House debates

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

Statements by Members

Vinnies CEO Sleepout

1:44 pm

Photo of David SmithDavid Smith (Bean, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

After the parliament rises on Thursday, I will be taking part in my ninth St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleepout. My parliamentary colleague Andrew Leigh will also be taking part. As many of you would know, particularly from your experience today, Canberra winters can be harsh and cold, getting down to as low as minus-six degrees. I've been involved since some here were in short pants.

In the last census it was estimated that over 122,000 people in Australia were homeless, of which over 1,500 came from the ACT. By the very nature of this problem, though, the census can only estimate what is likely to be a much larger problem. Many of our fellow Australians are living in severely overcrowded dwellings or supported accommodation, and seven per cent of homeless people were rough sleeping, living in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out. So on Thursday, along with hundreds of other community leaders across Australia, I'll be taking part in the annual one-night sleep-out to raise money for Vinnies.

But these funds don't solve the housing affordability and supply issues now. There has been welcome news this week. An additional $2 billion is going into social housing now, with $50 million of that coming here to the ACT. This is in addition to historic improvements to rental assistance. But it beggars belief that, despite the current crisis, the Greens have collaborated with those opposite to block the Housing Affordability Future Fund. (Time expired)