TOPICS: National housing challenges; Albanese Government housing reform agenda
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Four families, four states, but one story. And for more, we're joined by Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Julie Collins, in Canberra. Minister, “un-Australian” - that was one word that some of those families called it. What do you have to say to them?
JULIE COLLINS, MINISTER FOR HOUSING: Well, obviously, our hearts go out to people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, Ally. It has become really difficult right across the country and I'm hearing from people who are saying it's harder to get a rental, it's harder to get into purchasing a new home. So we know that we've got a national housing crisis, we know we've had one for some time. What we need is some national leadership and some coordination with states and territories and that's what we're providing. We're stepping up to the plate. We've got a suite of policies that we took to the election and we're working to implement them as quickly as we possibly can.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: When you say that, we know that there are all sorts of extreme pressures at the moment on almost every element of the industry. However, there are extreme pressures on these families right now that need to be sorted out. Given that it's going to take you some time to sort it out, what are the immediate things that you can do? How far off are some of those elements in providing some relief for these families?
COLLINS: Well, we're working with states and territories. We had our first Housing Ministers meeting in almost five years just a few weeks ago, and we're stepping up. We're having another meeting later in the year, trying to get together to work on a National Housing and Homelessness Plan, but in the meantime, we are sharing data and information. We're trying to coordinate what each state and territory is doing and looking at the different innovation in each state and territory. In terms of short-term assistance for people there's also the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which does provide funding to states and territories to support people at risk of homelessness. And I know the states and territories more than match that, and they're stepping up to the plate. And there is also a range of programmes right across the country, depending on which state and territory you live in, that is supporting people as much as they possibly can. But ultimately it is an issue of supply and we need to get more homes on the ground as quickly as we can. And that's what we're working towards.
LANGDON: I think that's the issue. If you're sitting at home and you're in this situation where you think you might be about to lose the roof over your head or you already don't have one, there is nothing in what you said and even though obviously there's a lot being planned, there is nothing there that helps anyone right now.
COLLINS: Yeah, well, each state and territory, as I said, does provide services, so I would urge people who are at risk of homelessness to contact their state and territory service. The states and territories have got resources there in terms of trying to support people who are at risk of homelessness. This is a really terrible situation. We've had nearly a decade of no federal leadership when it comes to housing and homelessness in this country. We've been in there for a few months. We're trying to step up to the plate and get moving as quickly as we possibly can. We're trying to get some of the programs from our election commitments up and running as quickly as we can. Some of them do need legislation, so we need to work with cross-benchers to try and get those through the Houses of Parliament as quickly as possible. But unfortunately, these things do take time, and after eight years of no leadership when it comes to housing and homelessness, there's a lot of work to be done and we're doing it as quickly as we can.
STEFANOVIC: Oh, you're in the hot seat now - one hundred and sixty-thousand plus families are looking for some kind of relief. That's a lot. We appreciate your time today. Thank you.
LANGDON: Thanks Minister.
COLLINS: Thanks, very much.