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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 469 ..

MRS KIKKERT: Why, Minister, with an increase in funding, is your Labor-Greens government still leaving people out on the streets in places like Dickson, Civic, Cooleman Court and Phillip?

MS VASSAROTTI: The responses to homelessness are really complex, and there are a range of services in the specialist homelessness services sector which are working really hard to address these issues. One of the key things that we have in the ACT is a central intake service model that is trying to integrate services and provide a single place where people can come in and get their needs responded to by the services they need.

We have a number of other services, particularly the St Vincent’s Street to Home program, which is trying to respond to the issue of rough sleeping and is working with people on a very regular basis and trying to meet them where they are. In some instances, people are not ready to access services. In those instances, ongoing services are provided through programs such as Street to Home and the night patrol service. Certainly, the new Axial Housing service is specifically working with rough sleepers who have complex needs, to provide them with permanent housing. This is not an issue that is easy to solve, but it is one that the government is absolutely focused on. We are providing additional funding to ensure that we are able to meet people and provide everyone with a decent home.

MR PARTON: Minister, can you guarantee, as per your party’s pre-election rhetoric, that no Canberran will be homeless by the end of this year?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Parton, for the question. Certainly, we did not guarantee that no person would be homeless by the end of the year. We have spoken a lot about providing everyone with a decent home, and I am absolutely committed to working with the specialist homelessness sector to reduce homelessness and eliminate homelessness if we possibly can. These are complex issues. They are issues that we all need to work on, and we will be providing support to specialist homelessness services,, as well as other housing services and the whole community to do everything we can to reduce and eliminate homelessness.

Animals—cat containment

MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Yerrabi has many cat containment suburbs, but there are some suburbs that are not. The parliamentary and governing agreement includes mention of increasing cat containment measures. Minister, can you please explain what this might look like?

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank Mr Braddock for the question. The issue of cat containment has had a bit of focus over the last little while. It has been looked at by ACT government for some time, and cat containment is something that we will be working on as a government over the coming months.

While cats are much-loved family members—about a quarter of households in the ACT have cats—we also know they have quite significant impacts in the community.

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