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Census Lays Liberals’ Homelessness Failure Bare

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 23 March 2023

Tags: Homelessness, Housing Crisis, Housing, Social and Affordable Housing

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

New data on the massive increase in homelessness in Tasmania is deeply distressing, and again highlights the need for urgent action from government.

Recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of homeless people in the state has jumped from 1,622 in 2016 to 2,350 people in 2021. This 44.8% increase is the largest of any state. Given the skyrocketing cost of living – including rental prices going through the roof – this figure would undoubtedly be even higher today.

The number of people living in severely overcrowded conditions has also increased by 165%, and median rental costs have increased by 60%. Meanwhile, the Liberals have done nothing to alleviate the stress of renters, and have passed two separate tax cuts for investment property owners.

The Premier’s responses in Question Time suggested he isn’t that concerned, because we aren’t the worst in the country. This is entirely the wrong benchmark.

If we needed any more proof that the Tasmanian Liberals are silver-spooned Tories, who fundamentally don’t care about, or understand, the desperate crisis ordinary Tasmanians find themselves facing, this was it.

In their nine years in government, the Liberals have overseen – and even encouraged – a growing crisis in housing. The result of this is hundreds more Tasmanians living in homelessness, and thousands more on the brink.

The Liberals have spent years denying the need to properly invest in social housing, continue to refuse to limit short stay rentals, scoff at any suggestion that tenants should be given basic protection from massive rent hikes, and think it’s fine that thousands of homes around the state sit empty.

The Greens have consistently pushed for common sense, achievable solutions to this devastating social crisis. But the only time this government has lifted a finger on housing is to deliver increased profits to big developers or to wealthy property investors.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff and his colleagues should hang their heads in shame over these appalling homelessness figures, and take immediate action to tackle this still-worsening crisis.