Mission Australia:

  • Says Federal Budget contains next to no new additional investment to seriously tackle Australia’s homelessness and housing emergency.
  • Says $500 million investment is needed in a new Homelessness Prevention Transformation Fund to complement social and affordable housing commitments and stop the flood of homelessness.
  • Welcomes funding to address youth homelessness, calls for Reconnect extension and expansion and more Youth Foyers.
  • Dismayed by the Government’s refusal to increase JobSeeker and adequately increase and review rental assistance, which will tip more people into poverty and homelessness.

Mission Australia Executive Ben Carblis said: “While the funding just announced by the Government to address homelessness and increase affordable housing is important, the 2024-25 Federal Budget leans towards relatively small-scale contributions and contains very little new investment to tackle Australia’s homelessness and housing emergency.

“We welcome some of the measures announced, including funding for crisis and transitional accommodation for young people and women and children escaping violence, and some extra investment in social and affordable housing. This will provide hope and security for each individual, family and young person who secures safe accommodation.

“However, while any additional funding is welcome, the Government's efforts lack the necessary scale to prevent homelessness in the first place, and to provide long-term relief to those without safe, secure and affordable homes. This is like bailing out a sinking boat with a bucket instead of repairing the leak.

“It's time the Government shifted from crisis solutions to prevention by investing in enough long-term social and affordable homes to meet the shortfall and by funding more homelessness prevention measures to stop the flood of homelessness in Australia.

“While we acknowledge the Government's intent to ease some of the pressures faced by those doing it tough, we’re dismayed by the lack of substantial increases to JobSeeker and other income support payments to help people weather rising rents and cost of living and avoid homelessness.

“Australia likes to pride itself on being a nation where everyone gets a fair go. But in our communities, not everyone has a safe and secure home or enough to live on. The Federal Government can afford to fix this – but they don’t seem to be making ending poverty and homelessness their top priority.

“As one of Australia’s largest community housing and community services providers, we stand ready to work with all levels of government to deliver housing and homelessness solutions and to end poverty, homelessness and disadvantage in Australia.”

Homelessness and housing

Mission Australia Executive, Ben Carblis said: “Mission Australia welcomes the Budget measures aimed at addressing homelessness and increasing social and affordable housing supply. However, we’re disappointed that the Government has taken a band-aid approach to a seriously strained homelessness service system. Wholesale reform and significant investment is desperately needed to prevent and end homelessness, yet there is little new funding included in the Budget announcements.

“We welcome the Federal Budget’s new investment of $1 billion for the States and Territories to build homes sooner, the additional concessional finance available to community housing providers and capacity building support for the social and affordable housing sector.

“The Budget’s $1 billion increase to the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), announced last year, is targeted towards crisis and transitional accommodation for young people, and women and children escaping violence. While this is not new funding, the investment will provide hope and security for each family and young person who secures safe accommodation and we’re pleased to see the focus on these groups.

“We also acknowledge the Government’s homelessness focus within the revamped five-year Federal-State housing agreement, now known as the National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness (NASHH). We’re pleased that efforts to support staff wages via indexation and Equal Remuneration Order payments will now be embedded in the Agreement. However, the $9.3 billion allocated essentially does not include any new money at a time when, every hour, 3,000 people in Australia are seeking help from homelessness services like those provided by Mission Australia.

“As an experienced homelessness services and community housing provider, we know these Budget actions and measures alone won’t end Australia’s housing and homelessness emergency.

“Australia’s housing system is broken and is the worst our frontline workers have seen.

"Almost one million new social and affordable homes will be needed over the next two decades to meet growing demand, yet existing government commitments across Australia and this year’s Federal Budget investment do not come close.

“In addition to more bricks-and-mortar investment, we also call for a new commitment to ending homelessness by preventing it happening in the first place.

“We call for investment in a new $500 million Homelessness Prevention Transformation Fund in the NASHH starting in July this year, so frontline staff can focus on helping people avoid homelessness and respond earlier with the right assistance and wrap-around supports that people need to stay housed and thrive.”

Mr Carblis continued: “To aid in better preventing youth homelessness, we call for the Federal Government to invest at least $100 million to extend the Reconnect program until 2029 and expand its geographic reach across Australia. As a provider of Reconnect, we know how well this program works to tackle youth homelessness. It provides crucial support to young people at risk of homelessness and is the only large-scale youth homelessness program in Australia focussed on preventing homelessness.

“We also call for investment of at least $184 million to build ten new 40-unit Youth Foyers in three years to meet the rising demand for Youth Foyers and provide vital housing, education and employment opportunities and help young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to thrive. Youth Foyers are a proven solution to combat youth homelessness and break cycles of disadvantage.”

This year, Mission Australia will open the charity’s first Youth Foyer in Townsville alongside the Queensland Government.

Cost-of-living measures and rental support

Mission Australia’s Executive, Ben Carblis said: “While cost-of-living measures announced in the Budget, including energy bill relief and a modest 10 per cent increase to rental subsidies, are a welcome acknowledgement that people are facing tough times, they won’t fix poverty or poverty-induced homelessness.

“We’re dismayed by the Federal Government’s continued refusal to increase income support payments like JobSeeker and to seriously review and reform rental assistance.

“Those who rely on the Government’s inadequate income support payments are living below the poverty line, when really, income support should be a safety net that stops people living in poverty. The Government is essentially condemning people and families to an ongoing struggle to make ends meet and keep a roof over their head.

“That’s why we urge the Federal Government to substantially increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance and lift income support payments to at least $80 a day to keep people who are in need out of poverty and help people in rental stress to avoid homelessness.”

Federal Pre-budget submission 2024-25

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