Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

$40 million capital funding for Common Ground Queensland

Joint Media Release with:

  • Karen Struthers MP, Queensland Minister for Housing

The Australian Government is providing a conditional $40 million to build the first permanent supportive housing project in Queensland for people who are homeless or on low incomes.

Federal Tanya Plibersek and Queensland Housing Minister Karen Struthers today announced the funding for a 146 unit development in Brisbane.

Part of the Rudd Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, the $40 million is subject to further contract negotiation.

The Brisbane project is based on the internationally acclaimed Common Ground model.

Ms Plibersek said Common Ground is a unique method of addressing chronic homelessness.

“Clients move into their own new units, enter into rental agreements and pay rent,” Ms Plibersek said.

“They are then supported with a range of services to help them keep their tenancies, regain stability in their lives and participate more fully in their community.

“Common Ground adopts a ‘whole of community’ approach, drawing on community, government, business and philanthropic support to reduce homelessness.

“Grocon has agreed to build the facility at cost.

“It is an excellent example of committed organisations partnering together to reduce homelessness.”

Minister Struthers said having help at hand so tenants could address the issues which may have caused their homelessness, such as addiction or mental illness, was a crucial element of Common Ground.

“Common Ground is an example of ‘wrap around’ services for homeless Australians, delivering integrated services that deal with the complex needs of chronically homeless people,” Ms Struthers said.

“Through the National Partnership on Homelessness, the Australian and Queensland Governments committed $4.38 million to Common Ground Queensland, as part of $284.6 million plan over four years to reduce homeless.

“This funding will support the ongoing services essential to the Common Ground model, including real 24 hour on-site support to help people maintain their tenancies.”

“Common Ground also addresses the range of issues which can lead to homelessness.

“Aside from the on-site support, it encourages visits from other support services such as drug or alcohol counselling and mental health support.”

Minister Struthers said the Bligh Government would set up a high level steering committee to spearhead the drive.

“We’ll ask Micah Projects to step back from the building project, take off their ‘advocacy hat’ and join the field of interested and qualified potential providers so that we can ensure a clear and transparent process.”

“We need to all work together with a shared goal – to end homelessness. Nothing is more important than that,” she said.