Members Statement: Homelessness

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — Today was another freezing morning. In fact it has been one of the coldest starts to Melbourne's winter in 36 years. I want to take up one of the boldest ideas that came from the audience at my recent Homelessness Action forum. I call on the government to provide immediate relief to every person sleeping rough in Melbourne this winter. If New Zealand can do it, we can do it for three months during one of Melbourne's coldest winters.

I want to thank everyone who turned out to the forum. It was a big turnout that really showed that our community cares, sees the rise in homelessness and wants to take action. We heard from experts and from people who have experienced homelessness: Maurya Bourandanis from Voices of the South Side, Lucy Adams from Justice Connect, Cr Kat Copsey from the City of Port Phillip and Dr Sam Ratnam, the Leader of the Victorian Greens. We heard a range of solutions from prevention to building more social housing — not selling it off, as the minister wants to do — and making sure that we have support services to meet people's needs. Of course we also heard about the power of community — making sure we see people who are experiencing homelessness as part of our community, not separate from our community, and making sure we build those important connections to support each other.