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The Federal Government is abandoning good faith negotiations with Victoria over homelessness funding and risking the wellbeing of thousands of people facing homelessness, the Victorian Council of Social Service has warned.
Just days before state and territory ministers are due to meet with the Commonwealth in Canberra, Treasurer Scott Morrison has begun legislating to withhold homelessness and social housing funding unless the states agree to a separate series of reforms around land release and urban zoning.
“This belligerent move poisons the well of these negotiations,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“The Commonwealth is offering no new money to address our housing and homelessness crisis, and is instead holding social housing tenants and people facing homelessness to ransom.”
Ms King said homelessness services and social housing programs are already dramatically underfunded and would struggle with further cuts and uncertainty.
I’d encourage the Treasurer to come down to Bourke Street and tell a person sleeping rough that they’ll be getting less help, because the Commonwealth wants to micromanage state planning controls.”
She said the Commonwealth’s aggressive move is particularly galling as it has so much power to help.
“The two things that would help the most are a fairer tax system to assist those in social housing and more generous social security payments for those experiencing and at risk of slipping into homelessness.
“Unfortunately, the Treasurer isn’t talking about either of these measures.
“I’d encourage the Treasurer to come down to Bourke Street and tell a person sleeping rough that they’ll be getting less help, because the Commonwealth wants to micromanage state planning controls.”
Ms King is urging the Federal Government to abandon the Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017 in its current form, and resume negotiations with the states in good faith
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Emma King
please contact Ryan Sheales on 0418 127 153
Follow the conversation at www.twitter.com/vcoss