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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 November 2015) . . Page.. 3988 ..

In 2014-15, 248 new public housing tenancies were allocated to households where at least one member was a person with disability. As at 30 June 2015 over 95 per cent of all tenants in public housing were in receipt of a rental rebate, reinforcing the targeted nature of the government’s efforts.

The recent independent report evaluation of reforms to the ACT specialist homelessness service system released on 3 August 2015 also noted: a large increase in the number of service users and support periods; more support is being provided in the form of early intervention, prevention and outreach services resulting in better employment and education outcomes; repeat homelessness is declining, but a continuing high level of need remains for accommodation support; the homelessness sector is increasingly integrated with high levels of cooperation between services; and the centralised intake service, First Point, is ensuring that service users with the highest level of need get priority access to services as intended by the reforms.

I am very happy with these results that confirm that the ACT government’s efforts in this area are well targeted and are making a positive difference for some of the most disadvantaged members of our community. I can confirm that the ACT government has been active in seeking to ensure the commonwealth continues to provide appropriate funding for housing and homelessness services.

As Minister for Housing I met with my state and territory counterparts on 9 October 2015 to consider a range of housing matters in the context of the anticipated release of the federation white paper on housing and homelessness in the coming months. The ACT government spoke strongly about the need for continuing dedicated funding for homelessness services, and I am pleased that these calls were echoed by my state and territory colleagues. As I have already noted, safe and secure housing is a basic human need, and the government is determined to ensure that all levels of government contribute appropriately to ensure that this need can be provided for all. These activities are not cheap and the ACT government will continue to prosecute the case for the commonwealth government to do much of the essential heavy lifting.

The recent report Evaluation of reforms to the ACT specialist homelessness service system noted that between 20 and 30 per cent of clients in ACT supported and short-term accommodation services had recently arrived in the ACT from interstate. This trend has been seen on the ground by support providers such as the St Vincent de Paul Society. This influx of vulnerable and at-risk interstate visitors represents an additional unfunded demand on the territory’s services and highlights the need for more cooperative action in this area. The ACT government is already spending an average of $58 per person per head of population for each person experiencing homelessness, whereas New South Wales spends only $19 per person per head of population for each person experiencing homelessness.

As Minister for Housing I have written to my New South Wales counterpart seeking a meeting in the coming months to discuss opportunities to develop a better coordinated regional approach to the provision of housing and homelessness services. I have asked that officers from Housing ACT and Housing NSW commence initial discussions that will provide the foundation for increased collaboration. The New South Wales

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