Coalition reverses Labor’s funding cuts on homelessness with $230 million commitment prioritising victims of domestic violence
Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison today announced the Federal Coalition Government will provide $230 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) for two years to 2017, with funding priority given to frontline services focusing on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and homeless youth under 18.
“Labor turned off the funding tap for homelessness in their last budget failing to make any provision for Commonwealth funding for NPAH after 30 June 2014,” Minister Morrison said.
“The Coalition acted when coming to Government to restore funding for the homelessness partnership for the current year and will now extend this commitment for a further two years while a comprehensive review is undertaken on federal- state responsibilities.
“The Coalition Government recognises that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness and that women and children are particularly vulnerable. The Government will therefore be ensuring that funding priority under the extension will be given to homelessness service providers that work with women and children in these situations.
“According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in 2013/14 about 85,000 adults and children sought help from specialist homelessness service agencies for domestic and family violence, an increase of 9% from 2012/13.
“The Abbott Government has a strong track record of action on addressing domestic violence. This issue requires coordinated responses across portfolios and from all levels of government. Today’s announcement complements the government’s $100 million commitment as part of the Second Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
“We have brought forward this announcement ahead of the May Budget to give providers of homelessness services across Australia more certainty, enabling them to get on with their work of helping some of our most vulnerable people.
“States and territories will now need to match the Commonwealth’s commitment to homelessness funding under the NPAH, so we can continue to work together to ensure funding is going to frontline services. Accordingly I have written to State Ministers seeking their commitment to support this partnership and to advise them of the Government’s decision.
“The Australian Government will also be looking to put in place reporting arrangements with the states and territories that ensure the effectiveness of service delivery in these critical areas.
“Once funding is matched by the states and territories, the 2015-17 NPAH will allow for continuity of homelessness services across Australia.
“Under the NPAH, jurisdictions retain the flexibility to decide which service providers in these priority areas should be funded and in which locations.
“I look forward to working with my state and territory colleagues through the NPAH to help ensure that all Australians can access real, practical assistance and to prevent even more people falling into homelessness.
“The extension of NPAH funding provides the sector with more certainty over the next two years to ensure critical frontline services are maintained. Longer-term funding arrangements and the respective roles of the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments in housing and homelessness will be considered in the context of the Government’s White Paper on Reform of the Federation,” Minister Morrison said.