National Homelessness Agreement Close
5 June 2014 at 11:51 am
The Federal Government has told a Senate Committee that the States and Territories are poised to sign a new National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for 2014-15, but has given no funding assurances beyond the next 12 months.
However, the Government said that it was about to undertake a national review of the housing affordability and homelessness policies and programs.
Secretary of the Department of Social Service Finn Pratt told the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Commission hearing that the States and Territories met in Canberra yesterday to finalise the long-awaited agreement, which allocates $115 million.
Pratt responded to questions from Labor Senator Jan McLucas indicating that new draft clauses issues, including one on reporting, had held up the signing.
“I am hopeful we can finalise negotiations on the agreement for the funding, which starts at the end of the month,” Pratt said.
When asked if negotiations were underway for funding beyond 2014-15, Pratt said that was still a matter for consideration by the Government.
In March, Not for Profit peak bodies and homelessness service provider organisations across Australia expressed relief at the Coalition Government’s decision to re-commit to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) for another 12 months.
However, the sector said that while the $115 million stopgap arrangement allowed service providers to continue to deliver homelessness programs, they agree they needed to work with the Federal Government on a long-term sustainable funding program.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Senator Concetta Fierravanti- Wells, told the hearing the Government would hold a review into housing affordability and homelessness policies and programs nationally.
The Senator said the aim was to increase affordability, reduce red tape and increase delivery.
Under questioning from WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlum, Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the Government was still determining the best way to carry out the review.
When asked if the public would be consulted on the review she replied “the Minister will say in due course”.