WAKE UP MALCOLM! HOMELESSNESS IS GETTING WORSE

14 Mar 2018

Labor is calling on the Prime Minister to wake up and act on the growing number of Australians who are homeless.

WAKE UP MALCOLM! HOMELESSNESS IS GETTING WORSE

Labor is calling on the Prime Minister to wake up and act on the growing number of Australians who are homeless.

The call comes in the wake of the release today of ABS 2016 census data that shows the number of homeless Australians has increased by 13.7 percent since the 2011 Census.

On Census night in 2016, 116,427 people were classified as being homeless; up from 102,439 in 2011.

In New South Wales, the state worst hit by the housing affordability crisis, the homelessness rate increased by a whopping 27 percent to 37,715. New South Wales now accounts for a third of homeless Australians.

The rate of homelessness fell significantly in the ACT, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Among the few bright spots in the Census figures is the 25 percent reduction in the rate of homelessness in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population; from 487 per 10,000 persons in 2011 to 361 in 2016.

But true to Turnbull’s form, this improvement comes at the exact time his government is considering cutting funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing; funding which has seen major reductions in overcrowding in Indigenous households.

A large proportion of the increase in homelessness is reflected in the increase in people living in severely overcrowded dwellings; from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016.

This figure points directly at the severe shortage of affordable social and public housing available for low and very low income households.

There are nearly 200,000 people on public housing waiting lists.

A third of people living in severely overcrowded dwellings are aged 12 to 24.

Nearly a quarter of people living in supported accommodation are aged 12 to 24.

The Turnbull government’s record on homelessness is abysmal:

  • Cut $44 million a year in capital funding from homelessness services in its first Budget;
  • Failed to provide funding certainty under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness;
  • De-funded Homelessness Australia, National Shelter and the Community Housing Federation of Australia to prevent them advocating for homeless Australians;
  • Abolished the National Housing Supply Council and the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness
  • Failed to appoint a dedicated Minister for Housing and Homelessness.
  • Threatening funding cuts for remote Indigenous housing.

The 2016 Census figures are a sad indictment on the Turnbull government’s failure to tackle homelessness.

They are a sad indictment on Turnbull’s obsession with tax cuts and cash splashes for the wealthy. As any homeless Australian will tell him, it doesn’t trickle down.

Neither Turnbull nor his Ministers have any plan to tackle homelessness.

They have no plan to tackle the housing affordability crisis, which is a major driver of homelessness.

They have no plan to deal with the chronic shortage of affordable social housing, for which 200,000 people are on waiting lists up to a decade long.

WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2018