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Federal Budget 2016: Tasmanian Homeless Left Out in the Cold


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tags: Affordable Housing, Economy, Homelessness, Federal Budget

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Ms PETRUSMA

Economist Saul Eslake confirms Tasmania is not receiving increased funding for affordable housing unlike every other state, which is getting an increase.  Do you agree Tasmanians experiencing or at risk of homelessness have again be left out in the cold by your federal colleagues?  Can you justify the Turnbull government's abandonment of Tasmanians needing affordable housing and its decision not to fund the national partnership agreement on homelessness beyond next year?  Did you know that was coming?  What impact will that have on Tasmanians needing a home beyond mid next year?  Do you agree without the federal funding for homelessness services in Tasmania either the specialist homelessness system will collapse, placing more vulnerable people at risk, or the state will have to step in to make up the shortfall?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, seeing the honourable member was a minister for housing for just about the whole four years you would think by now, as the Premier has already clearly articulated, she would realise how the National Affordable Housing Agreement is calculated.  It is simple - calculated on a per capita basis.  If our population goes up then our per capita allocation goes up.  If our population stays the same our allocation stays the same.  If our population goes down it goes down.

It is quite simple as to what the answer is for us to get more dollars under the National Affordable Housing Agreement - grow our population.  That is why this Government has the target of 650 000 people by the year 2050.  That is why we have in place our $10 million population growth strategy.

In the federal budget for NAHA in 2015-16 it is $28.6 million, in 2016‑17 it is $28.6 million and 2017‑18 it is $28.7 million, reflecting the fact we are expecting an increase in our population.  Then in 2019‑20 it is $28.8 million, again reflecting the fact under this Government we are expecting an increase in population.

Under like the former Government, going back in time to 2013-14 there was no NPAH allocation across the forward Estimates under the previous government at all.  This was when Julie Collins was the Minister for Housing.  Julie Collins walked out the door as minister responsible for housing with not one single cent allocation for the National Partnership Agreement on Housing across the forward Estimates.  Again, it took a federal Liberal Coalition government to come in and fund the program so there is another year of funding.

In regards to ongoing funding all the housing ministers came together recently in Brisbane to discuss the importance of a sustainable and longer term policy.  All ministers - federal, state and territory - came together.  What has been agreed from all federal housing and state ministers is that six months prior to the expiry of the 2016‑17 national partnership agreement.  We are now doing a report on future funding, especially because we all want to see a five‑year funding term.  This report will be presented by 30 September 2016.  Commonwealth, state and territory ministers will meet soon after this to form the basis of recommendations on the NPAH to COAG on funding options beyond July 2017.  We are working cooperatively with all other state, territory and federal colleagues on NPAH funding going forward.

In the meantime, this Government is also standing on its own two feet.  We have our own Affordable Housing Strategy, which will see housing options for 1 600 vulnerable Tasmanians.  We are also building an extra 900 houses over the next four years.  Those houses will see about $235 million worth of extra economic activity in this economy.