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More reports won' solve homeless youth crisis.



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Tue, 8th April 2008 MORE REPORTS WON'T SOLVE HOMELESS YOUTH CRISIS

The Hon Sussan Ley MP Shadow Minister for Housing, Status of Women

The Rudd Government's response to the National Youth Commission's ''Australia's Homeless Youth'' report released today is slow and inadequate.

Federal Member for Farrer and Shadow Minster for Housing, Sussan Ley, said the Government describing youth homelessness as a ''national tragedy'' but then waiting until September before deciding on what to do was unacceptable.

''Do we really need to wait for another report to find out what needs to be done and how much is needed?'' Ms Ley asked.

''With the Budget just around the corner, surely there are plans in place to increase funding for successful programs such as Reconnect?''

Ms Ley said the Commonwealth-funded Reconnect program proved that early intervention went a long way toward resolving issues and preventing young people from leaving home.

"We must remember that homeless young people are in quite a different category than their adult counterparts,'' she said.

''People who work with homeless youth say there is opportunity to intervene early, get their lives back on track and make a real difference.''

Ms Ley said the State governments have done little to address the exorbitant number of children who are in State care and who are at most at risk of homelessness.

''Many of those who are abused or neglected, live transient lives or have multiple placements within state care are those that need emergency assistance or at the greatest risk of homelessness.

''State and Territory governments must commit additional resources so that we do not have a whole group of children treated as second class citizens,'' she said.

''In 2007, Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek said that at least 40 percent more was needed for emergency accommodation. I wait with interest to see what is committed in the Budget.''

Ms Ley urged the Rudd Government to stop going around in circles with White Papers, Green Papers and endless bureaucratic contemplation when all the evidence is there to tell them how they can actually improve the lives of homeless children and young adults.