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Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Tags: Big Business, Housing Waiting List, Social and Affordable Housing

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Mrs PETRUSMA   Did you feel ripped off when the Treasurer handed down his second Budget last week? How do you explain to the housing and homelessness sector the woeful budget outlook for Tasmanians needing a secure affordable home because you failed to advocate strongly enough on their behalf during the Budget process. Do you agree with the Budget papers which show that on your watch the number of applicants housed is expected to fall, as will the new allocations to those in greatest need. The waiting list, already blown out by 43 per cent, is projected to continue to grow while the average wait time for housing will increase along with the time taken to house urgent category 1 applicants? Do you agree that while the GST windfall is being spent through a highly-political big business lens your Housing portfolio is being bled dry of capital funds because there is too little heart for the battlers in the Cabinet of which you are a member? When are you going to step up and ensure the Housing Fund is restocked from the Treasurer's $220 million slush fund?    ANSWER   Madam Speaker, it is extremely hypocritical of the member to mention the infrastructure fund. Let us have a look at the Labor-Greens unallocated fund In the 2010-11 Budget, $275 million; in the 2011-12 Budget, $101.1 million; in the 201213 budget, $195.2 million; in the 2013-14 Budget, $85 million. The member could have then asked for that to boost the housing fund. However, in all the budget papers -   Members interjecting.   Madam SPEAKER - Order. I warn the Honourable Member for Franklin and the Honourable Treasurer.   Mrs PETRUSMA - The Budget papers state that in this unallocated infrastructure investment of Labor and the Greens:   In addition to the unallocated infrastructure investment expenditure the Government has set aside those amounts of capital provisions over the forward Estimates period which will be allocated to infrastructure investment projects that have met the requirements of the structured infrastructure investment review process and provide capacity to meet cost variations and rescheduling of projects.   If we go back in time to their 2013-14 Budget, when the member was the minister at the time, what she left for housing infrastructure was $17.4 million for 201516, which is $5.5 million less than the $22.9 million we are spending this year. This $22.9 million will deliver 630 affordable houses in the 2015-16 year alone.   The member seems to forget she admitted herself the waiting list would increase as a result of Housing Connect. She also seems to have forgotten that homelessness increased under Labor by 37 per cent in just five years. She also forgot that Labor and the Greens reduced social housing in this state by 1 071 homes and left a backlog of property maintenance of $90 million. That is why we went to the election with the Affordable Housing Strategy to address homelessness and housing affordability over the next decade. The Affordable Housing Strategy will be delivered at the end of June and will address the full spectrum of housing from home ownership to affordable rental, public, community housing and crisis accommodation. We are waiting for the recommendations for the Affordable Housing Strategy, which will be delivered at the end of June and will form the basis for initiatives over the next decade.