Page 1740 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 9 May 2018
consultation and a climate adaptation focus this space will contribute greatly to the Gungahlin area. It will make Gungahlin town centre a more climate resilient town, as well as providing a great space for locals. It has been my experience as a member for Yerrabi that an engaged consultation process makes for a better quality public space. I am proud to be assisting the Gungahlin community in helping to inform the design of the park and look forward to hearing from them.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (6.14): I rise to speak about Dave’s Camino de Canberra. Proud Canberran and CEO of Professionals Australia David Smith is currently attempting to walk 790 kilometres around the ACT to raise awareness and funds to tackle homelessness. Dave Smith is a regular participant in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout but wants to step up his efforts to raise awareness about homelessness, which affects hundreds of Canberrans, and to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Society in Canberra. Currently he has raised $3,600 of his $4,000 goal. The money raised will go towards helping Canberrans facing homelessness by providing food, housing, education and health services, as well as counselling.
I was pleased to join Dave earlier in the year to walk a leg in my electorate. We started at Kambah village and walked along the Centenary Trail, up Mount Arawang and around Cooleman Ridge and back—around 13 kilometres in total—talking education, health, politics and also our mutual concern about homelessness in Australia and particularly in the ACT. According to Homelessness Australia, 50 out of 10,000 people experience homelessness in the ACT, with the major causes being accommodation, family breakdowns and family violence. We know from the 2016 census that the rate of homelessness has dropped in the ACT by 8.1 per cent, but there are still around 1,596 people experiencing homelessness.
Addressing homelessness is a major focus of the ACT government. Last year Minister Berry, the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, hosted the housing summit, and the ACT government is well on the way to finalising our new housing strategy. The new housing strategy will address and consider how to reduce homelessness in the ACT, strengthening social housing assistance and increasing housing affordability. The ACT government is also working with St Vincent de Paul to alleviate homelessness and provide services to those who are sleeping rough.
In conclusion, I commend all Canberrans participating in events to raise awareness and funds to address homelessness, including the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, which is coming up on 21 June. Dave Smith is also inviting Canberrans to join him on his walks and to share in ideas and good conversation along the way. Dave is well on his way to achieving his 790 kilometre milestone, and I encourage everyone to get involved.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (6.15): I, too, want to raise my