Page 2218 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2016

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undertaken to bring them to this point illustrates the government’s commitment to working with the sector. We are doing this through open communication as together we build a homelessness service system that will best meet the needs of our service users and the organisations that support them directly.

We are proud of this record, established under successive Labor governments. Due to the approach the ACT government has taken to meet the needs that have been identified in housing and homelessness, the ACT has the lowest rate of rough sleeping: 0.8 per 10.000 against the national average of 3.8 per 10,000. We also have triple the national rate of people accessing supported accommodation: 30.9 per 10,000 against the national average of 9.9.

ACT Labor has been able to achieve the most significant social housing system in Australia with 30 dwellings per 1,000 people compared to the national average of 17 per 1,000. The ACT government’s deep commitment to both our service providers and their clients is reflected in the combined investment of $354 million in the 2016-17 year alone when you consider public housing renewal service funding and our support for public housing tenants.

Right across government and throughout the community ACT Labor is confident that the recent funding arrangements as well as ongoing support for service providers and their clients has led to the nurturing of a safer, more inclusive and caring territory.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: Minister, what is the significance of the longer term funding agreements and how has the government’s decision been accepted?

MS BERRY: Longer funding cycles create vital stability and certainty amongst local services. What our community service providers have told us is that people facing hardship in our community often come to service providers not with short-term problems but problems and challenges that require support for the long term. The hardworking staff members of Canberra’s front-line service providers also do not make a commitment to their work only for the short term. These are people who are committed to their clients, to their organisations and to their communities for the long term.

Government needs to consider and provide appropriate long-term funding in order to design and provide long-term solutions. A constant need to reapply for funding means that service providers spend more time on administration and recruiting short-term staff rather than on providing effective and sustainable front-line service delivery.

In response to how the sector has responded to the longer term funding arrangements, the CEO of St Vincent de Paul in Canberra, which delivers five homelessness services, had this to say on the ACT government’s extended funding arrangements: the longer funding continuity provided under the new contract “allows St Vincent De Paul to plan improvements to homelessness services with confidence and enables us to attract and retain quality staff”.

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