Page 510 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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(b) the Government continues to work with the private and community sectors to improve access to high quality, affordable housing for all Canberrans, including those with low and medium incomes; and

(c) the housing and homelessness sector continues to be under pressure due to uncertainty over Commonwealth funding; and

(2) calls on the Government to provide detailed information to the Legislative Assembly, by the last sitting day in March, about the Government’s public housing and homelessness programs, including:

(a) the Government’s public housing renewal program;

(b) ACT homelessness services;

(c) assistance provided to people leaving domestic violence, young people, families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities and older people; and

(d) the maintenance and upgrade program across the public housing portfolio.”.

Ms Lawder’s motion notes that the ACT has the second highest rate of homelessness nationally. On 12 November 2012 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data indicating that on census night there were 1,785 homeless people in the ACT. This places the ACT at the second highest rate of homelessness nationally, with 50 per 10,000 of population experiencing homelessness. By way of comparison, the Northern Territory has the highest nationally by far at 730.7 per 10,000 and Tasmania has the lowest at 31.9 per 10,000.

However, what Ms Lawder does not mention is that the census counts as homeless people who are accessing supported accommodation services, in addition to people who are sleeping rough and couch surfing—not accessing services. Homeless people in supported accommodation services are receiving intensive support to address and resolve the issues around homelessness.

The ACT has the highest rate—triple the national rate—of people who are accessing supported accommodation services, including those who are homeless; 30.9 per 10,000 compared to 9.9 per 10,000 across Australia. The number of those sleeping rough and couch surfing in the ACT was 29 in 2011, a decrease of 43 per cent between 2006 and 2011. In all other categories of homelessness, other than people accessing supported accommodation, the ACT has the lowest or among the lowest rate per 10,000 in Australia.

I would like to talk about the waiting list. The Housing ACT waiting list is a point-in-time measure that represents all people who are seeking public housing accommodation in the ACT, including people who are accessing homelessness services and receiving support. In the ACT we probably have the best picture of what the demand is for public housing and homelessness services. However, it does not mean that our patterns of demand are radically different from other parts of Australia.

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