HOMELESSNESS IGNORED IN MORRISON’S UNDERWHELMING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY SPEECH

24 Oct 2016

Scott Morrison’s ‘landmark speech’ on housing affordability was an underwhelming contribution to the public debate. No mention was made of homelessness, and the scantest of afterthoughts was given to community and social housing.

HOMELESSNESS IGNORED IN MORRISON’S UNDERWHELMING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY SPEECH

Scott Morrison’s ‘landmark speech’ on housing affordability was an underwhelming contribution to the public debate. No mention was made of homelessness, and the scantest of afterthoughts was given to community and social housing.

The speech provided no new direction, no new ideas, nothing from the Turnbull Government in terms of using the levers it controls to make housing more affordable.

Scott Morrison’s solutions amounted to nothing more than taking it to the December Treasurers’ meeting.

Unfortunately for Mr Morrison, the very same item was put on the agenda at the October 2015 meeting.

The Treasurer’s speech cannot mask a year of inaction on housing affordability. It makes no difference to the real and growing problem of homelessness and housing stress.

Instead of reading out pages of cherry-picked statistics, he would have been better off announcing the Turnbull Government’s funding commitment to homelessness services.

The Turnbull Government has still not funded the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) beyond June 2017. NPAH provides up to 30 per cent of the budget of homelessness service providers across the nation.

According to the 2011 Census, 105,000 people, or 1 in 200 Australians, are experiencing homelessness on any given night.

By failing to commit to funding NPAH beyond June 2017, the Turnbull Government has placed homelessness service providers and homeless Australians under enormous pressure.

Service providers are finding it very difficult to retain staff and leased premises and continue to provide quality services to the most vulnerable in our community. Some are beginning to report turning clients away because they cannot be sure they will be able to look after their needs beyond June 2017.

Mr Morrison’s speech was an opportunity to make a real contribution to the debate on fixing homelessness and housing stress. Failure to do so shows the Treasurer is not up to the task.

It’s time the Turnbull Government demonstrated some compassion and understanding for the growing number of vulnerable Australians who are experiencing homelessness.

They are too heartless, incompetent and consumed by personal animosity and bitterness to deal with these issues. Australians deserve better.

MONDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2016