The Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness held its thirteenth meeting in Canberra on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 February 2012 and was pleased to engage directly with the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, on homelessness progress and priorities. The Council welcomes the Government’s ongoing commitment to service integration and streamlining Commonwealth and state and territory delivery and systems to improve outcomes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Discussions with Mr Robert McClelland MP and The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister for Social Inclusion, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform were also productive.
Maintaining the focus on data and research to provide evidence-based advice
The Council spoke further about the importance of robust data at the state and territory level in accurately charting the progress and impact of programs and initiatives under the homelessness reform agenda. Consideration was given to existing service level data that indicates progress on targets, and the Council expressed their intention to collaborate with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) on a stocktake project which will incorporate 2011 Census and Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) data
Ensuring vulnerable people experiencing homelessness or at risk are supported to enjoy good health
Minister Butler heard from the Council on consultations on the Aged Care Viability Supplement and related matters for providers of services for individuals with complex needs and those who may have aged prematurely due to experiences of homelessness.
The Council noted the progress of the mental health reforms and plans to liaise further with relevant departments and the National Mental Health Commission to review the implementation of the reforms.
Addressing Indigenous homelessness
The Council worked further to refine consideration of Indigenous youth housing and homelessness matters ahead of a small delegation of members visiting Alice Springs. This consultation at service delivery level will inform future advice to Government.
National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards
Council members expressed their anticipation of the Awards event on 22 March celebrating the high quality and innovative work being undertaken across the sector.
The next meeting is scheduled for 21 and 22 May in Canberra.