New data exposes Scott Morrison’s cuts to social housing and homelessness

No wonder there are more homeless Aussies today than ever before.

Data released today by Homelessness Australia at the start of Homelessness Week shows that Federal Government investment in social housing and homelessness has dropped dramatically.

In 2013, when Labor left office, the Federal Government committed $2 billion a year for social and Indigenous housing and homelessness.

Adjusted for inflation and population growth that is about $2.7 billion today.

This financial year the Morrison Government has only budgeted to spend $1.6 billion.

That is a massive cut.

We have a housing crisis in Australia.

It’s harder to buy a home today than ever before. It’s harder to rent than ever before. And there are more homeless Australians than ever before.

The biggest group of homeless Australians are women and children – a lot of them fleeing domestic violence, and last year 10,000 were turned away from refuges because there wasn’t a bed.

The fastest growing group of homeless Australians are older women aged 55 and over.

And one in ten people sleeping rough in Sydney is a veteran. Someone we trained, set off to war, and now we have forgotten.

The Morrison Government has turned its back on our most vulnerable Australians.

The Minister for Homelessness Michael Sukkar barely even talks about homelessness, let alone fund it.

He has now been Minister for Homelessness for 223 days and has only publicly mentioned it on six days.

And when he does speak about it he says it’s not the Federal Government’s responsibility to fund social housing and reduce homelessness – it’s the States.

That’s just plain wrong. It’s all our responsibility, and if Labor wins the next election we will act where this Government won’t.

We will establish the Housing Australia Future Fund to build social and affordable housing and help reduce homelessness across Australia.

Over the first five years it will:

• Build 20,000 new social housing properties, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness;

• Build 10,000 affordable homes for the heroes of the pandemic – frontline workers like police, nurses and cleaners that are keeping us safe;

• Provide $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities, where some of the worst housing standards in the world are endured by our First Nations people;

• Invest $100 million in crisis and transitional housing for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness; and

• Invest $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

After the first five years, a portion of the investment returns will be available to fund acute housing needs each year, in perpetuity. This funding will be used for additional crisis housing, transitional housing and long-term social housing in parts of the country with the greatest need.