Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

States and territories should do more for homeless people

States and territories will be urged to use some of their multi-billion dollar revenue windfalls from GST, stamp duty and gambling to help Australia’s homeless people, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson said today.

‘From July 1 2005, the Howard Government will provide $931 million over five years to assist the states and territories meet their responsibilities in addressing homelessness through the fifth Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). This is a $175 million increase in the ongoing funding from the previous agreement,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘The Government has historically provided the majority of SAAP funding and will continue its financial commitment, contingent on the states and territories increasing their own funding to levels which more closely match those of the Howard Government.

‘The states and territories should follow the lead of NSW and shoulder more of their responsibility for SAAP, to meet the need for services and support for people who are homeless.

‘The states and territories are enjoying windfall revenues from GST, stamp duty and gambling.

‘GST revenue is providing the states and territories a cumulative windfall of $11.8 billion up to the financial year 2007-08. In addition, they have enjoyed a $4 billion bonus from gambling during 2002-03.

‘This multi-billion dollar windfall allows states and territories to invest more funds in such an important program designed to help homeless people including children and families.

‘The proposed fifth SAAP agreement will be for five years and $106.7 million of the Howard Government’s total contribution will be directed to investment in
SAAP V’s three key strategic priority areas of pre-crisis intervention, improved linkages with other services, especially for women and families and better post-crisis transition support.

‘The current SAAP IV agreement expires on 30 June 2005 and I am committed to having a new agreement in place by 1 July 2005. I am expecting to finalise a Multilateral Agreement by the end of March followed by the signing of eight Bilateral Agreements by June,’ Senator Patterson said.