Pushing for our policies

Michelle Wisbey 2018, Child Protection, Cost of Living, Homelessness, Housing, News and Media, Uncategorized, Young People

It has been more than a week since the whirlwind that was the Tasmanian state election, and we want to take some time to review where we landed with our key election issues.

There were a lot of promises made in the lead up to the March election, and sometimes, it can be hard to keep up.

We worked hard to have poker machine reform as a prominent issue in the election campaign, and that work continues post-election as there are many steps ahead for the Hodgman government to attempt to implement their policy on pokies.

There were many other issues discussed during the election and you may also remember from SARC’s policy position papers that we were using this election to call for action on Tasmania’s housing affordability crisis and better resources, care and accommodation to help vulnerable young people.

And these are the two areas we want to review to see what promises were made.

Housing:

Housing has been a hot topic post-election, with re-elected Premier Will Hodgman announcing he will hold a housing affordability summit addressing the crisis.

But what really needs to be done to ensure all Tasmanians have a roof over their head?

Along with most Tasmanians, we don’t think it is good enough that families are sleeping in tents at the Hobart Showgrounds or that the state is thousands of houses short of accommodating all Tasmanians.

Affordable housing is the foundation for a good life – it leads to better access to education, transport, employment and health.

Over the past few years, Tasmania has benefited from a sharp increase in property sales, as well as the amount these properties are selling for.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania, 2017 brought with it an “unprecedented demand on a somewhat limited housing supply”.

“The successes of 2017 are undermined particularly in Southern Tasmania by a gaping shortage of property to meet current rental and buyer demand,” the Institute said.

Last year marked the highest number of housing sales in Tasmania for 10 years with 11,353 sales, bringing with it a windfall of stamp duty to the state government.

These unanticipated funds must be specifically earmarked to tackle the current crisis – because the number of people currently without stable accommodation is unacceptable.

It’s not something that any one solution can fix, but we need to start now.

This election, we called for:

  1. The government to urgently increase the level of investment in initiatives to quickly stimulate development of more affordable housing for rent and purchase.
  2. Affordable housing to be a specific priority of the current reforms to the Tasmanian planning scheme.
  3. The government to urgently increase investment in homelessness services.

What the Liberal Party has promised:

  1. $125 million for an affordable housing strategy to build 1500 new affordable homes
  2. Introduction of a foreign investor tax
  3. Stamp duty halved for first-home buyers purchasing homes for less than $400,000
  4. Purpose-built homes for those living with a disability

Care and accommodation for vulnerable children and young people:

All young people deserve the chance the live their best life, but right now in Tasmania, that is not the case.

It is not fair that each year hundreds of Tasmanian children, some as young as 10 years old, are presenting unaccompanied at homelessness services which are not equipped to fully meet their needs.

It is not fair that too many children must get themselves to school without lunch, without access to proper uniforms, without a parent to help with homework and having slept on a friend’s couch the night before.

It is not fair that our youngest citizens are not safe.

These is a lot more that we need to do to achieve our goal to ensure that not only the accommodation needs of vulnerable children and young people are accounted for, but more importantly, their care needs.

This election, we called for:

  1. The wellbeing of children and young people to be a priority, non-partisan issue.
  2. Existing specialist adolescent services should be expanded to provide a complete suite of drug and alcohol, mental health, education, trauma and medium and long-term supported accommodation services for teenagers.
  3. The government to develop good practice guidelines relevant to all service providers working with unaccompanied children under 16 years of age.

What the Liberal Party has promised:

Investment of an additional $16.7 million into Child Safety and Youth Justice for:

  1. Extending care to 21 years old
  2. Intensive family support
  3. Additional incentives for young people to complete year 12
  4. support for young mums and their babies

So, as we watch the re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government embark on its second term, we are eager to see these urgent issues addressed.

A lot of promises have been made over the last three months and there is a still a lot more to deliver.

It’s time Tasmania to make steps towards real change in these key policy areas, whether it’s affordable housing or vulnerable young people.

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