Yarrabah Housing


The Yarrabah Aboriginal Community in Queensland continues to experience a chronic and severe housing crisis. The crisis is characterised by an insufficient number of houses for the resident population, leading to gross overcrowding (average 18 occupants/dwelling), and poor-quality housing leading to low quality of living and unhealthy conditions for the occupants.

The constraints, structures, and processes that have led to the present housing crisis include issues of land tenure and administration, a chronic lack of funding, contextual social and economic conditions, and a shortage of available land.


A new approach to address this problem includes:

  • development of medium- and/or high-density housing as a solution to land availability constraints and to start balancing housing supply–demand.

  • building of culturally appropriate dwellings that also have high levels of construction quality and environmental sustainability and resilience as a solution to cultural concerns, to residential living conditions, and to environmental concerns/obligations.

  • development of Indigenous home ownership for a proportion of Yarrabah residents via a finance mechanism such as no-deposit mortgage loans under Aboriginal freehold tenure as a solution to funding shortfalls. This would also help meet the home-owning aspirations of Indigenous residents of Yarrabah, and also assist in gradually improving the social and economic well-being of residents.

Draft housing proposal for Yarrabah Aboriginal Community