The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) is shocked at the failure of the Australian Government to guarantee funding for housing and homelessness services, putting Australia’s most vulnerable people at risk.
In introducing a new plan, the Federal Government has abandoned good faith negotiations with State and Territory governments to address the housing and homelessness crisis in Australia.
“The proposed Bill drastically changes the national plan on housing and homelessness, and it appears no one was consulted,” said Tracy McLeod Howe, NCOSS CEO.
“Homelessness and housing affordability is one of the biggest problems facing communities across the country, with hundreds of thousands of people on low incomes on the edge of crisis. Solving this problem will take co-operation from every level of government.”
The Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017 (Cth) was tabled in Parliament this week without consultation with State and Territory governments, nor Australia’s peak housing and homelessness bodies.
The Bill will enable the Commonwealth to impose significant requirements on funding for any future Housing and Homelessness Agreement.
“The agreement being negotiated today should expand the level of commitment by both governments to improve social housing for the growing number of people on low incomes. Housing and homelessness services require funding certainty, as the most vulnerable people in our community rely on their services,” said Ms McLeod Howe.
NCOSS calls on the Federal Government to abandon the Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017 and work collaboratively with State and Territory Governments, as well as peak housing and homelessness organisations.
The Commonwealth Government has the power to change the state of housing and homelessness in Australia because it holds most of the important policy levers that drive homelessness.
“NCOSS has worked tirelessly with its members and peak housing and homelessness bodies to work with the NSW Government to tackle existing housing challenges.
“While the State Government has demonstrated commitment by negotiating a $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) with NCOSS, we are deeply disappointed that the Commonwealth Government refuses to make the same commitment to address homelessness in Australia,” said Ms McLeod Howe.
Media Contact: Stephanie Baker, 0416 622 606