Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 1139..
Discussion of matter of public importance
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Porter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:
The importance of a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness in the ACT.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.24): I am very happy to be able to bring this matter of public importance before the Assembly this afternoon. I think the words that we could focus on are "a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness in the ACT".
The ACT government is aware of the complex range of issues that we need to look at when dealing with homelessness in the community. These of course present a number of challenges to any government looking to address this issue. And that is why I raise these matters today. I am pleased to be able to say that the ACT government's approach to homelessness is, indeed, both comprehensive and underpinned by a strong collaboration with specialist homelessness services.
Homelessness, Mr Assistant Speaker, as I am sure you are well aware, is not something that government addresses alone. Homelessness also requires a whole-of-community response and new approaches if the nation is to succeed in halving homelessness by 2020. Of course, this is not exclusively an ACT issue but we are talking about how it affects us in the ACT this afternoon, what the government is actually doing and, indeed, how we can respond as a community.
Obviously, to address homelessness, we will need to work together to address the factors that cause it and the factors that prevent people from moving out of the cycle of homelessness. Some of these factors—and there are numerous factors, as you are well aware, Mr Assistant Speaker—are poor literacy and numeracy, one's employment status, one's education status, one's educational opportunities both in the past and in the future, one's health. As I said, there are many factors that lead a person, a family or part of a family to become homeless.
We need to continue to establish new partnerships and collaborations between government agencies, homelessness services and other mainstream services in areas such as health care and education. We need to better understand the relationships between past trauma—mental illness, for instance—and how this affects a person's ability to access and maintain their housing.
I had the great pleasure about two year ago of launching a wonderful piece of research by the Institute of Child Protection Studies on the experience of children who have been homeless. I did that across the road in the Canberra Museum and Gallery. I do