Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

National Homelessness Week

This week is National Homelessness Week, drawing necessary attention to the plight of those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

On any given night there are more than 100,000 homeless people across Australia – half of them under the age of 24 – and after 17 straight years of economic growth we should have done better.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is committed to finding answers but this problem won’t be fixed overnight.

Homelessness is a complex issue and will take a coordinated effort across all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and corporate sectors.

After releasing its Homelessness Green Paper in May, the Government is now taking onboard the views of the sector as we develop a comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness in Australia.

The Homelessness White Paper will be released in September.

I want to take the opportunity of homelessness week to thank participants in our Green Paper consultations.

Hardworking homelessness service workers and committed community members have contributed in their hundreds, attending public consultations or providing written submissions.

Many of the 600 written submissions received by the Government highlighted options for reform. We are now considering these views to develop a comprehensive approach to tackle homelessness over the next decade.

The submissions came from individuals, homeless service providers, researchers, peak organisations representing homeless people, housing and tenancy providers, health service providers and State and Territory governments.

Over 1,200 people also attended the public consultations in 13 capital cities and regional locations.

I am extremely pleased by the quality of the submissions and the commitment to reform which came through in the submissions and consultations.

It’s great to hear from so many people who are committed to long term collaboration and ensuring continued support for homeless Australians.