A NATIONAL PLAN TO REDUCE HOMELESSNESS

16 Oct 2017

A Shorten Labor Government will develop and implement a national plan to reduce homelessness through the Council of Australian Governments.

THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

 

A NATIONAL PLAN TO REDUCE HOMELESSNESS

 

A Shorten Labor Government will develop and implement a national plan to reduce homelessness through the Council of Australian Governments.

 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Doug Cameron today welcomed Major Brendan Nottle of the Salvation Army, as he completed his 40-day, 700-kilometre walk from Melbourne to Canberra to raise awareness of homelessness.

 

Major Nottle is calling for a bi-partisan, long-term plan that addresses not only homelessness but all the issues that contribute to it – such as mental health, trauma and substance abuse issues.

 

Labor agrees with Major Nottle. There is a massive gap in housing policy – and we need national leadership to address it.

 

At the 2016 election, Labor pledged to halve homelessness by 2025 by immediately commencing work with the states and territories on a national plan to address this national issue.

 

A particular focus for national reform must be supporting women and children escaping family violence. Increasingly, family violence is forcing women and children out of their homes and into homelessness.

 

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows that each year about 100,000 women and children are seeking support for housing as a result of escaping violence.

 

Domestic and family violence is now the main reason women and children have to leave their homes. 

 

Labor has already begun announcing policies to tackle homelessness, including:

 

  • Providing $88 million for a new Safe Housing Fund to increase transitional housing options for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, young people exiting out-of-home care and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness.

  • Establishing a bond aggregator to increase investment in affordable housing.

  • Improving the National Housing Affordability Agreement, re-establishing the National Housing Supply Council and appointing a dedicated Minister for Housing. 

     

    This builds on our other major measures to address housing affordability – including reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

     

    At the 2011 Census, 105,000 Australians were homeless. More than 17,000 of these are children.

     

    No state or territory, city or country town is immune from homelessness – and every government has a role to play to reduce homelessness.

     

    The Liberals under Abbott and Turnbull have cut funding and services to address homelessness. 

     

    A new Labor Government will put tackling homelessness back on the national agenda – where it belongs.

 

MONDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2017