Page 2364 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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people will never be able to exit from the homelessness support system. That is where we are falling down here. This is where the ACT Labor government is falling down.

Sure, we can talk about our fabulous homelessness services, but it is not enough to service people in homelessness at a cost of $27,000 a year or more per person. We need to get people out into safe, secure, affordable housing that they can call their own. The solution to homelessness lies in providing affordable housing. We have to address the long public housing waiting lists and we have to provide the targeted support that enables people to sustain their tenancies. We have heard today about the great work done by Common Ground, and that is one good example. But it is not enough.

The Canberra Liberals want to see people have the opportunity to get into their own homes. What is the ACT government doing about this? What is it doing to make housing more affordable and reduce the public housing waiting lists? We are the national capital. We should lead the nation by breaking the homelessness cycle. What are we doing? We are leading the nation in renewable energy. Why can’t we lead the nation in breaking the homelessness cycle? This government has different priorities.

We need to see a comprehensive assessment of some of the following. Firstly, there is the cost effectiveness and outcomes of current service models and forms of intervention offered in Canberra on prevention, early intervention or crisis responses to homelessness. We need to see the critical factors in Canberra for the stabilisation of housing and maintenance of good housing outcomes for people who have been experiencing homelessness. And we need to see changes in the whole service system to more effectively respond to people who are experiencing homelessness.

We need a long-term cross-portfolio investment and long-term procurement strategy that meet the demand for affordable housing in the bottom two income quintiles and reduce the number of people in Canberra who do not have a home to call their own. We need to see something that pools funds from across portfolios to maximise prevention and early intervention in homelessness, to reduce the demand for crisis services and to facilitate prompt access to and maintenance of stable, affordable, appropriate housing for people who have been experiencing homelessness. And we need to ensure that housing and homelessness support services can respond effectively to current and emerging needs.

I call on the ACT government to develop and implement a realistic framework by October 2015 to address Canberra’s affordable housing crisis and increase the supply of affordable housing in the ACT. In theory, that framework should already be in place through the affordable housing action plan that former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope spoke about, which apparently is sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust rather than being implemented by the very government that brought it in.

I hope that this government gets the message that moving people out of Northbourne Avenue and only rehousing those people in new properties will not address or alleviate Canberra’s long-term public housing waiting lists. It definitely will not address or alleviate the housing affordability crisis we are experiencing in the ACT. It does not help people experiencing homelessness who cannot exit from the homelessness service system.

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