Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Joint Media Release with:

  • Damian Hale MP, Member for Solomon
  • Senator Kate Lundy, Senator for the Australian Capital Territory

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion Senator Ursula Stephens, Member for Solomon Damian Hale and Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy will tonight join 109 other Canberra CEOs to brave the cold, rainy Canberra night at the National Museum for the 2010 Vinnies CEO Sleepout to raise money for homelessness.

The mean minimum temperature for Canberra in June is 1.4 degrees Celsius, and can get as low as minus five. It is also predicted to rain in Canberra tonight and regardless of the weather, the event will go ahead.

‘Thousands of Australians sleep rough around Australia every night and endure these kinds of conditions on a daily basis.

‘Tonight is about showing that we’ve not forgotten the difficult circumstances in which some Australians live and that we are determined to make a difference in their lives.

‘The government’s Social Inclusion Agenda has this goal at its very heart. And our commitment to halve homelessness by 2020 is a key part of this work,’ said Senator Stephens.

‘On census night 2006, 1,364 people were homeless in Canberra, of these 78 were sleeping rough and 38 per cent were aged 12-24. While the numbers are difficult to quantify, this level of homelessness is unacceptable, it’s my hope that the CEO Sleepout will continue to raise awareness and community support to reduce homelessness,’ Senator Lundy said.

Participants in the Sleepout will be allowed only a sleeping bag and pillow, and will be given cardboard to separate them from the concrete. They will be given a basic meal of soup and a bread roll and will commit to staying out from 7pm to 7am.

‘I think we all take having food, beds and basic comforts for granted and while many believe homelessness only affects older men, the reality is women, children and men across all ages face not having a roof over their heads … I’m sure the CEO Sleepover will be a real eye opener to the challenges many Australians face each night,’ Damian Hale said.

It is the first time the CEO Sleepout will be held in Canberra, after the event’s success in Sydney last year when 200 business leaders slept out and raised $602,000 in funds.

Donations can be made online at CEO Sleepout website. Type in the name of Senator Stephens, Damian Hale or Senator Lundy, select Canberra as the location and click ‘go’ to make a donation.

Media Contact:

Nancy Waites (Stephens) 0434 560 313
Amy Davis  (Hale) 0409 453 938
Annika Hutchins (Lundy) 0407 458 882