Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Investment in social and public housing should be a no-brainer, particularly at this time. It is good for the economy as a stimulus, it is good for jobs, and it is really good for the people who need affordable housing and for people who are homeless.
I'm on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry into homelessness. I'm really pleased that the Youth2 Alliance from Frankston and Mornington Peninsula have made a submission, because we have a real issue with youth homelessness and the lack of crisis accommodation for young people who are homeless. It is federal Labor's policy to invest in social and public housing and to fix up the state of public housing across the country. The Victorian state Labor government has announced an amazing $5.3 billion for public and social housing in our state. So, along with Youth2 Alliance, I will be fighting for some of that money to be delivered in our community, particularly for our young people who need it. But we've heard nothing from the federal government about any intention to invest more in social and public housing, and it's really not good enough.
As the Youth2 Alliance have told the House of Representatives social policy committee, we need locality based and coordinated options for young people: early intervention, access to emergency responses and transition out of homelessness pathways. Unfortunately, we don't have that at the moment at a level that is necessary in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region. We'll keep fighting for it, because we know that nine out of 10 of homeless young people report that they've seen violence at home, more than half of them have left home on one occasion because of violence between parents or guardians, and 41 per cent of young people who participated in a recent survey presented alone to specialist homelessness services because of a mental health issue. We have to do more for young people in Australia now and for their futures.
In my region, the number of young people turning up to specialist homelessness services for help has increased by more than 50 per cent during the COVID period. Housing is seriously unaffordable. We know that Australia has a shortfall of about 300,000 social and public rentals in Australia. In Victoria, the waitlist is about 83,000. We must do more. The Victorian state Labor government is doing more. Federal Labor is committed to doing more there. There are amazing homelessness services and advocates across the country who are committed to doing more. We need the federal government to do more. I urge them to look at the recommendations in the Youth2 Alliance submission to social policy committee inquiry and to adopt them. We need the national cabinet to push for social housing funding to not just be a state matter but also a federal matter. (Time expired)