House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Questions without Notice

Housing Australia Future Fund, Veterans: Homelessness

2:31 pm

Photo of Luke GoslingLuke Gosling (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. What does the Albanese Labor government's Housing Australia Future Fund mean for Australian veterans?

Photo of Matt KeoghMatt Keogh (Burt, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Solomon for his important question and also acknowledge his commitment to his community across the Northern Territory—indeed, nationally—in supporting our veteran community across Australia, because combatting veteran homelessness is a key priority for the Albanese government when it comes to delivering on a better future for veterans and families in Australia.

Every year, about 6,000 of our contemporary veterans are at risk of homelessness. On census night, there were about 1,500 Australian veterans who found themselves homeless. Veterans are three times more likely to experience homelessness than the general population. Frankly, that's not good enough. We have an obligation to look after those who have put on our uniform to protect Australia.

Our government, in bringing forward the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, is setting aside, from that, $30 million to assist veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. This is fundamental for our veteran community. This will be helping those who might be encountering homelessness but also will be improving the wraparound services that will support veterans and families, when they need it, so that they can avoid becoming homeless as well.

We've committed, in the member for Solomon's electorate, to the Scott Palmer centre, which is a service that will support homeless veterans in the Northern Territory. But we need to do more at a national level. As the Leave no veteran behind report said, 'Doing nothing is just not an option.'

The Housing Australia Future Fund, though, will be the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing by a federal government in more than a decade. It will enable the $30 million of funding that we will be able to put towards supporting veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

There are amazing organisations across Australia doing that work now, and they want to be able to do more to support our veterans. I know the RAAF association in Western Australia are moving forward with their program and looking to government as to how they can receive more support.

I went with the member for Jagajaga, just the other week, to visit the V Centre being built in her electorate and to meet with Vasey RSL Care, to look at the work that they are doing in supporting veterans who need transitional housing. I thank her for having me for that visit.

Of course, I've been engaging with the member for Solomon and the work that he's doing with the CAV up there in Darwin to support the Scott Palmer centre, working with the Northern Territory, to make sure that we can bring this project to fruition.

We see the problem, we have a solution and we are now able to move forward, with the Housing Australia Future Fund being legislated through this parliament. Can I say: if any veteran needs support, I encourage them to contact Open Arms on 1800011046.