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Members Statement: COVID-19

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): I rise to speak on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all in this together, and so I urge the government to put in place urgent measures to care for people experiencing homelessness. People experiencing homelessness are not only sleeping rough but are in unsecure and/or overcrowded, substandard accommodation, making it near impossible to practise social isolation or quarantine themselves if need be. They are also more likely to have additional health conditions that could exacerbate the impact of the illness.

The government must immediately make available self-contained accommodation to every person experiencing homelessness, using the now excess capacity in our hotels and motels. This would minimise the risk of infection and make it easier for people’s health to be monitored. The government must also ensure that no people are made homeless because of this crisis by putting a moratorium on rental evictions. So many people with insecure income—people who are working casually in hospitality or retail, or artists—are renters, and they are at risk. Their housing stability must be guaranteed. Similarly, a moratorium must be put on the disconnection of essential utilities: electricity, gas, water, phone and internet.