You are here

Women – Women’s Housing

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Tags: Women, Housing, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I noted your statement about collaboration with other ministers on portfolio areas, and how you had worked on the Housing strategy with the minister for Housing, or there’d been collaboration between you and the minister for Housing. Do you have a line of sight for turn-aways of women and children from shelters? Is that something you might be able to -

Ms PALMER - No, I do not believe I have that information.

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay. Aside from the three extra units at the Annie Kenney women's shelter that have been funded in this Budget, were there any new crisis accommodation or housing options funded specifically for women this year, or in the forward Estimates, that you can identify, that have not been announced or funded last year?

Ms PALMER - Yes, there has been a new initiative for the Hobart Women's Shelter. Ms Hurworth, can you expand on that?

Ms O'CONNOR - Is that new money?

Ms HURWORTH - Through you, minister, yes it is. It is additional funding over the forwards for the Hobart Women's Shelter.

Ms O'BYRNE - For space?

Ms HURWORTH - For space, and it was the line item in this year's Budget.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, it is for a new build up the back.

Ms O'BYRNE - But it is not added in that, because some of the pods are uninhabitable because of mould, aren't they?

Ms HURWORTH - It is getting rid of the pods and building new -

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, your 2023 Gender Budget Snapshot notes that in Tasmania, women represent the majority of clients for specialist homelessness services. People on the wait list for social housing experienced a large increase in the rates of homelessness between 2016 and 2021 - a 50 per cent increase in homelessness rates. As Minister for Women, are you working with the minister for Housing or Homes Tasmania to address this issue? Also, if more women are more likely to seek housing support, why haven't we seen more women-specific housing responses in the Budget?

Ms PALMER - Yes, I have been working with my colleague, Mr Barnett. When I first became the Minister for Women, I met with the former minister for the prevention of family violence, Jacquie Petrusma, and minister Barnett. We held a round table with some stakeholders, because we know that when it comes to homelessness and its impacts, women are overrepresented in those statistics. We had to have a wholistic look at that. Following that meeting we have asked Shelter Tasmania to do a body of work. They have been funded $50 000 to do that work examining the particular needs of women, identifying any specific issues and inequalities faced by them in seeking safe, secure and affordable housing. I believe that report is imminent. It will go to the Minister for Housing initially but I'm very much looking forward to that.

Another area the report will look at is the particular issue of women over 55 who find themselves facing homelessness. That's going to be a substantial and amazing body of work.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, minister. It is good to hear you had a roundtable with Mr Barnett and Mrs Petrusma, who was an excellent minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and other things. The data tells us that women and children are highly vulnerable in an overheated housing market like this. There's one commitment to the Hobart Women's Shelter and there's $50 000 to Shelter. When the report comes to you as minister, should we expect to see concrete actions for women's housing in next year's Budget?

Ms PALMER - The reason the Minister for Housing has asked for this body of work to be done is to influence the strategies and how we are looking at the situation of the overrepresentation of women. That's why we want this body of work so that we can be more informed through Shelter Tasmania's report around that. We certainly look forward to receiving that.