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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 August 2016) . . Page.. 2696 ..


infancy and it remains to be seen what will occur in that space. Hopefully it will be a good thing, because I have heard some concerns about FirstPoint in the past. For example, the operating hours of FirstPoint were cut over a period of time.

It is apparent that the hours of operation of a service that aims, for example, to connect people experiencing homelessness with available accommodation involves a number of issues. Firstly, if you need emergency accommodation for the night, you are unlikely to be thinking about that or in need of it during the course of a normal business day. A lot of the crises arise in the evening and that is when people might be looking for somewhere to stay as an emergency. One of the next issues is that there is often nowhere for people to be placed; there is no emergency accommodation available. When reporting on homelessness and homelessness support services, it remains to be seen what the reports from OneLink will be like. If there is nowhere for people to be placed into homelessness services, it makes it very difficult for their reports to show improvements.

We have just had the census—or part of the census perhaps—in the past couple of days. It will take some time for the results to be known and that is the case each time. It is a huge exercise to pull together the data. So at this time the 2011 census is in the only information we have. That shows the ACT has the second worst rate of homelessness in Australia, second only to the Northern Territory. So even though the definition of “homelessness” to some degree had changed from the 2006 census to the 2011 census, the rates of homelessness remained very similar. It is quite disturbing that in a city like Canberra, a city state, we have such high rates of homelessness.

A number of people receive services from our great homelessness services, but we should never forget that someone receiving a service from a specialist homelessness service is still experiencing homelessness. To be able to move people out of the cycle of homelessness, what some people have referred to as churning through homelessness services, what is really needed is housing. Housing is the flip side of homelessness. You also need the supports in place to address some of the underlying drivers as to why someone maybe experiencing homelessness or going through repeat cycles of homelessness. But without adequate housing the availability of housing for those in the lowest quintile or even the lower two quintiles in this territory is an issue that will not be solved. That is something this government has failed to address over a number of years.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (8.50): The ACT government is proud to maintain the most significant social housing system in Australia, with 30 dwellings per 1,000 people against a national average of 17 per 1,000. A good secure home is fundamental to so many parts of life: school, work, good health, friendships, comfort, security and happiness. That is why in housing the 2016 budget continues the government's strong commitment to public housing and the housing needs of some of the most disadvantaged members of the community.

Some $184 million is being invested in housing and homelessness support. Last week during National Homelessness Week I announced the extension of funding to


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