Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (19:39): I rise to speak in this place tonight about an all too common and growing
problem in my electorate on the New South Wales South Coast. Tonight, as we go home, hundreds of people
the elderly, the young, families and the vulnerable—will have nowhere to go. On the New South Wales South
Coast, we have the most dedicated workers and volunteers working with the homeless and with people at risk of
homelessness, trying desperately to help people find suitable housing. But when those dedicated people come to
me, collaborating together, and pleading for help, you know we are at crisis point.
As the federal member for Gilmore, I find it reprehensible and beyond belief that we are even in this position.
Eight long years of inaction by the Morrison government, and what does the government have to show for it?
Skyrocketing house prices pushing long-term tenants out of their rental properties with nowhere to go. Many of
these tenants are elderly or vulnerable and just cannot afford the exorbitant rent, making it difficult for young
people to find a place to call home.
The New South Wales South Coast has the lowest rental vacancy rates in Australia. Try and find a place to rent or
afford to buy. It's getting increasingly impossible, particularly for low-income earners, the unemployed and the
vulnerable. When I was elected to this place, I had high hopes that government would be able to change things.
Good governments bring in good policy, but this government has simply failed on the housing crisis on the
New South Wales South Coast. I want to share the thoughts of the Shoalhaven Homelessness Interagency, who
wrote to me recently: 'The strain on our services in being able to find alternative housing solutions is increasing
exponentially and is simply untenable. The chronic shortage of housing has been compounded by increasing
rents in the private rental market, the appallingly low rate of JobSeeker, which limits people's ability to access
housing, and, of course, a shortage of stock available through public and community housing services.' They
continue: 'As a forum, we support dozens people daily who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or living in
unsafe or insecure housing. There are undoubtedly many more who are not known to our service. Our interagency
works collaboratively to offer wraparound services for vulnerable clients. But, without affordable and available
housing, our clients remain in a cycle of preventable homelessness and require more intensive and longer-term
I have many people who contact my office desperate for help. One such case is a single mother from Ulladulla in
the 35 to 40 age bracket with young children. They have been experiencing homelessness since August last year.
Her private rental was sold, and they were unable to find any suitable and affordable rental properties through the
private rental market in the area that she and her kids know. While being on the approved list for priority social
housing, they were informed there was limited housing available in Ulladulla. This mum's temporary emergency
housing was also running out—22 days of temporary accommodation, moving around different motels every
three to four days and competing with tourists, which was difficult as well. I met with this brave mum and
her kids. She is brave. While I can't mention her name, she has a voice. Like so many in this position, they
are frightened to speak out. But she wants change. I wrote to the New South Wales minister for families and
communities seeking what support could be provided, and also with my concerns about the lack of affordable
and social housing, but the reply really just indicated further waits on the New South Wales housing register.
Everybody needs and deserves to have a roof over their head. Sometimes in life, things don't work out as we
planned. Things can change. As a government, we should be judged on how we treat our most vulnerable. Coastal
communities like mine are crying out for help.
Labour's Housing Australia Future Fund, announced by the Leader of the Opposition in the budget reply, is
welcome. This off-budget $10 billion fund will be invested, and the money it makes will build homes, create
jobs and change lives. In the first five years, it will build 20,000 social housing homes, and 4,000 of them will
be for women and children fleeing domestic violence. In the first five years, it will also build 10,000 affordable
homes for our frontline workers and homeless veterans. This is a future fund that will begin to give people in my
electorate more hope about the future. It's the sort of thing this tired, eight-year-old Liberal government should
do and could do, but never will