New South Wales Government Family & Community Services - Aboriginal Housing Office

AHO Newsletter February 8, 2017

Shane's Message

Shane Hamilton

Hi everyone

It has been an exciting start to 2017 at the Aboriginal Housing Office with the start of 28 new staff members joining our team across our offices. The enthusiasm has been incredible and I’m really looking forward to seeing what progress we can make towards Aboriginal housing in our communities this year. So far I’ve been out to meet staff members in Dubbo and Coffs Harbour and everybody is already in full swing and eager to work hard. I feel proud to be leading such a growing and enthusiastic organisation and I am confident that our staff and our providers will work collaboratively. Together our vision, of ensuring every Aboriginal person in NSW has equal access to, and choice in, affordable housing is becoming a reality.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the former Minister, Brad Hazzard for the hard work he has put into housing across the board. He has done a fantastic job and we wish him luck in his new role as Health Minister. In saying that, I want to extend a warm welcome to our new minister, The Honourable Pru Goward. Minister Goward is no stranger to the role, as she was once our minister from 2011-2014. I look forward to working with Minister Goward to achieve greater outcomes for Aboriginal housing. 

All the best.


Corporate News

Aboriginal Housing Master Class

After tremendous success with the first Aboriginal Housing master class, a second event has been announced. Run by the Australasian Housing Institute and the Aboriginal Housing Office, the master class provides an opportunity for senior housing professionals to share results and generate ideas to work towards resolving existing housing issues and act on future Aboriginal housing needs. Scheduled for the 16th to the 17th of May 2017, the master class will combine case studies, discussions and workshops around different aspects of Aboriginal housing. If you’re interested in attending, check out the Australasian Housing Institute website.

Funding Open for Local Aboriginal Arts Projects

Local artists and arts organisations are now invited to apply for NSW government funding to support local projects. The NSW Aboriginal regional Arts fund is for projects in remote and regional NSW that encourage Aboriginal people to explore and express their cultural identities. The NSW Aboriginal regional arts fund offers up to $5,000 for individual professional artists and up to $20,000 for organisations. The fund supports projects that:

  • Enable Aboriginal communities in regional NSW to explore and express their cultural identities
  • Engage and promote regional Aboriginal artists, arts and culture in NSW
  • Encourage people to engage with Aboriginal arts and cultures
  • Build the capacity and sustainability of Aboriginal arts organisation in regional NSW
  • Increase skills development opportunities for Aboriginal artists in regional NSW.

Applications close Monday, 27 February 2017. For more information head to

Professional Excellence in Housing Awards

Nominations are still open for the 2017 Professional Excellence in Housing Awards. Presented by the Australasian Housing Institute (AHI), the awards provide an opportunity to showcase social housing success stories and formally recognise and reward excellence in professional practice.

The awards are free to enter and are open to everyone who works in the housing sector. The person submitting the application, however, must be a member of the AHI.

Nominations close 5pm Tuesday, 28 February 2017. For more information refer to this website.

Community News

FACS High School Scholarship

Applications for the FACS High School scholarships are now open and close the 24th of February 2017. There are up to 240 scholarships available and will assist students to further their education and training with targeted financial assistance

The scholarships are worth up to $1000 for eligible students. Any NSW High school or TAFE college student who meets the following criteria can apply:

  • Living in social housing (public or community or Aboriginal housing), on the NSW Housing Register, receiving FACS private rental assistance, living in crisis/supported accommodation or be in out- of-home care.
  • Studying in Year 10, 11 or 12 at a NSW high school or TAFE, those completing a school based apprenticeship or traineeship, school students who are doing a VET subject in 2017.
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Not earning an income higher than the NSW Social Housing income limit (if earning an income).

For enquiries or more information visit or email

20th Anniversary of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report

Friday the 26th of May 2017 will mark 20 years since the Bringing them home report was tabled in federal parliament. The report highlighted many issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities face due to unresolved trauma from the forced removal of children and the failure to provide healing. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of this report and celebrate Stolen Generations members, The Healing Foundation will be providing micro grants to organisations throughout Australia. Instead of the usual Apology funding round, the foundation will be offering funding for communities to hold ‘Bringing them Home 20th anniversary’ related events. If your organisation, school or community would like to join The Healing Foundation in commemorating the 20th anniversary you can apply for a micro grant. Keep an eye out on their website in the coming months to apply.

Get to Know...

Brandon Etto

Brendon Etto

Brandon Etto is one of AHO’s new staff members that have just joined the team in January 2017. Based in the Parramatta offices, his role is the Senior Project officer for Housing Operation.

“The primary reason I was attracted to this role was that I saw the fantastic work being undertaken within the sector already and saw this as an opportunity to be part of the change process with the end goal to provide better services and a higher standard to our communities. Which, essentially is the vision here. The job will certainly have its challenges but I am very much looking forward to hitting the ground running.”

Brandon is a proud Kamilaroi man and went to school in a small country town called Yenda, just outside of Griffith. 

“My mother is an Aboriginal woman and my father was born in Madras, India.  I am the eldest of five children three brothers and my sister as youngsters. We went to school in a little country town called Yenda just outside Griffith where my parents were stationed, my father was a Sergeant and my mother was the Auxiliary officer for the NSW Police. We then moved over to the Macarthur region and grew up in Tharawal land and I have been actively involved in my community in anyway I can be. I have lived in many places around NSW and also spent some time in Western Australia. 

Brandon is a Sydney Swans AFL fan and is passionate about Aboriginal history. 

“I put a lot of energy into charitable work through various charities and I also sit on the board for Rotary International and Fathers Care Incorporated. I believe in giving back where possible and flipping a few sausages at a Bunning’s BBQ for a good cause is great.  I am a big AFL fan and at some point you may find my work area saturated with Red and White for my beloved Sydney Swans. When I am not at a fundraiser or at the footy I am also extremely passionate about Aboriginal history and ensuring as many people as possible are educated in our history. Especially parts that are not widely known. I have published a number of articles in newsletters on many topics including “Road to Reconciliation”, “Stand up Speak Out” and a “History – Under a Curtain”. 

Brandon has worked in many different areas including, Mental health carers Inc., Australian Institute of Company Directors, Legal Aid NSW, Department of Employment, LAHC, NSW Ministry of Health (Centre for Aboriginal Health). 

“All of which I have taken on because it allowed me to provide a service to the community in one form or the other. 

I have been very proud of the work I have achieved in these industries ranging from the significant decrease in unemployment in the Sydney South West region and providing community legal education to community workers across NSW. However I think my proudest achievement to date is the successful creation of a Domestic Violence Crisis Support centre in the Sydney South West. This was a cause I am very passionate about and I identified a need for something to support victims in the Macarthur area with emergency housing, immediate legal services, counselling and other support services.”

Thought of the Week

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

— Confucius



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Useful contact numbers

Housing Contact Centre
phone image 1800 422 322


Emergency temporary accommodation
phone image 1800 727 555


phone image 1800 152 152


Aboriginal Hostels
phone image (02) 9310 2777
phone image (02) 6212 2001

More contacts »