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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14922

Homelessness

Housing Affordability

Dear Mr Vasta

Thank you for your letter of 20 March 2017 regarding Petition Number EN0136. I regret the delay in responding.

The Australian Government recognises that homelessness is a complex issue that affects many Australians. It requires a long-term and systematic effort across agencies, sectors and the community.

Despite $6.2 billion of Commonwealth funding in housing assistance and homelessness services, including $1.3 billion through the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and $115 million through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), housing and homelessness outcomes continue to decline.

In large part this is due to the poor design and lack of transparency and accountability for performance within the current NAHA. The Government is serious about reforming the NAHA and the NPAH to ensure the funding provided to the states and territories is used efficiently and effectively to maximise housing and homelessness outcomes.

From 1 July 2018, a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) will replace the existing National Affordable Housing Specific Purpose Payment (NAHSPP) and the NPAH to increase the supply of new homes and improve outcomes for all Australians across the housing spectrum, particularly those most in need.

The new NHHA will be developed in close negotiation with states and territories with funding tied to the delivery of mutually agreed, measureable actions targeting priority areas, which will include homelessness.

Under these new arrangements, the Government is removing the uncertainty of short-term extensions of homelessness funding by rolling the NPAH funding into the new agreement on an ongoing basis. The funding will be indexed and will be matched by states and territories.

To ensure that funding for frontline homelessness services is preserved, the new NHHA will separately identify the rolled in NPAII funding. Over the forward estimates to 2021 this amounts to $375 million. This funding will continue to be dedicated solely to funding homelessness services across Australia.

With homelessness funding now settled, the new agreement will support all governments to develop a national approach to reducing homelessness that will link with other national priorities, including domestic violence and child protection, in order to leverage better outcomes for a common group of vulnerable individuals.

Thank you for raising this matter with me.

Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Social Services, Mr Porter(Petition No. EN0136)