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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3083

Mr DICK (Oxley) (18:33): I rise to speak wholeheartedly in favour of the motion on safe and affordable housing that is before the House today. I commend my friend the member for Newcastle as someone who has a long and abiding interest in those suffering homelessness and who is also a progressive, speaking out for those who need it the most. We on this side of the chamber are not afraid to speak on behalf of our record, because we on this side of the chamber have a proud record. Labor has a proud record of not only talking the talk but delivering when it comes to housing affordability and homelessness. We know that this nation is in the grip of a national housing crisis. On any given night, 105,000 Australians, including around 705 in my electorate of Oxley, are without a home.

We hear a lot of platitudes from those opposite, and we just heard from the member for Forde. I give it to the member for Forde: when, in August 2014, we had that disgraceful attack from the former Treasurer Joe Hockey, who said that people on low incomes either do not drive cars or do not drive very far—that was the beginning of the 'lifters and leaners' attacks on poor and working people—the member for Forde was appalled by those comments, just as most Australians would have been. We have a Treasurer of the nation who thinks that, to get into the housing market, you need rich parents. We have a government with the wrong priorities when it comes to delivering housing affordability and homeless services in this nation. What we heard from the contribution by the member opposite was that we do not have a minister for housing and homelessness. The government shut down the National Rental Affordability Scheme. They abolished the National Housing Supply Council. They abolished the Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness. They cut funding to Homelessness Australia, cut funding to National Shelter, cut funding to the Community Housing Federation of Australia and cut $88 million from the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. Ministers from around the nation met on Friday, and yet no commitment was given to increasing funding and no commitment was given to the funding arrangements needed to deliver outcomes for those most vulnerable in our community. There was also a cut of $26.8 million from the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. Those opposite have suspended the housing affordability inquiry. They have failed to commit to provide funding to the NPAH beyond June 2017, placing at risk crisis accommodation, assistance with long-term housing needs and early intervention programs.

When you look at Labor's record, you see that we make housing a priority. We set the target to halve homelessness by 2025. We know that reforming the tax treatment of rental properties to inject fairness into the property market—limiting negative gearing to new property—will provide incentives for new constructions and add thousands of jobs to the construction industry. On this side of the House we have a genuine commitment to dealing with the long-term housing issues in this nation. In my home state, the Palaszczuk Labor government was forced to deal with some of the cruellest cuts that we saw from the previous Newman government—that toxic experiment that failed the people of Queensland. In my electorate, in working-class suburbs like Inala, we saw some of the cruellest cuts that I have seen in my 25 years in politics, from the LNP government. In the term of the last government, we saw cuts to 23 organisations that provide tenancy advice and advocacy services to 100,000 Queenslanders. Thank goodness those days are behind us in Queensland. The Palaszczuk Labor government is now reversing those trends and making sure that we are seeing $152.6 million invested in specialist homelessness services. I am proud to see a $100 million investment in new government-led housing construction, something that was abolished and cut by the previous Newman government. We on this side of the House know that only a federal Labor government, working hand in glove with state Labor governments, will provide long-term housing for those who need it. We have seen it time and time again. I remind this chamber that over 105,000 Australians will be without a home tonight. My hope is that this government will start investing in real housing solutions for those who need it the most.