Shelter Tas, TasCOSS and a range of community sector organisation representatives put a strong voice on the floor of the Housing Summit last Thursday. Our sector was well represented and put forward a number of options that are evidence based. We will ensure Tasmania does not make knee jerk reactions that may result in short term solutions and further disadvantage people in the longer term.
The Tasmanian community sector knows better than anyone the day to day challenges people face with a lack of affordable housing and appropriate support. This is an issue that our sector has worked hard to keep as a high priority for funding over many years. The Summit was the first step in strong and open dialogue with the State Government to ensure the needs of those facing housing stress and potential homelessness are front and centre.
Over the next fortnight a comprehensive analysis of possible short-term solutions, which were tabled at the Summit, will be compiled by Government. This will capture the best ideas and look at ways they can be implemented quickly. The Government recognised arguments from the sector and the importance of ensuring they do not unintentionally create situations of high risk or entrenched disadvantage.
As peak bodies we lobbied hard to ensure that existing professional housing and homelessness services provided by the community sector are utilised and expanded rather than creating any new, short-term solutions that sit outside the existing service model. This is critical to ensure the protection of consumers who are vulnerable to responses that may not align with evidence-based and experienced practice, while still ensuring innovative ideas are considered.
However, for long-term solutions there needs to be an increase in new housing supply to meet the diverse range of needs. The Government has agreed to work with Shelter Tas, TasCOSS, the Master Builders and the HIA in an overarching governance group to ensure that short, medium and long term housing solutions can be addressed with the specialist knowledge of these peaks and their membership. This will also ensure the momentum from the Summit is not lost. Moreover, it will mean that we take a strategic, whole-of-system approach that integrates forward planning for housing with the other key portfolio areas.
In addition, the Summit provided an opportunity for us to put pressure on the Government to make relevant and up to date data available to inform decision-making now and into the future.
The Summit reinforced the commitment of the Premier and Treasurer to make housing a high priority for the next four years. We welcome this commitment.
We will continue to keep you up to date as this progresses.
Further information about the Summit:
- Tasmanian Government Communique
- Housing Summit Attendee Input – Shelter Tas
- Housing Summit Attendee Input – TasCOSS
- Shelter Tas Media Statement 20th March 2018
- Shelter Tas Budget Submission 2018-19
- Homelessness in Tasmania fact sheet 2018
- Social Housing overview
Photo credit: Bystander Photography & Design