The high cost of housing puts millions of Australians on a budget tightrope that can break easily, the Australian Greens warned today.
"Last night's Four Corners showed cases in which the fall from relative stability to deep poverty happened with shocking speed. ACOSS have demonstrated that the crisis is overwhelming the ability of agencies and service providers to respond," said Australian Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.
"This is why we launched ‘Leaving No One Behind,' a costed action plan to tackle the homelessness crisis and properly fund services. This package would provide a roof over the head of Australia's 7000 rough sleepers, and double funding to specialist homelessness services.
"In Western Australia, the rate of homelessness is 33 per cent worse than the state with the lowest homelessness rate. And one in every ten homeless person in Western Australia is sleeping rough - the worst rate in Australia."
Greens spokesperson for family and community services Senator Rachel Siewert said "The old parties need to match the lead of the Australian Greens and commit to increasing Newstart by $50 per week and an additional $40 on top of that for single parents".
"I introduced legislation in February to increase Newstart and then followed it up with legislation to help single parents in March. The Greens' bills are independently costed and reflect the strong advice of the community sector, economists and business leaders.
"The terribly sad stories we saw on Four Corners last night just scratch the surface of the reality of life on Newstart. Australians are not prepared to sit by while more than 600,000 of their friends, family members, colleagues or neighbours struggle below the poverty line. Anyone can find themselves out of work," Senator Siewert said.
"While the old parties have turned their backs, the Greens are continuing to stand up for vulnerable people across the country," Senator Ludlam concluded.
SENATOR RACHEL SIEWERT'S NEWSTART INITIATIVE: www.rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/newstart
SENATOR SCOTT LUDLAM'S HOMELESSNESS INITIATIVE: www.scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/homeless