Homelessness Overhaul Planned
31 October 2013 at 9:48 am
The Coalition is planning a major overhaul of the Federal Government’s strategy on homelessness.
According to a spokesperson for the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews, the Minister will be delivering a “significant speech” on housing in Adelaide at the National Housing Conference.
Andrews’ spokesperson said: "The government will work hard to fix the mess left by Labor's failed approach to housing.
“The government remains committed to working closely with the sector to achieve real results, not political fixes."
The statement comes after a media report that claimed the Coalition Government planned to abolish the Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness – set up by the Labor Government.
It also claimed the Government was planning to reduce administration for homeless service providers, which included changing funding agreements for organisations that apply for contracts – allowing for more autonomy and the chance to save administration costs.
In 2009 Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd committed the Government to halve the number of homeless people by 2020.
Since then $5 billion has been spent to improve the national issue under the the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH)
In March 2013 all State and Territory Housing Ministers made a deal with the Labor Federal Government for a $320 million agreement to continue national homelessness services but the Not for Profit sector warned then that more work needed to be done for the long term.
The deal came from the Council Of All Governments (COAG) Select Council on Housing and Homelessness, confirming the Labor Federal Government’s $159 million offer was conditional on matched funding from the States.
Welfare peak body ACOSS says the new Government must have housing and homelessness as a top priority.
“In the short term, governments need to provide funding certainty for vital programs already in place. We must then come together to develop a clear plan for increasing the supply of housing that is affordable, and to support people who are homeless into stable housing,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“The previous government made some important commitments, and we must build on this work.
“A major gap in the debate is the role of the tax system in stimulating new housing. We must be prepared to put all issues on the table.
“Working with developers, investors, and the community, the Federal Government has a great opportunity to play a major role in encouraging investment in new and affordable housing, rather than contributing to house price inflation without increasing stock.
“ACOSS looks forward to working closely with the Federal Government on long term solutions to Australia’s chronic housing affordability and homelessness problems. The lack of affordable housing in Australia is the single most important cost of living problem, particularly for people on low incomes, and the key driver of homelessness for far too many."