Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 31 March 2011) . . Page.. 1196 ..
MS GALLAGHER: Well, there was particularly one line in the article that made it look like there would be no additional CPI increases, for example. Those increases are factored into our forward estimates. In terms of new revenue initiatives that we do not currently do, they are not before budget cabinet.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the minister for housing and concerns the state of homelessness in the ACT. When I asked you on 9 March during question time if homelessness was on the rise in the ACT you replied that you were not sure, no rise had been brought to your attention. Three weeks later you announced in the media that, because of the latest homelessness figures you had received from first point, Housing ACT had released 12 extra properties to assist homeless families. Minister, will you now acknowledge there is a significant issue with homelessness in the ACT and table those latest figures in the Assembly? And what are you doing to address this beyond those 12 extra properties?
MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her genuine interest in homelessness. When this was discussed I made reference to the data that was available to us—the report on government services data, on census night’s data—that provided some information. That was the robust, rigorous data that we have online. Before we introduced first point, with a collection of homelessness providers, it would be recognised by government and the sector itself that the data was not particularly strong. That was one of the reasons why we put first point in, so we could have some quite real-time, serious data. It is telling us that the data on homelessness is inconsistent with what would have been assumed under the ROGS data.
First point is indeed receiving about 1,500 calls per month from people seeking support. Not all of those callers are eligible for first point, but that is certainly a level of demand that was unexpected on the existing data that we had across the sector, which is why we have put on those transitional houses—those additional 12 houses—on top of the 27 transitional houses. I have also asked my department to consider an increase in brokerage support through first point to respond the first time we have this data.
It is all very well for a government to plan programs. We have planned those programs on assumptions on the data that we have to hand, but when we put in new systems, such as first point, and the data shows us a stronger demand, it is important that the government responds, and that is what I believe we are doing. But we understand that there are still challenges ahead. So I expect there will be more challenges and more program development as we move through when we have got this valuable set of data to hand.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that homelessness is increasing, on what basis do you believe the ACT government is on track to meet a