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State Development - Homelessness and Housing

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tags: Housing, Housing Crisis, Homelessness, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, at a recent meeting with a number of stakeholders, including your colleague, the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management; the Hobart City Council mayor; the Glenorchy acting mayor; former police commissioner, Darren Hine; the Commissioner for Children and myself, the Hobart City Council's general manager reported an increase in rough sleepers in and around the city.

I note that we've just recently gone through a census process, but what is the intelligence that you're receiving about the increase in the number of people, not just in our major cities, but also in our regional centres, who fall within that tier of what they would call 'rough sleepers'? We believe it's on the rise.

Mr FERGUSON - Good on you for being part of that meeting. I know everybody at this table has a shared and genuine commitment to helping people in need. We know that our efforts will never ever be enough, but we must continue to strive. We want to end homelessness and, Ms O'Connor, I don't want to quarrel with you, but I think different sectors and different perspectives will have different views on this.

I will invite the deputy secretary to speak to the data, but recently I spent the night at the sleep out run by the Salvos at the Grand Chancellor hotel - outside, of course. The Salvos workers led us on a walk through the city, showing us some of the ways in which people exist in the city at night when they're homeless - and I do mean sleeping rough.

The feedback I had that night was that, largely due to the additional supports, the number of people sleeping rough was smaller. That was the feedback, and I can only go by other empirical evidence such as the Census data. Naturally, we'll get a read on that from this recent census that happened last month.

Ms O'CONNOR - I'm sure different people will have different perspectives, but what you have is a supply problem created by seven years of underinvestment in social and affordable housing, increasing rents, and unaffordability - so logic tells us that there will be an increase in the number of homeless people. I would advise you to consult a little bit more broadly.

Mr FERGUSON - Actually, the tour, which was conducted by people who work in the sector, gave me different advice, and they specifically put it down to the extra supports and the safe spaces that we had opened up.

I'm going to ask the deputy secretary to respond, because I don't think it serves the committee for us to be disagreeing. I'm just giving you a different perspective because I don't think for a second that we have met the housing challenge.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Mr White. We were looking at the July dashboard which shows that the average wait time to house priority applicants is 70.1 weeks in July or 59.2 weeks if you look at the rolling monthly average; which, in both cases, is more than a year waiting.

In relation to the 4240 people who are listed as being on the housing wait list at July - which, as we know in the Budget Papers, is projected to blow out to 5025 Tasmanians within a year - the dashboard also notes the following: 'importantly, only 8.8 per cent of these applicants, that is, 374 applicants, have reported being without conventional accommodation such as sleeping rough or staying in impoverished dwellings'. It's an unfortunate turn of phrase to say that 'only' 8.8 per cent or 374 humans are without proper shelter, isn't it?

Also, what that tells us from June to July, is that the number of people in housing distress and homelessness is increasing.

Mr FERGUSON - I am sorry, what's the question?

Ms O'CONNOR - That's the question.

Mr FERGUSON - I am asking you, what is the question?

Ms O'CONNOR - Do you agree that, according to the contrast even between the June and July dashboards, the number of people who are in housing stress and experiencing homelessness has gone up; because I heard Mr White say 8.5 per cent or 8.6 per cent at 368.

Mr WHITE - It was 8.8 per cent at 365, thank you.

Ms O'CONNOR - 365; and in July it's gone up to 374 applicants. Doesn't that tell us, minister, despite your earlier answers, that people who are homeless, whether they are sleeping on the streets or on the Domain or somewhere else that's unsuitable and unsafe, the numbers are rising?

Mr FERGUSON - I acknowledge that.

Ms O'CONNOR - You were trying to tell me it was fine before.

Mr FERGUSON - Ms O'Connor, I won't have you misrepresent that point; that is beneath even you.

Ms O'CONNOR - You were trying to tell me it's much better before? I don't care what you think of me.

Mr FERGUSON - What I'm doing is sharing with you, if you had joined the CEO Sleepout you would have listened to that tour.

Ms O'CONNOR - I've been on that tour any number of times.

Mr FERGUSON - I'm not prepared to prosecute the point any further. It is feedback that I received.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just because this was your first time on the tour.

Mr FERGUSON - Far from it, Ms O'Connor.

Ms O'CONNOR - It was.

Mr FERGUSON - Wrong, Ms O'Connor, it's the second CEO Sleepout I've attended; but that's beside the point. Why argue about such things?

Ms O'Connor, I acknowledge that the register has an increased number of applicants on it from June to July. There is no point in disputing it, but I won't make the point again because it's obviously lost on you.

What we're going to do is continue to invest to provide more housing supply and options for people who need our support. I am very determined about this. I would appreciate the support for our efforts. We also want be transparent, and that's why we've moved to a monthly reporting schedule so it's very clear, and people like yourself and Ms Haddad are not waiting three months for the data as was previously the case - including under your government.

CHAIR - Last question.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Mr Ferguson. Under our government, we prioritised the construction of affordable housing and built about 2500 in four years and got the housing wait list to its lowest level in a decade.

I also have issues about the correspondence that goes into your office and the struggles we are having, since you took on the housing portfolio, in getting any sort of response to housing constituent issues. There's a particular constituent called Maddie, who's happy to have her name identified but only the first part of her name. Single mum, three young children, one with an intellectual disability, all sorts of trauma. She's unsafe, she feels unsafe. We first contacted your predecessor's office in January. All the supporting documents went in, we got nothing but acknowledgement emails. Then there was an election and the department said you were in caretaker mode. After we continued to follow up, we were advised in April that we would hear from the department urgently - but we never did. Since this time, Maddie's housing provider has been changed from Housing Tas to Centacare and she says her rent has increased from $304 to $490 per fortnight. I'd like to explore that, given that community housing providers can only charge 25 per cent of income for rent. Can you make some commitments around improving your office's response to housing constituents? I note that your new housing advisor is the very Mr Behrakis that I was talking about before, who spends a lot of time on social media getting stuck into Hobart City Council on the taxpayer's dime.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, please.

Mr FERGUSON - At some point today you're going to have to divorce yourself from the petty insults and actually talk about substance. You get to choose when that is but I -

Ms O'CONNOR - Could you be any more patronising?

Mr FERGUSON - You're being very patronising, Ms O'Connor. I'd like to answer a real question, rather than those unhelpful extra jibes which don't actually help anybody.

Ms O'CONNOR - You didn't answer the question about Mr Behrakis before.

Mr FERGUSON - Let's just come back to the real question, which is how my office can support MPs like yourself.

Ms O'CONNOR - It's not about supporting us. It's the people we represent.

Mr FERGUSON - Ms O'Connor, if you'd be good enough to listen. I actually pride myself in responding to people in a timely fashion. Don't always assume that the time that you're waiting means that it's been sitting in my office waiting for a response. The department works very hard, and I am more than aware of the voluminous nature of correspondence we receive from MPs - state and federal - in all cases advocating in good faith for their constituents. Now, I also accept in good faith that -

Ms O'CONNOR - Seven months.

Mr FERGUSON - Ms O'Connor, I'm not aware of the letter that you've referred to. If you'd like to share it with me outside of the committee I'd be more than happy to prioritise it. You and I have that relationship where you'd always be able to ask me to prioritise something like that. To at least get a response is a courtesy. I would always want to treat you as a colleague MP. We can't always address what people are asking for, but I do accept that people like to have an answer at least and an acknowledgement of a serious concern that might be raised. Most times when I do write back to people, it's on the advice of the department that might be suggesting that a person is or isn't a priority applicant; that they have or haven't chosen a wide range of suburbs. In some cases, I indicate to the MP that people have been provided with housing options but we don't force them to take them, and so they still wait on the register, despite the fact that in some cases options have been provided - including stable accommodation options. I have a piece of work currently underway because I'm not satisfied at the moment that our process around responding to MP's requests is particularly efficient.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's good to hear.

Mr FERGUSON - And I am rewriting that at the moment. I'm not prepared to describe it in too much detail right now, but I will be providing a high level of service to MPs, state MPs, to gain access to information on behalf of their constituents. It will be more user friendly and more useful for you. I think it will help to make the Minister for Housing's job that little bit more efficient as well, so that we can actually focus on the people who might need some more intensive support, as opposed to the larger number of people who are looking for more of an update on where their application is at.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, our office has been advocating on behalf of a person who has been waiting for housing support for over five years. They first applied for social housing in March 2016 and have been on the waiting list since April 2017. The lag between their first application and being on the waitlist was the result of a mistake by Housing Connect. That person suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple other health conditions, including chronic pain. They are on a disability support pension and they are currently living with their carer and the carer's child. The current accommodation is very poor. It's is cold due to poor heating and lack of insultation and there are ongoing issues with the sewerage.

This person is understandably extremely anxious to ask the landlord for things to be fixed or conditions improved, especially now that there are concerns regarding the property being sold and the tenancy being terminated. They are desperately in need of housing. We first contacted Mr Jaensch's office about this in mid-2020 and we have been recently in conversations with your office.

This person is still living in unstable accommodation that they cannot afford. They have been in the system for five years. The most recent information from the Housing dashboard in July has the average wait time to house priority applicants at 70.1 weeks or 59.2, if you look at the rolling average. Over a year's wait time is shocking in itself for a priority application but this person has been waiting for priority housing for 210 weeks. How is that acceptable?

Mr FERGUSON - I do not know the facts of the case but thank you for raising it in the way you have, because you have de-identified the person. I do not know the case.

Dr WOODRUFF - We have been in touch with your office.

Mr FERGUSON - I am glad that my office is supporting you with your contact on that. We do so for MPs across the spectrum on a daily basis. Many times, people are asking for an update on their application and in some cases, we might share the view that the person needs some level of intervention.

For obvious reasons, I am very careful in how I describe that in a public forum like this, but we look to the experts here at the table and their staff at Housing Connect Support Team to do the difficult task of identifying the people who should next be offered an available property on a priority basis.

From what you have said it sounds like, if you haven't already written to me I'd encourage that. I will take a personal interest in it and ensure that your constituent is afforded an accurate and just update in relation to their application. I'm not sure if you said they are a priority applicant?

Dr WOODRUFF - I understand they are a priority applicant.

Mr FERGUSON - That's helpful to know. That is helpful guidance for me and, subject to the person being reasonable with respect to their selection of towns and suburbs and subject to advice on what may or may not have been offered to them, I am happy to take a personal interest in it. I can do that in a limited number of cases. I will certainly be asking the department for an update on that when you provide me with their name and the consent of that person. It sounds like you may have done that with my office.

Dr WOODRUFF - I am not sure that hasn't already happened. I'd be surprised if I haven't managed this myself but I'd very surprised if that hasn't already happened so I hope that your office will elevate it.

Mr FERGUSON - Dr Woodruff, in this public environment where neither of us have mentioned the person's name, I cannot say with certainty but I will take it in good faith and I will follow it up in the way I've said.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Regarding the 4240 who are on the housing waiting list as at July this year, the dashboard also says the following:

Importantly, only 8.8 per cent of these applicants, 374 applicants, have reported as being without conventional accommodation such as sleeping rough or staying in impoverished dwellings.

Minister, do you think it is okay that there are over 4200 currently on the housing waiting list because 'only' 374 of them are apparently sleeping rough?

Mr FERGUSON - Thank you for the question, Dr Woodruff. I am happy to go to that matter. It was raised earlier today by your colleague, Ms O'Connor, so the point has been made and listened to. I don't think that anybody would like to have that misinterpreted as downplaying the experience of those 365 people at all. I am sure it wasn't the intention of the department in preparing that monthly advice, which is a new innovation for all of us here. We will take it on board and have a further look at the language used.

Dr WOODRUFF - I have another case which is also appropriately de identified.

We often hear of homelessness in the Hobart area and this person lives in the north west. For that person living in a small town, the options for housing are extremely limited. A couple of weeks ago they said they happened to catch the late bus home, the 5.30 p.m. from Devonport to Sheffield. They got talking to the only other passenger, a woman in her late forties. She had arrived recently from Melbourne and was desperate to look at some accommodation that was available in Railton. In no time, it was obvious that she was homeless and the address of the accommodation was a long distance from where the bus was going to drop her. She didn't realise until this person pointed it out to her. She had nowhere to go when she got to the Railton Hotel. The owners were kind people and they gave her a lift. The only thing that was offered to her by Kentish Council Assistance was a tent in the middle of winter.

This person is just really concerned at the situation. They say they don't want to make light of it but it seems so ludicrous. Surely, we can do better than this.

Are you aware, minister, that there are parts of Tasmania where the housing assistance being offered is a tent where there is nowhere available that's safe for people to pitch it?

Mr WHITE - Sorry, was that the person who travelled from Melbourne. Is that what I heard you say?

Dr WOODRUFF - No, this is a person who's a Tasmanian who was travelling out of area in the north west and met another woman who was homeless and had that connection with that person.

Mr WHITE - Did she engage with Housing Connect?

Dr WOODRUFF - It says she engaged here with the Kentish Council - 'the local Kentish Community House offers assistance'. That is what the assistance was.

Dr WOODRUFF - I might ask her tomorrow and ask you a question about social housing. What is the total number of new social housing rental properties in both the public and community housing you expect to be delivered in each of the financial years: the current one 2021 22, the next year and the third year? Social, public and community housing.

Mr WHITE - In the financial year of 2020 21 we had 203 social housing dwellings delivered.

Dr WOODRUFF - This is the forward - the current budget year 2021 22.

Mr WHITE - Sorry, I thought you wanted the last financial year also.

Dr WOODRUFF - You can add that on by all means, but the question -

Mr WHITE - Can I do that then. There are 203 delivered during the financial year of 2020 21. That is public and community housing, social housing, all social.

Dr WOODRUFF - Can you separate them?

Mr WHITE - I can advise you that of those 26 are public housing. That means that 177 would be community housing, although all those properties are social housing, taking priority applicants off the housing register. In addition to that we have had 95 units for supported accommodation completed, new supply.

Dr WOODRUFF - That was last year, okay.

Mr WHITE - That is last financial year.

Dr WOODRUFF - For this year and the next two years? What are the projections?

Mr WHITE - Certainly, I can give you our projections on social housing for this financial year are a further 350, is our estimated number. I am sure you understand it is very difficult to predict exactly because if projects are due to be finished in May or June, that can sometimes be completed into the next financial year.

Dr WOODRUFF - I understand that; but what is the breakdown between public and community for that 350?

Mr WHITE - I don't have that breakdown in front of me in terms of the financial years because a lot of our programs are over two-years; but I can tell you that is the estimated number.

Dr WOODRUFF - Three and fifty for this financial year.

Mr WHITE - For 2021-22 - that is social housing.

Dr WOODRUFF - You don't know at the moment which of those are public and which of those are community housing?

Mr WHITE - I will have to get that information to you for that. I don't have the projects listed in front of me.

Dr WOODRUFF - Could I take that on notice?

Mr FERGUSON - We have funded programs where we describe the delivery of houses out to June 2023 and then beyond 2023. I think the record is really clear on those. You are asking for an annualised version of that?

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes please.

Mr FERGUSON - I will happily take it on notice, and we will all have the benefit of seeing it together with a breakdown, if we can. I will ask the department. There may be a margin of error given there will be financial year issues, but we will break it down by public and community.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, are you able to state the number of homes that have been sold through programs such as Homeshare and Streets Ahead in financial year 2020-21, 2019 20 and 2018-19? For the last three years.

Mr FERGUSON - Can you provide that earlier question in writing through the committee secretary?

The number of properties that have been sold through Homeshare and Streets Ahead, by financial year, are as follows: in 2018-19 - six properties were sold through Homeshare and 21 properties were sold through Streets Ahead, with a total of 27; in 2019-20 - five properties were sold in Homeshare, and 14 were sold in Streets Ahead, with a total of 19 properties; in 2020-21, three homes were sold in Homeshare and 26 properties were sold in Streets Ahead, with a total of 29 properties. I am advised these included dwellings owned by the Director of Housing and sold under these programs. There are additional dwellings sold on the open market which can qualify for both those things, can't they?

Mr WHITE - Yes, they have sold.

Mr FERGUSON - Why don't we grab those too?

Mr WHITE - I can give you those numbers as well.

Mr FERGUSON - I have provided you with publicly-owned properties that have been divested through those two programs. Would you like non-Director of Housing properties that have qualified for those programs?

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes please.

Mr WHITE - These are the ones that have sold on the open market in addition to those. In addition to the properties we sold to people under both Homeshare and Streets Ahead, in the financial year 2018-19 we had 16 properties that were sold on the open market. At times, we will sell properties on the open market if they may have some condition issues or structural issues or be damaged in some way, and therefore unsuitable for people who we are supporting into home ownership through Streets Ahead and HomeShare. In 2018-19 was a total of 43 sales.

Dr WOODRUFF - I thought you said 16.

Mr WHITE - Yes; but there is six HomeShare and 21 Streets Ahead so three figures. The minister gave the first figures. For 2019-20 we had 10 properties sold on the market; that represents a total of 29 sales for that financial year. For 2020-21, we had eight properties sold on the open market which represented a total of 37 properties sold.

Dr WOODRUFF - 36 through the open market?

Mr WHITE - Yes.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I am interested in understanding how the Budget allocates across the forward Estimates new housing projects to be drawn from the housing debt waiver funds. Of the housing debt waiver funds, what is allocated to be spent on new construction of crisis and transitional housing, and new construction of long term social rentals, public and community housing stock, and other areas such as home purchases or private landlord subsidies, and so on?

Mr FERGUSON - I have exactly what you're asking right here. It is a lengthy answer. Let me know if it gets too long.

The Commonwealth debt waiver has made available $58.4 million to be invested into a program of works through to June 2023. That's the answer to the first part.

This equates to around $15 million in extra funding each year and will provide housing assistance to around 400 households by June 2023. The first two years of funding through to June 2023 have been allocated, with the allocation for the final two years of the forward Estimates representing a total of $27.66 million, which we will determine the use of.

The agreement requires the Tasmanian Government to use all funds that are waived to programs that 'increase access to social housing, reduce homelessness and improve housing supply across the state'. That's the deal we signed up to and that's the deal we will honour.

With relation to other allocations to those different forms of housing you asked about, this is supported with an additional $10 million to the information I have already provided. An additional $10 million is allocated as part of the Government's construction blitz to fast-track some of these projects. This includes $53.6 million to support 300 new social housing dwellings, provided mainly through grant funding to community housing providers, and some construction and purchase by Housing Tasmania.

Dr WOODRUFF - I beg your pardon, sorry to interrupt. That's not money from the housing debt waiver fund, what you just said then. That's just other works the Government is doing?

Mr WHITE - That's specifically from those waiver funds.

Mr FERGUSON - There's one last section for me to provide you with. In addition, funds made available under the debt waiver agreement will also be provided to support the following initiatives: the purchase of the Balmoral Motor Inn in Glenorchy for use as a supported accommodation facility - that has a dollar value of $2.1 million; the acquisition of vacant land in North Hobart for future social housing development, $1.4 million; the expansion of the Private Rental Incentive Scheme to assist more Tasmanians into affordable housing, $2 million; upgrading of the Oakley Court unit complex, $3 million; and a range of other land acquisition and affordable housing projects, which I have at $6.5 million.

Dr WOODRUFF - Some of those monies are upgrades and they're not new constructions. Did you say that the money was to be spent on new constructions?

Mr FERGUSON - The quote I read from the agreement was that 'the funds that are waived need to increase access to social housing, reduce homelessness and improve housing supply', so it supports a mix of uses.

Mr WHITE - In terms of the upgrades at the Oakley Court complex at Glenorchy, which you may be aware of, we've used $3 million from the debt waiver, together with additional funds from our maintenance program, to upgrade those 50 units. They've been upgraded in a way, too, to improve accessibility. The unit complex is now targeting over-50s. They are a total refurbishment. We have taken a unit complex that was ageing and needed some bigger money, to put that in. That is certainly in line with the agreement.

As the minister said, the agreement goes back the last two financial years. The four years through to June 2023 represented $58.4 million of, essentially, payments we would have made under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement debt. An additional $10 million was provided to give us $68.4 million. The $27.66 million is the debt repayments post June 2023, so for the 2023 24 and 2024 2025 financial years, in the out years, that would have been made. Those funds we are yet to be allocated but they will be allocated as part of our work under the Tasmanian Housing Strategy.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, according to CoreLogic's latest quarterly data, the median rent in Hobart is now $499 a week, which is truly unbelievable, but true. Rents for houses are up a whopping 47.8 per cent, and 47.6 per cent for units, in the last 10 years. Rents are also going up right around the state, not just in Hobart. It is no wonder the average tenant is living in extreme rental stress.

Minister, with many businesses struggling due to closed borders and this is obviously having a flow on impact to employees, will your Government consider re establishing the Rent Relief Fund?

Mr FERGUSON - The answer to your question is that we need to build that extra supply. We need to release more land. We had an earlier question today about the Huntingfield development, which has been hotly contested at a political level. I would like to see that settle right down so that we can get a planning approval and start to release more land. I hasten to add that we need sustainable actions that are going to lead to improved housing outcomes for Tasmanians.

A state government rental fund, which was initially and temporarily stood up to support people through the pandemic, is not the long term answer, noting that the Commonwealth has responsibility for income support and the CRA. That is a difficult space for a state government the size of ours to step into. We are taking other measures and we thing that, taken as a whole, if we can get them all to succeed, we can start to see some pressure lift off the housing sector.

I am pointing to the very successful HomeBuilder program, the First Home Owner Grant, there's stamp duty relief for pensioners to downsize and release a family home back into the market, and allow a pensioner, single or couple, to downsize into something smaller. We've also spoken about HomeShare and Streets Ahead.

But our more innovative and recent solutions have been about releasing more residential land. We are providing, for a limited time, the opportunity for rebates of up to $10 000 for land that is zoned residential but, for whatever reason, has not been released to the market. That’s available right now.

There is the Ancillary Dwellings Fund, which I feel people are not aware is still available. That's 250 grants of $10 000 available right now. I am told 120 have been approved or paid out. Only half the grants have been taken up, so there is a bit of scope there. It is not regionally specific, it is first in, best served. If you want to invest in a pod or an ancillary dwelling, convert your garage, provided it meets the requirements of the definition of an ancillary dwelling, and provided you are prepared to rent it to somebody for two years, we will give you $10 000 toward it.

I will sum that up. All of these initiatives are aimed at taking pressure off the housing sector generally by boosting supply. That is the answer to this. We have over-demand, we need to therefore meet the supply.

Dr WOODRUFF - It is just that we are in this very short period of extreme pressure where we haven't got our borders open and small businesses are under enormous pressure. It is a very difficult and hard experience for many Tasmanians. They are suffering for a short period of time. We hope it will be a short period of time. Of course the -

CHAIR - I have let you go on indulgence, Dr Woodruff. Frame it as a question or I will move on.

Dr WOODRUFF - I am asking the minister to consider a rent relief package until the period that the borders are opened.

CHAIR - That is just a repeat of the question that the minister has just answered, Dr Woodruff.

Dr WOODRUFF - That was a longer-term thing. Now I am asking to consider it as a time limited strategy, because you talked about long term sustainability.

Mr FERGUSON - I am not in a position to make that undertaking, but your point has been well made.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, how much has been spent on the pods at the Hobart Women's Shelter and Bethlehem House to install and hire those accommodation units? What is the annual maintenance cost for the pods?

Mr FERGUSON - I can get the deputy secretary to leap in if we need to expand further, but my advice is that the state Government does not maintain them because that is actually a responsibility of the owner, Royal Wolf. We don't pay for maintenance costs unless the tenant has damaged the item.

The total cost that I have for the installation and hire of the units for the 10 pods at the Hobart Women's Shelter is $2.6 million and for the 18 at the Bethlehem House site, the cost is $2.1 million. For completeness, I am advised that there was also $331 000 spent on professional fees across both projects, no doubt for things like planning.

Mr WHITE - Also some architectural works, the design work for the pod pads themselves when they had to be engineered. We had structural steel works on the Bethlehem House site as well for walkways between the units.

Dr WOODRUFF - Are there ongoing costs to provide to Royal Wolf or were they purchased?

Mr WHITE - That is included in those numbers there. They are leased.

Dr WOODRUFF - Leased? This is over the forward Estimates? That is what it will be.

Mr WHITE - Through to June 2023 is the period represented by those numbers. There were costs when the program commenced through to June 2023 which is when the agreements expire.

Dr WOODRUFF - Okay, and is there a plan to extend it past then or to have a reinvestment?

Mr WHITE - We are still looking at that. As you would be aware, we are building a new Bethlehem House which will increase the capacity, so the need for that site to be continued on if you like, beyond that, I would suggest it won't be there. We will certainly be looking at the women and children's situation at the moment.