The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) is supporting calls to strengthen the decision-making power of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National President, Richard Kirk, said National Reconciliation Week provides an opportunity for all Australians to consider how we can close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians and be more inclusive in the way we offer solutions.
“Indigenous tradition, culture and heritage must be recognised at the highest levels and Australia’s First Peoples must be involved in all decisions made about their communities,” Kirk said.
“As well as building more housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and better maintaining existing stock, housing decisions must belong to local communities and job creation must be a central consideration in this process.”
The AIA National Council adopted an Indigenous Housing Policy at its biannual meeting last month that states the need for a strong Indigenous voice in the creation of housing policy to ensure community ownership of the decisions that affect the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“We must develop a diversity of dwelling types and tenancy options to meet the needs of a diverse population and to provide the same economic options to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are available to non-Indigenous Australians,” Kirk said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander architects and non-Indigenous architects have dedicated themselves to understanding the complexities around culture and design so that Indigenous housing can be addressed differently to the past.”
“The Institute’s new policy will provide direction to the architectural profession about how best to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as part of their work and provides a sensible set of principles by which governments can manage their Indigenous housing programs,” Kirk said.