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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 10 April 2008) . . Page.. 1345 ..

Youth homelessness

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (6.05): Just before the adjournment was moved, I tried to move a suspension of standing orders so that we could debate the MPI that is listed on the paper, which is about homelessness in the ACT. It is a shame that the Labor Party, the government, would rather go home than debate homelessness in this place. It is an indication of their attitude to this.

I want to read a paragraph from the report Australia’s homeless youth: a report of the National Youth Commission inquiry into youth homelessness which was released recently. It is timely given that it is Youth Week. It is an interesting paragraph; it is a nice snapshot of what is happening in Australia today. Paragraph 4 from the executive summary of the report says:

Homelessness is not “rooflessness”. In Australia, it is widely accepted that homelessness should be broadly defined as being without shelter, in an improvised dwelling, in any form of temporary shelter including SAAP services or a temporary stay with a friend or acquaintance and residence in single rooms in boarding houses without facilities or security of tenure. In the ABS Census 2001, there were 100,000 homeless people—men, women and children—one third (36,173) were young people aged from 12-24 years of age. There were another 9,941 children under the age of 12. Both structural and individual factors cause homelessness for young people. The latest statistics in 2006 reveal 21,940 homeless teenagers aged 12-18, a decline from 26,060 in 2001. This drop has been attributed to the totality of early intervention between 2001 and 2006, not the decline in youth unemployment since the early nineties. On the other hand, the crisis in housing affordability and increased pressure on state care systems are factors that tend to drive homelessness upwards. In 2005-06, in terms of homeless people using SAAP services, 35.5 per cent of clients or 36,700 young Australians were young people. There was also an additional 54,700 children accompanying an adult(s). Turnaway rates as measured by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that about half of the potential clients of SAAP are not able to be accommodated on any night.

That is the seriousness of the situation as outlined in the Australia’s homeless youth report. It is a shame that, because of the government’s unwillingness to stay here for an extra hour, we did not get an opportunity to debate it today.

Estimates 2008-2009—Select Committee

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.08): Mr Speaker, I would like to just dwell on the subject of the motion that a member no longer be heard. When the manager of government business moved this motion today, I thought, “Gosh, I’ve never encountered this.” I did a calculation.

Mr Hargreaves: Point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not wish to use up too much time, but I ask for your guidance on whether or not this represents a reflection on debate in the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: In effect, it is a vote that never happened because—

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