Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Home Ownership

1:36 pm

Photo of Marielle SmithMarielle Smith (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On any given night in Australia, there are 116,000 people experiencing homelessness. According to the 2016 census, in my home state of South Australia there were more than 6,000 people experiencing homelessness every single day. Too many of those experiencing homelessness are young people and children. Homelessness is more than rough sleeping, and it's not always long term. But we know even short periods of homelessness can have long-term impacts on health, education and employment outcomes, and we also know that homelessness can happen to any of us. It can be unexpected—when a lease expires, when a relationship breaks down, when employment unexpectedly ends. And we also know the fastest-growing cohort of people experiencing homelessness are middle-aged women, who often have little to no economic safety net in terms of their superannuation and employment.

This week is national Homelessness Week, and the theme is To End Homelessness We Need a Plan—and a plan the Albanese government has. I am deeply proud to be a part of the government that will establish a national housing and homelessness plan and that will establish a national housing supply and affordability council to ensure the Commonwealth plays a leadership role in increasing housing supply and improving housing affordability. We are building 4,000 new social housing properties, specifically allocated for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, and we're investing $100 million in crisis and transitional housing options for women and children. We won't fix homelessness overnight, but the size of the task should never deter us from the urgency of action.

I want to acknowledge all those organisations in my community working every day to support those experiencing homelessness, not just in Adelaide but in our rural and regional areas, where we know this issue is so significant too. Thank you for the work you do each and every day.