea (2005) Remote indigenous housing system: a systems social assessment. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Indigenous Australians make up a mere 2.4% of the population of whom around a quarter live in remote and very remote parts of Australia. The poor state of Indigenous housing in remote areas is generally acknowledged as one of Australia's most intractable housing problems. The thesis examines why the remote Indigenous housing system does not meet the housing needs of Indigenous people in remote areas and discusses an alternative system.

The aim of the thesis is to understand why the remote Indigenous housing system is not meeting people's needs, despite policy statements that emphasise empowerment and partnerships. This understanding of the current remote Indigenous housing system involved placing it in historical, policy and international contexts and examining the current attempts to rationalise and streamline the system.

The service-delivery concepts of supply-driven (externally prescribed) and demand-responsive (community determined) are applied to remote Indigenous housing. The characteristics of successful remote Indigenous housing, namely Indigenous control and self-determination, an enabling environment and a culturally responsive system, are developed and found to be characteristic of a demand-responsive system. The research hypothesises that the remote Indigenous housing system's supply-driven focus is largely responsible for the housing needs of Indigenous people in remote areas not being met.

This was tested using the new methodology of a Systems Social Assessment which is developed by combining Social Assessment and Checkland's Soft Systems Methodology.

This methodology illustrated that the current remote Indigenous housing system has a supply-driven focus where the housing 'solutions' are controlled and largely provided from an external source, in this case the Commonwealth and State governments and their agents. The thesis discusses an alternative demand-responsive focus where remote communities have more control over the nature and delivery of their housing that may prove more successful.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Supervisor(s): Ho, Goen
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