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Homeless report: a rebuff for Abbott and an embarrassment for Howard.



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Wayne Swan - Homeless Report - A Rebuff For Abbott And An Embarrassment For Howard http://www.alp.org.au//media/0801/wsmshome050801.html Tuesday, 07 August 2001

Homeless Report - A Rebuff For Abbott And An Embarrassment For Howard Wayne Swan - Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

Media Statement - 5 August 2001

The National Homeless Strategy Consultation Paper prepared by the Howard Government's homelessness advisory committee is a stinging rebuff of Tony Abbott's views on poverty, and so critical of the Government's efforts to address homelessness the Prime Minister wouldn't release it.

The paper, quietly released today, challenges Tony Abbott's recent comment that poverty is the result of personal failings:

Myths that link homelessness to personal flaws or bad choices must be dispelled. Homelessness is caused by structural factors…(page 8) ●

And it calls on the Government to change its policy of fining homeless people who receive income support calling on it to:

Amend Centrelink procedures in relation to breaching to ensure recipients and dependants retain affordable secure accommodation. (page 20)

There is a real danger people will be punished for being homeless. (page 21)

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The report also shines a light on the neglect of the Howard Government, calling for an upgrading of services for homeless people:

There are a number of gaps in the service system; and these can only be filled by increasing funding.(page78) ●

They could start by putting back what they have taken away during the last five and a half years.

This year funding for low cost housing under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement will be $195 million per annum less in real terms than when John Howard came to office - a cut of nearly sixteen percent.

The Government also abolished the Commonwealth Dental Program - an essential health program

established by Labor that assisted thousands of homeless people.

Harsh Howard Government policies mean that 65% of all potential clients of homelessness services are unable to be assisted.

This may explain why Mr Howard was reluctant to launch the paper, notwithstanding the fact that he is addressing a Mission Australia conference during their homelessness week. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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