Bill's Media Releases

CHRISTMAS TIME TO RECOMMIT TO TACKLING HOMELESSNESS

 


This Christmas thousands of Australians will generously volunteer to help those less fortunate at what can be a very difficult time of year for many in our community.

 

Labor thanks every volunteer and every charitable organisation for the invaluable work they do every day, but especially over this Christmas period.

 

For many Australians this will be a tough time when they will rely on donations of money, food, shelter and gifts for their kids from others.

 

The Salvation Army works incredibly hard to support some of Australia’s most vulnerable people and they have a long established track record looking after people during difficult times.

 

While parcels, breakfasts and emotional support provide a welcome respite, we are reminded that not everyone has reason to celebrate this Christmas.

 

The Government must do more to support the most vulnerable in our community, including acting on the growing challenge of homelessness.

 

Labor believes in a strong economy that delivers for all Australians and doesn’t leave people behind.

 

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, are on public housing waiting lists or trying desperately to purchase their own home.

 

Yet the Abbott Government is leaving them all in a state of perpetual uncertainty.

 

The work of organisations like the Salvation Army highlights the disadvantage many in our community face in keeping a roof over their heads.

 

The housing and homelessness policy review promised by Minister Kevin Andrews since November 2013 has not been delivered.

 

And there is real and genuine fear the Abbott Government does not see a role for the Commonwealth in housing and homelessness policy going forward.

 

The Abbott Government has:

 

  • Cut $44 million out of homelessness services in its 2014-15 Budget, with no funding certainty beyond 2015;

  • Abolished the National Rental Affordability Scheme which boosted the supply of affordable housing for Australians and was widely supported by the industry;

  • Scrapped the First Home Owners Saver Accounts which assisted Australians to save for their first homes;

  • Abolished the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness;

  • Abolished the National Housing Council Supply;

  • Given no commitment to ongoing funding of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness beyond June 2015

  • Removed the COAG Select Council on Housing and Homelessness;

  • Withdrawn the Commonwealth’s role from the community housing sector’s National Regulatory Council;

  • Reduced funding for the National Affordable Housing Agreement, which has impacted further on the provision of homelessness services.


 

Australia cannot afford a government that abandons the most vulnerable in our community, especially at a time when unemployment is at its highest levels in 12 years and youth unemployment its highest level in 13 years.

 

Labor calls on the Abbott Government to recommit to tackling homelessness in Australia, not cut services and support at a time when more and more Australians are relying on it.

 

WEDNESDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2014

 

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