Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:45): Today I am calling on all members of parliament, in particular members of the coalition parties, to back my call to save the National Affordable Housing Agreement, because we know it is under threat. It can be saved if all members of parliament stand together and ensure that affordable housing still has a place in the national political agenda.
A few weeks ago, the Deputy Prime Minister of this country showed how out of touch he was with people struggling throughout regional Australia when he said that affordable housing is not a problem in regional Australia. Well, I can tell you it is. In fact, the degree to which he is out of touch was only surpassed by the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, who said that this was not an issue that people are thinking about throughout Australia.
Both of them should come to the Illawarra, where over 1,500 people are homeless on any night of the week. He should come and visit Julie Mitchell, who runs the Wollongong Homeless Hub, a place where they look after over 52,000 visitors over a three-year period, and they do a fantastic job. He should come and talk to Narelle Clay of Southern Youth and Family Services, who recently said:
Ending the NAHA would affect tens of thousands of children and young people who are homeless, tens of thousands of women escaping domestic violence, and tens of thousands of adults with mental health problems in our community.
He should listen to these people and do the right thing.