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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3044

Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (16:02): Homelessness rates are rapidly rising in Australia. The latest figures show 256,000 Australians sought assistance from homeless services, an increase of some 20,000 on the figures from the year before. And this is at a time when service providers are already forced to turn away 329 people each day. Australia's current homelessness crisis impacts on the most vulnerable in our community, which is why the lack of focus from this government is so concerning. The Turnbull-Liberal government has no national housing strategy, no minister for housing and homelessness, and now we see a refusal to commit to the funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness beyond June next year.

The national partnership agreement provides up to 30 per cent of the budget for homelessness service providers across the nation. It supports some 80,000 needy Australians through 150 programs. Without funding certainty, the continued viability of these services is at risk. Some of those services threatened include crisis accommodation for women and children leaving family violence, early intervention programs for families at risk of becoming homeless and, indeed, referrals to employment and other support services. It is time the Turnbull-Liberal government stopped dragging its feet and provided some certainty for funding for the most vulnerable in our community. It is time for some national leadership. It is time to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. (Time expired)