Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP V) signed

All States and Territories have signed the fifth Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP V) Multilateral Agreement with the Australian Government, providing support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced all States and Territories agreed to match the Australian Government’s funding contribution to the agreement, supporting services over the next five years.

“Under the agreement, negotiated between the governments, total resources available to the program will be increased by almost $350 million to an estimated $1.81 billion over the life of SAAP V,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Australian Government will contribute $932 million over five years.

“Although funding for homelessness is primarily a state responsibility, the Australian Government has been prepared to work closely with State and Territory Governments to develop and refine this agreement.

“This partnership is a clear demonstration of the Australian Government’s strong commitment to assisting the States and Territories to address the needs of people who are among the most vulnerable in our community.

“One of the significant differences between the SAAP IV and SAAP V agreements is the jointly funded Innovation and Investment Fund worth almost $120 million. Despite some resistance from states, I insisted on the establishment of this fund to drive strategic reform in the SAAP sector.

“The fund will identify ways of reducing the high rates of return to SAAP services by improving pre-crisis intervention, post-crisis transition and linkages to other services, including mental health and employment support services.

“A key area of interest I will be pursuing during SAAP V is the potential for better linkages between SAAP services and other related support services to provide more joined up and seamless model for people with high and complex needs.

“I look forward to working with State and Territories over the next few months on the development of Bilateral Agreements, which will build on the high level objectives of the Agreement, while providing scope for each jurisdiction to address issues unique to their own SAAP sector,” Senator Patterson said.