Page 2136 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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However, I understand that implementing the full level of commonwealth reductions on our homelessness services in one year would have significant consequences. As such, I have decided that the cross-subsidisation from Housing ACT will continue in the short term such that the actual reduction in funding to homelessness services will be $3.6 million phased in over the next three years rather than the full $5.9 million cut from the commonwealth.

With the national approach of a shift to per capita arrangements and the difficulty Housing ACT has in maintaining the subsidisation as it currently stands, we have worked with the homelessness service system to progress a reform of homelessness services that offers the best results in a very difficult situation. The reform process is to address the funding shortfall, historical funding anomalies and to continue the implementation of the ACT policy objectives.

The ACT has been moving to align the territory’s policy with the national agenda and the national objectives to address homelessness using the three key strategies of early intervention and prevention, a better integrated service system, and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

The reform of homelessness services in the ACT is being undertaken by the Community Services Directorate in collaboration with the non-government sector. The reform takes into account the national reform agenda under the national affordable housing agreement and the national partnership agreement on homelessness, with the aim of improving outcomes for people across the social housing continuum and minimising the impacts of funding shortfalls.

The national affordable housing agreement is a specific purpose payment that brings together previous commonwealth agreements which separated the policy responses for housing and homelessness. It aims to deliver outcomes across the housing continuum from homelessness, social and public housing, affordable housing, home ownership and increased housing supply.

Throughout the reform process the directorate has been strongly committed to open engagement through ongoing consultation, collaboration and communication with its community partners. Discussions about a reduction in available funding were, in fact, initially held in 2009 when the shift to population-based funding first occurred. However, at that time, Housing ACT was able to relieve the burden of the reductions by subsidising the sector, due in part to the stimulus package and the nation building funding that existed at that time.

In January 2012 the directorate reopened this dialogue with homelessness services, and has maintained a very high level of consultation and communication. I have met with some of the stakeholders, and I believe the approach taken by the directorate has been open, transparent and fair.

The directorate has worked with services on funding models and service models to move forward with a consistent, transparent approach to specialist homelessness services in a genuine effort to reduce impacts on client services. This has included

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