They just don’t care, says Hickey

TIME FOR AC­TION

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - EMILY BAKER and JAMES KITTO

SPEAKER Sue Hickey says she does not be­lieve the Gov­ern­ment “gives a sh.t” about help­ing home­less peo­ple af­ter she was not al­lowed to present a pro­posed short-term hous­ing so­lu­tion to Cab­i­net that could have fam­i­lies placed in ship­ping con­tain­ers on pub­lic land.

How­ever, a Gov­ern­ment spokesman said they were still look­ing at Ms Hickey’s de­tailed pro­posal, which would also see an emer­gency hous­ing task­force cre­ated.

Ms Hickey met Gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week to put for­ward her pro­posal for the task­force, which would be charged with co-or­di­nat­ing a re­sponse to the emer­gency hous­ing needs of the com­mu­nity.

She has sug­gested a vil­lage of con­verted ship­ping con­tain­ers could be placed on pub­lic land — such as at Mac­quarie Point, the Re­gatta Ground or the Do­main — and ac­com­pa­nied by a play­ground, gar­den and sup­port worker.

But when Ms Hickey asked if she could present it to Cab­i­net, she was knocked back.

“I don’t be­lieve the Gov­ern­ment gives a sh.t about home­less peo­ple and, quite frankly, I am sick and tired of their bel­liger­ence on this is­sue and also the dire state of our health sec­tor,” Ms Hickey said.

“There have been count­less hous­ing re­ports, but noth­ing real is be­ing done. First it was homes be­ing built and now it’s blocks of land and homes.

“This needs to be a tri­par­ti­san is­sue as peo­ple’s lives and those of their chil­dren are at stake. The time for petty pol­i­tics has passed.”

But Hous­ing Min­is­ter Roger Jaensch said through a spokesman: “The Speaker has pre­sented a pro­posal to Gov­ern­ment in re­cent days which we are ac­tively con­sid­er­ing”.

Ms Hickey said she had de­clined a meet­ing with the Hous­ing Min­is­ter early yes­ter­day.

But Mr Jaensch last night said he and Ms Hickey had ac­tu­ally “met with hous­ing stake­hold­ers to­day”.

“The meet­ing was con­struc­tive and can­vassed a range of po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties for ser­vices to Tas­ma­ni­ans ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hous­ing stress which the Gov­ern­ment will also con­sider closely,” Mr Jaensch said.

Ms Hickey’s pro­posed so­lu­tion came as Ho­bart fig­ures called for a col­lab­o­ra­tive task­force to deal with the city’s home­less­ness cri­sis.

Ho­bart City Mis­sion CEO John Stub­ley said too many so­lu­tions were be­ing floated which was do­ing more harm than good.

“I’m a bit con­cerned that the ideas com­ing in are all a bit frag­mented,” Mr Stub­ley said.

“My view is that when coun­cils be­come in­volved, too many con­ver­sa­tions are be­ing had which makes every­thing a bit dis­con­nected.”

TasCOSS chief ex­ec­u­tive Kym Goodes said: “The hous­ing cri­sis re­quires lead­er­ship and a strate­gic ap­proach that moves beyond the cur­rent ‘busi­ness as usual’ op­tions and ini­tia­tives.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has op­tions and could make dif­fer­ent choices to ad­dress this is­sue as a mat­ter of im­por­tance.”

Ho­bart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds agreed and pointed to the City of Ade­laide’s col­lab­o­ra­tive push to erad­i­cate home­less­ness by 2020 as an ex­am­ple to fol­low.

Cr Reynolds, who will hold a home­less­ness fo­rum next week, said Ho­bart char­i­ties were best qual­i­fied to of­fer so­lu­tions about the home­less­ness is­sue.

“I think we need to lis­ten to, and take the lead from the folks that deal with this ev­ery day,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.