Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

ACT Government leaves Homeless in the cold

The ACT Government’s slashing of much-needed funds set aside for public housing in the Territory will threaten the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens.

The Minister for Community Services, John Cobb, today criticised the ACT Government for its heartless decision to take money from the ACT budget set aside for housing and the prevention of homelessness.

‘The findings of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, showing the ACT has the highest level of homeless children aged up to four years in the nation, highlight the heartless funding cuts of the Stanhope Government.

‘I am concerned about the reported slashing of $1 million by the ACT Government from the Supported Assistance Accommodation Program which will have a direct affect on over 1000 homeless youth in the ACT.

‘It is also disappointing that the ACT Government intends to close three of the four shop front services, reducing access to services for the most disadvantaged.

‘Under the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA), the Australian Government agreed to provide over $93 million to the ACT over five years, with the ACT required to provide over $41 million in matching funding.

‘Homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless, should not have to suffer in order to pay for the ACT Government’s mismanagement of their budget.

‘At a time when Canberra’s winter is starting to bite, these cuts could only be described as callous.

‘The Australian Government is committed to delivering funding and support to the community and recently announced $1.8 billion to improve mental health services responsible for hospital, emergency and crisis care and supported accommodation.

‘I hope this will not be the attitude of the ACT Government, reducing much needed services to the community, when we meet at the next COAG on the Mental Health Action Plan, and that they will bring something substantial to the table,’ Mr Cobb said.