Page 4816 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Tuesday, 30 March 2021
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:27): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Human Services. Can the minister advise the house how regional South Australia, in particular Port Pirie, will benefit from the government’s social housing plan? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain further.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: It has been brought to my attention that there are in excess of 250 people in Port Pirie and the close surrounding areas seeking emergency housing from the various NGOs operating around the area. With some of those people involved in many instances escaping from domestic violence, when they can’t get emergency housing or anything like that they are returning to the perpetrator.
The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government) (15:28): I thank the member for the question and I will certainly take on notice the detail specifically in relation to direct benefits to residents of Port Pirie, but we are very proud of a number of initiatives. One is the provision of something like 40-odd extra emergency houses, and a large number of those, from my recollection, were in regional areas, but again I will follow through with that. Currently, the government is building some 1,000 dwellings for the purpose of access to affordable accommodation.
All these things are critical in dealing with providing people with both emergency and permanent accommodation. Of course, during COVID we have had an active program in being able to provide accommodation for those who are street homeless to make sure that they had protection within the envelope of both trying to secure their own health and obviously in providing them with accommodation.
Some have been able to be transferred to more permanent accommodation. Some, of course, elect not to take up those placements. If one has an understanding of the profile of some of the extra needs of those who are homeless, sometimes that is difficult to be able to predict. Certainly it is not to impose on them an obligation for accommodation that’s offered. There has to be some avenue of choice there. I will make the inquiry with the minister and get back to the member in relation to that.
In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (30 March 2021).
The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government): The Minister for Human Services has provided the following advice: Homeless Connect SA is the main point of contact for people to seek information and gain access to homelessness and related services, including emergency accommodation. This is a statewide service available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
In 2019, the Marshall Liberal government released the state’s new $550 million housing, homelessness and support strategy, Our Housing Future 2020-2030. The strategy commits to a once-in-a-generation plan to modernise and reform the state’s housing system to meet the future needs and aspirations of South Australians, from homelessness, to social housing, to affordable housing, including in the regions.
South Australia’s Homelessness Alliances will be operating from 1 July 2021 and will better meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. The key aims of the alliances will be to intervene early to prevent people falling into homelessness; and support people into safe, stable and long-term housing so they do not cycle in and out of homelessness. Port Pirie will be part of the Country North Alliance, and the new domestic and family violence alliance will work together to support at-risk women and children.
The Marshall Liberal government is committed to improving our public housing assets. We are investing $75 million over 10 years to address the capital maintenance backlog and improve sustainability and energy efficiency of public housing properties across South Australia including regional areas. $12.6 million has already been spent, including $980,000 in regional areas.
Our Housing Future also outlines the delivery of more than 20,000 affordable housing outcomes over the next decade, which will reduce and prevent housing stress. This will provide low-income households across South Australia, including regional areas, the opportunity to move into homeownership. By boosting the supply of affordable housing, we are supporting local employment and economic growth in regional areas.
SA Housing Authority will continue to assess opportunities and work collectively with key agencies across Port Pirie and the wider Upper Spencer Gulf region to benefit local communities.