Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 August 2021



1:46 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] This week is National Homelessness Week and our community here in Perth is in mourning. We are in mourning for the death of no less than 56 of our community's members who lost their life in the last year alone to homelessness on the streets of our city. Yesterday, there was a vigil held for those who have lost their lives. It was triggered by the death of Alana Garlett, a First Nations woman who died on 18 June after sleeping overnight outside the Wesley Church here in Perth. As one of the 56 members of our community who we have lost this year, her death triggered an outpouring of grief and a deep desire for action, driven by the knowledge that this housing and homelessness crisis that we are suffering through is disproportionately impacting First Nations people and that the average age of those 56 was just 47 years.

Here in WA, we have the wealth to solve this problem. There are tens of thousands of people on our public housing waiting list. Our state is about to register a $5 billion budget surplus. With that, the Labor and Liberal parties will have run out of excuses for inaction. Our community understands that the existence of homelessness is the result of political inaction. In the name of Alana Garlett, we demand that action now be taken. (Time expired)