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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Homelessness Agenda Builds Momentum

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

The Australian Government’s priority to tackle homelessness was a key item of discussion at the meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Housing Ministers in Melbourne today.

The first meeting of Housing Ministers since the November election also included Ministers responsible for refuges and other homelessness support programs to ensure there is thorough engagement on challenges and options for the future.

It is unacceptable that after 17 years of continuous economic growth, each night 100,000 Australians are homeless. Half of these people are under 24 years old, and 10,000 are kids.

That’s why the Rudd Government is taking strong action to reduce the number of homeless Australians.

  • A Place to Call Home will invest $150 million to reduce homelessness, including the building of 600 new houses for homeless Australians;
  • $2.8 million will be used to expand sporting and cultural programs such as the Choir of Hard Knocks in every State and Territory.

On January 27, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would develop a Homelessness White Paper to set the agenda for reducing homelessness over the next decade.

The White Paper, to be delivered by September, will include a comprehensive national action plan to reduce homelessness.

An expert steering group is being led by the Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence Tony Nicholson, assisted by Heather Nancarrow and Anna Buduls.

The Government’s approach to the White Paper is deliberately consultative – with charities, service providers, state and territory governments and the corporate sector.

We are working closely with these people because we want to get this right.
Homelessness is a complex problem but the Government is confident that by taking action now, we can reduce homelessness over the next decade.

We acknowledge that housing and homelessness require joint effort by all levels of government and today’s meeting reflected the genuine spirit of cooperation.

Other items discussed today included:

  • Housing for Indigenous Australians;
  • The National Affordable Housing Agreement; and
  • The COAG Housing Working Group