Homeless to be hit by Commonwealth legislation

WA people experiencing homelessness could be hit hard by federal legislation tabled today.  

A Federal Government Bill, implementing the Commonwealth’s Budget decision to integrate homelessness and social housing funding, from two previously Commonwealth-State agreements, into a single agreement from July 2018 was tabled today.

The Bill, entitled the Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017, sets up the replacement framework for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) (homelessness funding) and the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) (social housing and homelessness funding).

It details that all Australian jurisdictions will be required to enter into a common primary housing agreement (NHHA), and State-by-State supplementary housing agreement with the Commonwealth to receive funding.

It essentially enables the Commonwealth to impose requirements, on the use of funds from any future housing and homelessness agreement, and enables them to withhold funding subject to the delivery of outcomes related to reducing homelessness and increasing social housing.

Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said that although greater accountability of spending is important, it is critical that there is not a reduction in essential funding for homelessness services.

“The Agreement should guard against any shift in resources from the essential services to other purposes.” Mr Hall said.

“This would disadvantage those most vulnerable in our community. Services cannot and should not be diminished.”

“It is vital that the new Agreement expands and improves social housing for people on low incomes and people experiencing homelessness.

Shelter WA is also disappointed the Commonwealth did not think to consult with our sector before the Bill was tabled.

“Shelter WA is concerned that the Commonwealth did not consult with those impacted by the outcomes of any change to funding.”

Media Contact

Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman (08) 9325 6660 or 0408 426 263 or email: comms@shelterwa.org.au