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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6564


Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyMinister for Health) (09:59): On 7 June, I officially opened Annie Green Court in my electorate in Sydney. It is a purpose built aged care facility for frail aged homeless people run by Mission Australia. I want to pay tribute to the work of Mission Australia in this respect. Annie Green was a pioneering welfare worker and evangelist whose work in South Australia is remembered for having improved the lives of disadvantaged women. It is fitting, then, that Annie Green Court, along with Mission Australia's other nearby facility, Charles Chambers Court, is the only aged care facility in the heart of Sydney with places for elderly homeless women.

I am proud that the federal Labor government funded this $16-million new aged-care facility as part of our broader commitment to halving the rate of homelessness by 2020. I visited the site first when plans were unveiled for the new building, which replaced a very dilapidated old nursing home that Mission Australia had been running on that site but had had to close because it had run down so terribly. After almost four years, this facility means that 72 frail, aged, homeless people now have a secure place to call home—a small room with an attached bathroom. The facility is set out in groups of around 12 so that people can sit together at dinner time with people who are familiar to them; not in a big dormitory-style facility where people get lost in the crowd but in smaller groups that are closer to the way families are constituted.

It is beautiful to see this brand-new facility, and it makes me so proud to be part of a government that has invested around $26 billion in affordable housing since coming to government. In fact since coming to government, we have had a direct contribution to one in 20 homes built in Australia, such as these lovely aged-care facilities which provide accommodation for people who would otherwise be homeless, and more than 20,000 new units of public housing. There are tens of thousands of National Rental Affordability Scheme properties built already and occupied by families who would otherwise struggle to pay the rent, such as a 57-unit affordable housing complex in Zetland that I opened in 2010 and the beautiful Common Ground facility in Camperdown for 52 people who were previously homeless, including a man I used to see sleeping rough on King Street every day who now has a regular place that is his own and where he can be safe.

The thing I am proudest of in our first two terms of government is our emphasis on housing and homelessness that has given people security, dignity and a place to call home.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 193 the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.