On November 16, the Council of Australian Governments Select Council on Housing and Homelessness agreed that the ministers would commence negotiations for a new National Partnership on Homelessness, subject to their Cabinet processes. The ministers also agreed to work on a one-year transitional partnership agreement for 2013–14 while the new agreement was being negotiated. Read the COAG Select Council on Housing and Homelessness communiqué.
On 14 November 2012, the Commonwealth Government announced its commitment to provide half the funding for a new National Partnership on homelessness with the states and territories. The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor, stated that in a speech at the National Press Club that the federal government was committed to providing half the funding for the next financial year, while a new agreement with matched funding from the states and territories was being negotiated. The minister stated that the new agreement would based on principles of prevention, early intervention and breaking the cycle of homelessness, and would include tenancy advice and support. See the National Press Club speech detailing the announcement.
A report issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on November 12 has found that between census nights in 2006 and 2011, there was an increase in the homelessness rate by 8% across Australia. As at 2011, there were estimated to be 105,237 homeless people in Australia. Most of the increase in homelessness between 2006 and 2011 was attributable to people living in severely crowded dwellings: an increase of 31% for Australia. There was also a marked rise in the number of people living in crowded dwellings who may be at risk of homelessness: a 41% increase for Australia. Read the report.
A report released on 14 October 2012 by the Australian Council of Social Service to mark Anti-Poverty Week has found that in 2010, after taking account of housing costs, 12.8% of Australians live in poverty: that is, one in eight people were living at or below the poverty line in 2010. The ‘Poverty in Australia’ report found that the overall risk of poverty is higher in New South Wales and Tasmania than in the other states — this may reflect higher housing costs, weaker employment opportunities, and/or the different age profiles of different states. The report also found that the risk of poverty is generally greater outside capital cities (in part due to higher unemployment in regional Australia) — but there are exceptions in New South Wales and Western Australia (where very high housing costs in the capital cities have increased the risk of poverty). Read the ACOSS report.
On 24 September 2012, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare issued its latest report on data from specialist homelessness services. In the March quarter 2012, 18,594 people were accommodated by homelessness services across Australia on average every night, and domestic and family violence was the most common main reason for seeking assistance (in 24% of cases). Read the AIHW report.