TOPIC/S: Homelessness Week; Housing Australia Future Fund
JULIE COLLINS, MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND MINISTER FOR HOMELESSNESS: It’s great to be here in Sydney today talking to frontline homelessness services in what is National Homelessness Week. This week is a time to reflect on the services and situation of so many people in Australia today. What we know sadly is that there are over 122,000 Australians who were homeless on Census night in 2021. As a nation we can, and we should be able to do better. We’re only going to do better by all of us working together. It was terrific to hear today from people on the frontline about some of the issues and concerns and to be able to take that back to Canberra to talk about some of those issues and how we might solve them together.
This week we’ve also launched the issues paper in relation to a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. What is clear is that we need a ten year national plan for housing and homelessness. This is a plan that is not just the responsibility of the federal government, this is about all tiers of government, the sector, construction sector, services, all of us as a community together. Working together to turn around the housing challenges in Australia today.
We know we have serious challenges in housing, which is why the federal government has stepped up to the plate. After a decade of very little action, what you have now is the Albanese Government who is taking the challenges seriously. Since coming to office, of course we’ve introduced legislation for our $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund which would build 30,000 social and affordable homes in the first five years of the fund. Of course in our first Budget we announced the National Housing Accord. We have National Cabinet meeting next week to progress further work on the Accord. We’re talking about a million homes nationwide from 1 July 2024, right across the housing spectrum including private homes. What we need to do as a country is we need to build more homes. We need supply of houses. When you talk to Australians, whether it be the 30% who rent, whether it be Australians dealing with mortgages or Australians who are trying to maintain their existing home, what we need is more supply. The solution to all of those is more houses for Australians. What we’re talking about with the Housing Australia Future Fund is houses for Australians that need them most. What we heard today is of course emergency and transitional housing, there is no where to move people onto, into permanent housing. That is the situation. We need to be able to do more.
So I would say to the Liberal Senators and the Greens Senators, to do what I’m doing. To come out and talk to the frontline services about critically important it is that these services and homes are built and the more they are delayed the worse it is for people who are in these services. These are people. This is not just about statistics. These are real people and you can hear their stories and from staff at services like this about how important these homes are. What we’ve got from the old party of Robodebt is that they keep saying no. They’re saying no to cheaper medicines. They’re saying no to more housing. They’re saying no to those Australians who are doing it the toughest.