National Housing and Homelessness Agreement

The Community Affairs Legislation Committee estimate hearings 2020-21 on 29 October heard from Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Social Services Minister on homelessness and affordable housing and the role the Commonwealth played in supporting the states and territories to respond to homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Topics discussed included the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement; Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) supplementation; data on international students accessing homelessness services; social housing; reporting on homelessness during the pandemic; vacant housing stock; housing first policy; the safe places program and the provision of grants.

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston | Source: Senator Anne Ruston Facebook

Commonwealth Modelling

The Senator was asked on what modelling the Commonwealth has done in relation to the likely increased demand for homelessness services and the Minister said that this was a State responsibility. The Minister raised concerns that the Commonwealth does not have COVID-19 data from the states and would welcome this information being provided.

Equal Remuneration Order

In relation to the ERO the Minister stated that she hasn’t received representation from state based homelessness providers and that this issue hasn’t been raised with her by the states and Territories. Shelter WA in partnership with a number of providers has written to all WA federal members of parliament, along with Minister Ruston, Minister Sukkar and the Treasurer raising this issue and we look forward to a response.

A transcript can be found (from page 43 onwards) here.