They just don’t care, says Hickey
TIME FOR ACTION
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.