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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3199

Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (13:36): Recently, the Prime Minister said on radio that he would not let the people of Western Australia down on the issue of homelessness support services. The best way the Prime Minister can show that he will honour this promise is to renew the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness before the Senate election on 5 April.

St Bartholomew's House in my electorate is one of 14 service providers that received funding under the NPA on homelessness. This funding ensures that St Bart's is able to provide tailored services to those sleeping rough on the streets of Perth—a service called the Street to Home Program. One hundred and two Western Australians have been helped by this program to find appropriate accommodation. Fifty five per cent of them are in this accommodation 12 months later, and many others are working towards that 12-month target. The failure of the government to commit further funding means that St Bart's is not able to guarantee its employers that they will have a job beyond 30 June. Already, staff are looking elsewhere and some have left the organisation.

I beg the Prime Minister to at least give St Bart's and service providers like them just a six-month extension on their contract. This would mean that at least if their services are cut in May there is time to make alternative arrangements. Leaving the organisation, staff and clients hanging on with no certainty for the future is no way to treat those people. (Time expired)