09 August 2023

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (19:35): This week is Homelessness Week. In the 2021 census there were more than 122,000 homeless people in Australia. Alarmingly, 23 per cent were children and young people. We know that over 16,000 First Nations women and girls were seeking housing help each month, and women aged 45 years and over are the fastest-growing cohort of homeless Australians. Think about that. A few years ago we were talking about women aged 55 years and older. This statistic is moving in it the wrong direction. There is a significant gap in wealth accumulation between men and women across their lifetimes.

Feminised poverty is an issue that calls for innovative solutions. During Homelessness Week, particularly, you must remember who these numbers represent. They are people. We must continue to humanise these numbers so we are reminded of the true cost of housing insecurity. I commend the many dedicated community housing and service providers across Blair. On Friday they will be holding a Homelessness Week Q&A at the Riverview and District Community Centre. I particularly commend Ipswich Community Youth Service, Hannah's House, St Vinnies, IRASI and so many more.

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set out reforms needed to improve outcomes from homelessness and rental stress to home ownership. It will be a shared vision on tackling our housing challenges across levels of government. Housing is a big issue in Blair, discussed across kitchen tables, in pubs and clubs and workplaces. If you listen to those opposite, particularly the Greens political party, you would think they were the only ones concerned about the issue. Let me tell you, on this side of the chamber it's a high priority for us. The Housing Australia Future Fund is a key part of this government's ambitious agenda to improve housing outcomes and reduce housing insecurity in Australia.

The Housing Australia Future Fund Bill be the largest single Commonwealth investment in affordable and social housing in more than a decade. It will help tens of thousands of Australians in desperate need of the housing security they need to build a better life and realise their full potential. The fund will deliver 30,000 new social and affordable dwellings for those in need, with 4,000 of those homes reserved for women impacted by domestic violence and older women at risk of homelessness. This afternoon I met in my office with Jackson Hills from Q Shelter, who implored me to get this bill passed. I assured him the Albanese Labor government is in lockstep with Q Shelter.

We know that safe, secure and affordable housing is one of the biggest issues for all Australians, especially in my home city of Ipswich, where 17 many people are moving in every day. This is the fastest-growing region in South-East Queensland. The population is set to more than double in the next 20 years. The HAFF will help tens of thousands of people, including people in Ipswich, to a better life through addressing the housing insecurity. Labor inherited housing and homelessness challenges after a decade of little action from those opposite, but it can't be fixed overnight. We are working every day to invest billions of dollars to help Australians. The HAFF will guarantee a minimum investment of $500 million each year. But that's not all: over time the HAFF will attract additional investment funds, and the fund will build. The Greens in particular have not understood this and refuse to accept the fiscal sense of augmenting the public's investment.

Let's not stop there. The Housing Australia Future Fund is just one of the measures we are progressing. The Albanese Labor government has announced a new $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator to deliver thousands of new social homes across Australia. Of that, $398 million will be in Queensland. With the Palaszczuk government's partnership, this will be a $720 million investment in social housing over the next two years. The National Housing Accord will include federal funding to deliver 10,000 affordable homes over five years from 2024 to match up to another 10,000 by the states and territories. We are providing an additional $2 billion in financing for community housing providers for more social and affordable rental housing to the National Housing Finance and Investments Corporation. We have already unlocked $575 million for the National Housing Infrastructure Facility for social and affordable homes and we are delivering a $1.7 billion one-year extension of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement with states and territories. We provided a $67.5 million one-off homelessness boost for the states and territories.

I call on those opposite in the Greens political party to stop posturing, stop being pompous, stop posing and pass this bill. They need to do the right thing for housing security in this country to help people in need and stop parading in this parliament in the way they do.