Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australia’s homeless receive no comfort from Kelvin Thompson’s state and territory colleagues

Kelvin Thompson’s disgraceful political ploy fails to recognise that it is his state and territory colleagues who are currently blocking funding for the next Supported Accommodation Assistance Programme (SAAP).

Mr Thompson’s claims that the Australian Government has failed Australia’s homeless are hypocritical.

Mr Thompson’s state and territory colleagues have repeatedly failed to agree to my request that they fund half of the joint State/Commonwealth Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP), despite the fact I have even offered to increase base funding if they agreed to a 50:50 split.

They have continued to show their lack of commitment to Australia’s homeless.

For too long states and territories have shirked their responsibility by only providing around 40% of the total funding for the programme.

Homelessness is primarily a state/territory responsibility and over the past four agreements the Australian Government has consistently put in more of the funding towards SAAP. The Australian Government has offered states and territories an extra $175 million for SAAP V.

We are well aware that the states and territories are in a position to shoulder their responsibilities towards crisis accommodation for homeless people and contribute more funding for SAAP V. They are now receiving record GST windfalls, along with significant funding from gambling and stamp duty revenue.

I am committed to ensuring an agreement is reached by 1 July 2005. Mr Thompson clearly is committed to obstructing that process.