Home Energy Saver Scheme commences

For four years from July 1, the Home Energy Saver Scheme will be providing advice and support on reducing energy costs for low-income households. The scheme covers information, advice, advocacy and support on energy efficiency, as well as referrals to the No Interest Loans Scheme, and it will be delivered by not-for-profit organisations that provide financial counselling services. It is part of the Commonwealth Government’s climate change plan, Securing a Clean Energy Future. Read more details.

Commonwealth Government releases response to homelessness legislation inquiry report

On June 20, the Commonwealth Government released its response to Housing the homeless — the report on the inquiry into homelessness legislation by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth which was tabled in 2009. In the response, the government stated that it agrees ‘in principle’ with committing to an adequate supply of appropriate accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness; however, it noted that state and territory government policies strongly influence the availability of affordable housing. See the government’s response to Housing the homeless.

Exposure draft of Commonwealth Homelessness Bill released

The Commonwealth Government released an exposure draft of a Homelessness Bill 2012 on June 5, and is seeking feedback by August 3. The draft legislation sets out a definition of homelessness, service delivery outcomes and strategies to reduce homelessness. It also specifies that the Commonwealth’s ‘aspiration’ is that all Australians have access to adequate housing. Increasing the supply of affordable housing is listed as one of the strategies to reduce homelessness. The proposed legislation will replace the Commonwealth Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994. Read the exposure draft of the Homelessness Bill.

Mental health funding includes focus on housing

On April 13, the Council of Australian Governments released a National Partnership Agreement Supporting National Mental Health Reform, which includes funding to improve housing outcomes for people with severe mental health issues. See the National Partnership Agreement Supporting National Mental Health Reform.

Report on mid-term review of homelessness national partnership released

On April 13, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) released a revised National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness which contained performance indicators which had been amended following a mid-term review of the agreement. See the revised National Partnership on Homelessness. The review found that there was some evidence of progress towards agreement’s outcomes, however there was insufficient evidence to assess whether the agreement’s targets will be met. See the report on the review of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.