Last week’s Tasmanian Budget contained some welcome funding. Alongside long overdue spending for education and youth, there’s important funding for legal aid services and mental health. As the Tasmanian Council for Social Services says, there are ‘green shoots of change in this budget’ showing the Government is beginning to listen to the community.
But all that’s cold comfort for the thousands of Tasmanians looking for a home, like the woman who approached my office recently who’s been on the housing waitlist for four years and currently living on her parents’ couch – with her five kids. Or the constituent removed from her housing property in January due to safety fears after a violent ex-partner found her location, who hasn’t been rehoused and is still living in a hotel with her two young kids nine months later. Unbelievably these people have been forgotten in this State Budget.
Tasmania’s public housing waitlist is predicted to exceed 5,000 in the next year, the appalling result of under-investment by multiple governments. Moreover affordable rentals are rarer than hens’ teeth. So while yes the State Government has shown it can listen on some issues, it’s not the case when it comes to housing where the problem goes from bad to worse. And clearly that’s not good enough. It’s as simple as that.