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"Crisis? What crisis?" Youth homelessness problem bigger than thought: Morris



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR IAN G. CAMPBELL SHADOW MINISTER FOR SPORT, RECREATION & YOUTH AFFAIRS

" C R IS IS ? W H A T C R IS IS ? "

YOUTH HOMELESSNESS PROBLEM BIGGER THAN THOUGHT: MORRIS

November 28, 1995

The Labor backbencher whose committee delivered a damning report on youth homelessness has admitted the problem is bigger than he originally thought, directly contradicting one of his own Ministers.

Evidence earlier this year to the House of Representatives Standing Committee chaired by Member for Newcastle, Allan Morris, was that there were 21,000 young Australians without a home.

Mr Morris subsequently told ABC Radio in Darwin (November 7) that the figure was as much as 23,000.

Housing Minister Brian Howe last week told Radio 7ZR (November 22) that he doubted that figure was correct.

Mr Morris' reaction was to tell Parliament last night that the real figure was closer to 30,000.

Shadow Youth Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, said Mr Morris' statement was confirmation that the government's response to the youth homelessness crisis is confused.

"They can't even agree on how many homeless young people there are," Senator Campbell said.

"Allan Morris calls it a crisis on ABC Radio on November 9 and less than a fortnight later Brian Howe asks: 'What crisis?' "

Senator Campbell said Mr Morris' statement to the House indicates that he is regretting his decision to ask the government to stall its response to his report, delivered in June, past the customary three months.

"How Mr Morris can now try and justify that delay when he's described the youth homelessness situation as 'a crisis' is amazing," Senator Campbell said.

"I'm also puzzled by Mr Morris' statement to the Parliament that the responsibility for responses are 'essentially state issues'.

"The message is that he wants to fob off responsibility for these issues to the states even though his report and statements he made in Darwin clearly blamed the Commonwealth for the lack of co-ordination of responses."

Senator Campbell said Mr Morris had been goaded into speaking out by Mr Howe whose reaction to youth homelessness had been the establishment of another advisory committee.

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