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Housing Crisis

12 June 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

Your Government today stands accused by one of your own of 'not giving a shit about the homeless'. In the middle of a housing crisis where families are sleeping in cars and young people at the Domain, where the public housing waiting list is at its highest in a decade, you have not ruled out taking legal action to make it easier for Housing Tasmania to evict tenants into homelessness. Can you understand how one of your colleagues might reach that damning conclusion?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I do not accept the assertion. We are, as the minister has well-outlined, very aware of the complex nature of this issue; the need to be more responsive to increase our resources as we have done, including following the Housing Forum. In many respects that was a positive step in understanding what we can do better. From that came a number of initiatives, including a winter package and additional initiatives through Housing Connect to support homeless people. That was a coming together of all key stakeholders at that point in time. It has directed a lot of our efforts and our additional resources. There is $1.9 million more into outreach services and programs in the 12 months since.

That is an example of those who want to contribute positively and constructively to this issue as opposed to those who are resorting to silly political games. That is all we are hearing from members opposite this morning. It will not distract us, nor will it distract those in the non-government sector. This is not only a government thing because, as the minister has outlined, he regularly meets with key sector representatives. He did so yesterday, including with the member for Clark. I have had meetings in relation to these matters myself. We are endeavouring to do all we can and more and to respond with additional urgency and priority, and will. Our track record shows that. That is our demonstration of how this Government feels about this matter. There is more to do. We will.

In relation to the matter that was canvassed yesterday, we will take advice as to the legal implications of those matters about any legal proceedings that are afoot. To conflate the two is entirely unreasonable. We are doing all we can.

Members interjecting.

Madam CHAIR - Order, please.

Mr HODGMAN - I urge all those who sincerely want to participate in this, including in a tripartisan way. We invited the Leader of the Opposition to the housing forum last year. She attended. She appeared, as did the member for Clark. We welcomed that but it was not long before the Leader of the Opposition went out and canned a lot of what we had discussed and agreed upon at that forum, and separated herself. That was a demonstration of the lack of goodwill and the lack of tripartisanship in that instance.

It is never too late to come to the table. We welcome anyone so doing, anyone at all. We are more prepared than any government to respond, as this one has done. I invite the Labor Party to come forward with something constructive in this place, other than silly political games which is all we are seeing here today.