Thursday, 8 October 2020
Questions without Notice
Under this government, we took the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which began under the member for Sydney, as I recall—I was the shadow minister for housing at the time and I remember welcoming it and supporting it and commending the minister at the time. That program ran as a year-on-year program. It wasn't a national agreement that was a permanent arrangement. It was an outstanding program, and, when we came to government, we supported it fully. We increased it and we made it permanent. That is now a permanent feature on homelessness that we continue to run in partnership with the states and territories. When I was the social services minister, we made national priorities in that program that focused on women to ensure that the funding we had in the homelessness agreement actually focused on women, particularly those affected by domestic violence—I've already referred to other initiatives today that address that issue—but also young people, that's true. We're all concerned, I have no doubt, about the plight of homeless young people as much as we are about any other person who is homeless in this country.
It was also under our government, and indeed while I was Treasurer, when we established the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. That was an initiative that was done, again, together, as part of a partnership with the states and territories. The purpose of that was to establish funds that could support, in particular, community housing organisations that could provide affordable housing and other types of housing support in local communities.
In this budget we increase the amount that corporations can provide to assist those projects from $1 billion to $3 billion. It is an important initiative. I think we all agree that it's important—sorry, it is $2 billion to $3 billion. I think we all agree that we want to ensure that Australians don't sleep rough, particularly if they're in the most vulnerable of situations involving domestic violence, or find themselves couch surfing on suburban couches amongst friends because they can't go home—they have a home, but they know they can't go back, so we provide the support that we do, and we do it in partnership with the states and territories. We do, as a federal government, what we believe is an appropriate role of the federal government to provide, whether it's that direct community based program through the homelessness agreement set up originally by the member for Sydney or the credit initiatives that support local community based housing organisations across the country.