As Tasmania marks the start of Homelessness Week today, the state unfortunately continues to face an unprecedented housing crisis under a Liberal Government making a bare minimum effort to place roofs over heads.
Shadow Housing Minister Anita Dow said despite a stunning attempt at spin by failed Health Minister Michael Ferguson who has now been put in charge of housing Tasmanians, the true picture on homelessness remains stark.
“On the eve of Homelessness Week, Mr Ferguson has yet again tried to convince Tasmanians he is taking action when the fact is the Liberal Government has quite spectacularly failed to act over the past seven years,” Ms Dow said.
“There is no escaping the reality that Tasmania is in an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis because of that lack of action.
“In just the past few days, Mr Ferguson has released new data, including the social housing waiting list which on his watch has again blown out to 4,144 people.
“The amount of time even the most urgent of those families will have to wait for a home is one year and six weeks.
“The fact is those heartbreaking figures represent a 75 per cent blow-out since the Liberals came to government in 2014.
“The fact is when the Liberals assumed government more than seven years ago, the housing wait list was at a record low of 20 weeks.
“The fact is in the middle of another freezing winter, thousands of Tasmanian families are without adequate shelter, are relying on the kindness of family and friends and, in the worst cases, sleeping rough or sleeping in their cars.
“The fact is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that on any given night almost 240 Tasmanians are sleeping in crisis accommodation, 36 requests for urgent help are unable to be met and 410 Tasmanians have reported sleeping in rough in the past month.
“No matter how Mr Ferguson tries to spin the crisis, the facts remain and it is shameful that the government has not only allowed the situation to reach this point but is now attempting to tell Tasmanians it is serious about playing catch-up.”
Anita Dow MP
Shadow Housing Minister