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Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Aborigines in 'poor' housing
Aboriginal woman
Aborigines have lower life expectancy than others in Australia
Many Australian Aborigines are still living without reliable electricity supplies, piped water or sewerage systems, according to a report.

A housing survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that while most indigenous homes had basic amenities and overcrowding had improved, the quality of services was very poor.

It found that 29% of housing controlled by indigenous organisations needed major repair work or replacement. However, this represents a drop from the 1992 figure of 40%.

The survey also found that for 348 communities with over 50 people, 58 had water quality problems in the past year, 57 had frequent blackouts and 204 had sewerage problems.


Aboriginal man
Australia's 400,000 Aborigines are the country's most disadvantaged group
The survey was commissioned by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

The report follows an ABS study last week which found Aborigines three times more likely to die in infancy than other Australians.

"The correlation between primary health and people's living environment is well understood," Mark Sullivan, ATSIC's chief executive officer said at the launch of the report.

However, some gains had been made.

Overcrowding in indigenous housing in rural areas had improved. And only 10% of homes were now without electricity compared with 28% in 1992.

Australia's 400,000 Aborigines are the country's most disadvantaged group, with much higher infant mortality and much lower life expectancy than among the rest of the country's 19 million people.

About one in four indigenous people live in indigenous communities.

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See also:

29 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Money for Aboriginal education
26 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Royal aborigine apology urged
13 Mar 99 | Asia-Pacific
Australia defends 'racist' land law
25 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Australia rejects UN racism report
21 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Annan skirts human rights debate
04 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
High level of trauma among Aborigines
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