Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Ministers agree to ongoing commitment to tackle homelessness

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor today congratulated his State and Territory counterparts for agreeing to an ongoing commitment to work together to tackle homelessness.

Ministers at today’s Select Council on Housing and Homelessness meeting in Brisbane agreed, subject to Cabinet processes, to enter into negotiations for a new National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

They also agreed, subject to Cabinet processes, to work on a one-year transition partnership agreement for 2013-14 while the new long-term agreement is negotiated.

With the current partnership due to expire on 30 June 2013, the Gillard Government has committed to a further one year of funding for service delivery under the agreement, with the expectation the States and Territories will match funding.

“We look forward to States and Territories getting the agreement of their Cabinets at the earliest opportunity,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This is a great outcome for our most vulnerable Australians, and for the compassionate, dedicated workers who devote themselves to making people’s lives better.

“It is promising that the States and Territories have agreed to an ongoing commitment to work together, and to the three overarching strategies of prevention, early intervention and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

“I am confident that we will continue to negotiate in a spirit of good will and cooperation to find the best ways to help vulnerable people get their lives back on track.

“Federal Labor has made tackling homelessness and making housing more affordable a national priority since we were elected.

“We have invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and initiatives. Indeed, we have made a direct financial contribution to one in every 20 homes built since 2008.

“I look forward to continuing to work with State and Territory colleagues to negotiate the most effective ways to invest taxpayers’ dollars and help vulnerable people have the best lives possible.”