The vision and persistence of self-determined local volunteers in the 1970s set a strong foundation toward evening the playing field for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get housing in Beaudesert.
Mununjali Housing and Development Company Limited (formerly the Beaudesert Aboriginal and Islander Cooperative Society), established in June 1976, received the 40+ Years of Community Service Award in the 2022 Queensland Housing Provider Recognition Awards.
General Manager Brad Currie accepted the award at the 2022 Housing First Nations Conference, a premier policy and networking forum for the Queensland housing sector.
Mununjali Housing started with nothing and now has at least 60 houses in Beaudesert and more than 30 houses in Logan.
Three staff handle the housing side of things and there is a Board of Directors and more than 60 staff across the organisation, which also provides aged care, a wellbeing centre and a parenting and community education system.
Mr Currie started with Mununjali Housing in 1986 and was volunteering for the first five years.
“The beauty about this is the first meeting we had regarding Beaudesert Aboriginal and Islanders in the 1970s was in Petersen Street, and we purchased that block two years ago and have the opportunity to build on that now,” he said.
“In 1976 housing for Indigenous people was very limited – a lot of our people were living in well below standard housing in those days, living in old shacks on farms.
“I remember being at my cousin’s place where they lived in this hot little farmhouse and seeing the ground through the floor. No windows, no hot water and still paying market rent.
“It wasn’t an even playing field, and the mob in those days knew they had to fix it for themselves, so they banded together. We need to acknowledge all those volunteers from the mid-70s – because of their vision, current and future Indigenous mob in Beaudesert and surrounds have this opportunity of a safe foundation.”
Mr Currie said there was an urgent need to address the widespread current housing crisis and called for all levels of government to work together.
“There is such a need out there, now emulated across the housing sector,” he said.
“We’ve got to think smarter about how we all work together to fix the housing issue, because it’s not just an indigenous problem anymore – we’re all affected by it and we can’t stick our heads in the sand.”