Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP

All states sign homelessness agreement but Newman Government still lags behind

From today, homelessness services across Australia have the certainty they need to continue providing critical support to vulnerable Australians, with all states and territories having now signed a $320 million national homelessness agreement for 2013-14.

But Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler was bitterly disappointed that the Newman Government has soured the deal by refusing to accept Commonwealth funding to continue critical tenant advice and advocacy services.

“Every state government in Australia should hold their head high today, except the Newman Government whose bloody-mindedness could spell the end for dozens of advocacy services across the state, funded through the Queensland Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service,” Mr Butler said.

“The Queensland Housing Minister Tim Mander is flat out refusing to take funding offered by the Commonwealth to keep these services going over the next six months which is frankly bizarre.”

“I’m not sure if this is a ‘parallel universe’ where a state is being offered $2.5 million in funding for homelessness services and knocks it back for no reason, other than pride.”

“I know that the service providers are dumbfounded – they’re shaking their heads and saying: what state Minister in his right mind would knock this offer back?”

“Let’s be clear – the Newman Government’s decision to refuse federal funding will result in families living on the streets.”

“Every day, dedicated workers in these support services work hard to help tenants keep a roof over their head and avoid becoming homeless. They deserve to know what their own future holds.”

“The good news is that every other state is doing the right thing and continuing to fund their tenant advice and advocacy services.”

The National Partnership Agreement is part of the Australian Government’s $26 billion investment in housing and homelessness, which aims to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.