The Prime Minister and the Minister for Housing announced on 31 July 2009 the establishment of the Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness (the Council) to provide independent, strategic advice critical to the early years of implementing the White Paper on Homelessness.
The eight members, appointed for a two-year term, were selected to provide diverse backgrounds, views and experience across industry, not-for-profit and community sectors.
The Council met for the first time in Canberra on Friday 14 August 2009.
Under the leadership of the Chair, Mr Tony Nicholson, members discussed their priorities for the next twelve months, mapping out their forward work plan.
The Council will provide an independent overview of the White Paper goals and targets and will focus on matters critical to the success of the White Paper strategy including:
- A critical assessment of what is on the horizon;
- The implementation of prevention and early intervention measures under the National Affordable Housing Agreement, National Partnership Agreements and by Australian Government agencies;
- Measures aimed at fostering economic participation of people at risk;
- Strategies that will have the greatest impact on reducing the number of rough sleepers; and
- Where business and philanthropy can make the best contributions to progress the White Paper reform agenda.
At the meeting Minister Plibersek expressed her interest in the views of the members, highlighting the invaluable opportunity that the Council provided for members to have their opinions and advice heard by the Prime Minister.
She emphasised the favourable circumstances for reform, with an agreed strategy with the States and Territories and a very substantial investment in housing and homelessness from the Government.
The Minister advised that, using their networks, members should be keeping their ears to the ground to ensure the Government is on track with its reform in homelessness and to ensure both the Commonwealth and the States and Territories deliver on priorities.
The Council will meet regularly with an annual report provided to the Prime Minister on the Government's progress in implementing the White Paper on Homelessness.
The Council Secretariat is led by the Homelessness Branch, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and all matters relating to the Council or Council members should be directed to Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness Secretariat, FaHCSIA, PO Box 7576, Canberra Business Centre, ACT 2610, pmch email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ph: 02 6244 1460.