Tuesday, 28th October 2014 at 11:06 am
The Federal Government says it is continuing to negotiate on issues of housing and homelessness despite revelations that the Coalition’s long awaited policy review has been shelved.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told Pro Bono Australia News that “the Government is committed to adopting a considered, methodical and measured approach to addressing the complex issue of homelessness”.
“I am continuing consultations with key stakeholders on housing and homelessness matters,” Andrews said.
The Department of Social Services confirmed in Senate Estimates last week that it’s long awaited review of housing and homelessness policy has been shelved.
“Labor failed to provide a single cent in funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) in its final budget in May 2013,” Andrews said.
“The coalition filled this gap, appropriating $115 million in NPAH funding to prevent a collapse in homelessness services.
“The looming NPAH mess is simply one element of dysfunctional housing and homelessness programs left behind by Labor.”
However the Federal Opposition warns that the Abbott Government has completely dropped the ball on housing and homelessness.
Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Senator Jan McLucas slammed the Abbott Government for failing to provide certainty to the housing and homelessness sector and to the Australian community.
“Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said in November last year there was a housing supply crisis looming and that leadership in this space was lacking,” McLucas said.
“The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews said at the closing address to the National Housing Conference, on 1 November 2013 that “the fact is that there has been an absence of national leadership by Government in driving a solution to the housing supply crisis that is looming”.”
“In response to this Mr Andrews committed to reviewing homelessness and housing policy, confirmed the review in the Budget and has restated it many times over and again most recently last month,” Senator McLucas said.
“I question Mr Andrews’ own leadership when, after thirteen months in Government, he has reneged on his only commitment of a review and not delivered one single policy to address these issues, and in fact doesn’t even think the Commonwealth should get involved.
“Hundreds of thousands of Australians are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, are on public housing waiting lists or trying to purchase a home and yet this Government is leaving them all in a state of perpetual uncertainty.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is not good enough that the Government has wasted more than a year and has no housing or homelessness strategy.”