21 August 2013
I have written to the Federal Housing and Homelessness Minister, the Hon Julie Collins MP, and the Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, to call on both parties to commit to waiving Tasmania’s housing debt.
Many Tasmanians are in desperate need of affordable housing and the housing waiting lists are far too long.
Housing Tasmania simply doesn’t have the resources to meet demand and a big part of the problem is that so much of their money goes to servicing their $209m debt to the Federal Government.
For example, Tasmania receives $32m each year from the Federal Government. Of that, $16.8m is immediately returned as debt repayment.
This dire situation puts many Tasmanians in housing stress or at risk of homelessness.
Moreover the DisabilityCare rollout assumes that there is a ready stock of supported housing in Tasmania. There is not, and DisabilityCare doesn’t include cash for Housing Tasmania to acquire new stock.
Unless Canberra waives Tasmania’s housing debt there is a real risk many Tasmanians will not receive the full benefits of DisabilityCare because they don’t have access to appropriate housing. The rollout could be delayed as a result.
DisabilityCare is wonderful nation-changing reform and far too important to Tasmania to be allowed to run into trouble in this manner.
Canberra recently waived South Australia’s public housing debt so there’s no reason why the same benefit can’t be applied to Tasmania.