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Evacuation of Housing and Homelessness Policy from Abbott Government



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SENATOR THE HON JAN MCLUCAS SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

MEDIA RELEASE

EVACUATION OF HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS POLICY FROM ABBOTT GOVERNMENT

Action on housing and homelessness has fallen by the wayside with the Abbott Government failing to progress critical national funding agreements.

During Senate Estimates today, the Government was unable to provide any indication about their intention to progress negotiations on the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) which expires in just over six months.

The NAHA delivers a whole-of-government approach to tackling the problem of housing affordability and has provided more than $6 billion worth of housing assistance to low and middle income Australians in its first five years.

Similarly, no clear update was able to be provided on the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), also set to expire in June 2014.

Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Senator Jan McLucas said the lack of action on these critical, high-level agreements is yet another indication of the Abbott Government’s poor attitude to housing and homelessness matters.

“It has been a less than promising start by the Government on the serious issue of housing affordability and homelessness,” Senator McLucas said.

“It is deeply concerning that the Abbott Government’s first response to this issue was to abolish the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness.

“This was followed by the axing of National Housing Supply Council, a valuable source of evidence based housing data, and a decision that has been widely condemned by the housing sector and industry groups across the country.

“There is genuine concern that without these key bodies, and having no dedicated housing minister, critical issues like housing affordability and homelessness will fall by the wayside.

“Based on previous comments made by Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews and again by Senator Fifield in Estimates today, it also seems apparent that the Government will be forgoing any leadership role on these issues and deferring whatever they can to the states and territories.”

Senator McLucas also noted that secrecy, a notable quality of the government to date, was permeating into the housing space.

“The Department of Social Services was unable to confirm monthly performance reporting for the National Rental Affordability Scheme would continue into the future.

“Housing and homelessness is just not on the Abbott Government’s radar.”

THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2013