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Report Non shelter outcomes Indigenous housing Community and place Indigenous perspectives

Indigenous mobility and its impact on remote infrastructural needs: an exploratory study

With Indigenous populations at risk of higher rates of infection and more serious disease than non-Indigenous populations, a policy of returning to remote communities (i.e. Return to Country) was encouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy led to high expectations for remote communities to meet the often diverse and complex needs of returnees, placing further strain on existing, underfunded remote community infrastructure and services. 

This research explores mobility patterns of Indigenous people living on Country and its impact on the planning of housing, infrastructure and services within remote communities.

Temporary mobility, that is movement that does not involve a change of usual residence, is caused by a wide range of factors, such as people’s participation in cultural business or attendance at funerals, travel due to school holidays and seasonal weather patterns, participation in sport and leisure activities or to access alcohol outside the community. Factors affecting longer-term population mobility include access to housing, infrastructure, services and employment; family conflict and violence; and community unrest.

The research finds increased and improved housing is required for many remote communities. In addition to reducing existing levels of crowding, communities experiencing population growth need to be more clearly identified so as to reduce concerns in the future. Essential infrastructure, such as power and water, must also be improved to support the development of new community housing. 

In addition, services such as government health support and education systems need to take into account Indigenous people’s mobility patterns, particularly across state and territory borders. Enhanced collaboration between schools will enable students to continue with their education even when they are away from their home community, all of which would lead to better education outcomes for young Indigenous people.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri3129601

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-91-5


Moskos, M., Isherwood, L., Dockery, A.M., Habibis, D., Grealy, L., Benedict, R., Harris, M., Singh, R. and Lea, T. (2024) Indigenous mobility and its impact on remote infrastructural needs: an exploratory study, AHURI Final Report No. 423, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne,, doi: 10.18408/ahuri3129601

Moskos, Megan
Isherwood, Linda
Dockery, Michael
Habibis, Daphne
Grealy, Liam
Benedict, Richard
Harris, Mark
Singh, Ranjodh
Lea, Tess