Conditionality, Recognition and Indigenous Housing Policy in Australia

03 December 2012

This paper draws on ideas of recognition and the intercultural as a way of examining the impact of welfare conditionality on Indigenous housing policy in Australia. The increased application of welfare conditionality has occurred in tandem with „mainstreaming‟ of housing management and provision, and regulation of Indigenous Community Organisations. (ICOs). These developments raise policy and practice questions about the effectiveness of such approaches in achieving desired housing outcomes because of questions about their alignment with Indigenous norms and values. The paper argues that the embedded nature of individuals in their social and cultural locations requires the development of policy paradigms that are adapted to these realities. The idea of a recognition space extends the idea of conditionality to one involving moral relationships of duty and care between the individual, Indigenous formal and informal governance structures and the state and its agents. This can be used to build a framework for the development of flexible and adaptive housing policies that are culturally respectful and address the differences in housing values between tenants and housing agencies.