Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Liberals Walk Away From Bipartisan Approach To Homelessness

The Rudd Government is deeply disappointed that the Opposition Leader has walked away from his party’s commitment to bipartisan targets on homelessness.

Previous Opposition Leaders Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull both pledged their full support to the Government’s homelessness agenda.

Welfare organisations have said this week that the commitment to halve homelessness should have cross-party support and that the fate of homeless Australians should not hang on an election outcome.

The Government urges Tony Abbott to reconsider his position and support the Government’s ambitious targets to halve homelessness and offer accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

The Rudd Government is spending $4.9 billion over four years to address homelessness, with an additional $400 million from the States and Territories.

This includes the $1.2 billion committed at the time of the release of the Homelessness White Paper in December 2008.

The White Paper is a comprehensive policy document which outlines the approach of the Government – a point apparently lost on the new Opposition Housing Spokesman.

“There’s no architecture to explain how we’re going to reach this target of halving homelessness by 2020.” – Senator Gary Humphries, 2CC radio, 18/02/2010.

The Government is:

  • Increasing spending on homelessness services by 55 per cent as a substantial down payment on a twelve year reform agenda;
  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing homes by 80,000 by mid- 2012 – 50,000 through the National Rental Affordability Scheme and 30,000 through the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan;
  • Providing an additional $80.4 million in emergency relief and financial counselling services until mid 2011 to support Australians through difficult times; and
  • Funding 41 specialist homelessness projects across our housing programs, to provide more than 1680 new units of accommodation.