Queensland’s largest Aboriginal community now boasts its first indigenous homeowner after Ailsa Lively bought a house on indigenous land.
A mother-of-three has become the first person to own a home in Queensland’s largest Aboriginal community, paving the way for other indigenous people to fulfil the Aussie dream.
Ailsa Lively is also the first in the state to buy a social housing property on communally-held indigenous land.
“The Yarrabah community, (near Cairns), has waited a long time for this, and owning a home is now a reality,” the Gunggandji woman said.
“I am pleased to lead the way for the people in my community and all other indigenous peoples living on traditional lands in Queensland.
“Being able to provide security for my family’s future is really important to me, and owning a home on my traditional country gives me peace knowing that my children and future generations will always have connection to their traditional home.”
Ms Lively was able to buy the house under the state government’s 99-year home ownership lease program.
New laws introduced into Queensland parliament in May allowed ordinary freehold land and ownership opportunities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The change allows those living in Queensland’s 34 indigenous shires to buy and sell their own homes or pass them on to their children.
The areas had previously been under tenures created in the late 19th century.
At the time, Premier Campbell Newman said the laws, which give indigenous Queenslanders the same rights as others in the state, were a long time coming.
“What a proud day it will be as we correct the dispossession and the sins of the past,” he told parliament.
“This initiative will remove the barriers to home ownership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Yarrabah Mayor Errol Neal has reportedly said more than 60 others have shown interest in purchasing homes in his community.