National Homelessness Week

2 Aug | '2022

I thank the member for Macnamara for giving me another opportunity to speak on this topic that I’m so passionate about—homelessness—which absolutely affects my Gold Coast community. In fact, I just came back from returning to the Gold Coast on the weekend for a homelessness fundraiser for the St Johns Crisis Centre based in Surfers Paradise. They look after those in our city who are in crisis—those single mums and children who are living in cars in my community. In Homelessness Week, my thoughts go out to those who are living in that crisis situation. I thank St Johns Crisis Centre for the $200,000-odd that we raised on Saturday at the Gold Coast Turf Club. Also, a couple of months ago my community came together in the Gold Coast CEO sleepout, and we raised $630,000 for our local community on the Gold Coast for those living in the crisis conditions of homelessness.

What members haven’t done in this debate today is ask: why? Why does the Gold Coast community have to come together to raise funds for homelessness in Queensland? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the Labor Palaszczuk government haven’t delivered what they should be delivering for homelessness in Queensland. There are 50,000 people on the homelessness register in Queensland, and it is a disgrace. I’m on record asking the Auditor-General what Queensland have done with the $335-odd million that our federal government, under Scott Morrison, delivered to Queensland last year for social housing. Palaszczuk herself has actually been in the paper admitting that the Queensland government have spent only $200 million out of the $2 billion worth of funding that they have in their budget for social housing. Yet the member for Surfers Paradise, my state member, tells me that there is only one room in Surfers Paradise for those people needing social housing. So we have a situation on the Gold Coast where St John’s Crisis Centre in Surfer’s Paradise, St Vincent de Paul—known as Vinnies—and Rotary International clubs, including my local Rotary club, are raising funds to help the homeless in our city because the state government, the Labor Palaszczuk government, are not doing what they need to be doing to deliver social and affordable housing to the good people of the Gold Coast. It is simply not good enough.

We need to do more about homelessness, and I’m hoping—actually, it is a bit of an ironic situation when we’ve got interest rates skyrocketing and inflation out of control—that we might actually see Gold Coasters start to open some of the second or third rooms in their homes to those people who can’t afford to live in our city anymore because of this situation of unaffordable housing. I’m hoping that in the short term this will be the solution. It’s certainly not the Albanese government that is racing to the aid of those who find themselves in this position of homelessness. As to what the state Labor governments are doing, we’ve heard from Queensland federal members talking about what’s happening in Queensland, but we’ve also heard from Victorian members. Notably, both states are under Labor governments that haven’t done their job when it comes to delivering for homelessness and delivering affordable social housing for those members of our community who need extra help. It’s not good enough, and the state governments absolutely need to lift their game to help those in our community, especially on the Gold Coast, who find themselves living in their cars or who find themselves living on the streets in Southport.

Further to that, I will add that my local council, to their credit—including Councillor Brooke Patterson, to her credit—have actually established two local council officers to go around and help the homeless people living to our city in Southport and also in Surfers Paradise, where Councillor Darren Taylor is also doing a great job in trying to help individuals who find themselves in that position—one by one helping them out with wraparound services like St John’s Crisis Centre, the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth and Vinnies, who are assisting in this space. I thank, lastly, members of my community who put the money on the table to help the most vulnerable living on the Gold Coast, who need a hand up.

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