Question 1 - Housing Investment Fund
With regard to the $1 billion Housing Investment Fund, Budget Paper 2 states that this will come from government retaining approximately $1.8 billion from the transfer of the Titles Registry to support long-term government priorities, including this fund. How were the estimated returns of $40 million per year calculated?
Answer from the Under-Treasurer:
With the establishment of the fund there is an assumed rate of return we will get from the operation of the business, which is the principal investment in the fund. Out of that, there is allocation that will flow through to housing that will allow then for investment into housing stock. That has been part of the creation of the fund itself.
Are those assumptions publicly available?
Answer from the Under-Treasurer:
Relying on the operation and management of QIC in that instance, no, they are not.
Question 2 - Number of people in crisis accommodation
In light of recent reports that women and children fleeing domestic violence in Queensland have spent years in refuges and other crisis accommodation because of chronic shortages of secure long-term housing, can you tell us how many Queenslanders are in such situations?
Answer from Minister for Women:
I thank the member for the question. Clearly, we know that housing is one of the big challenges facing victims of domestic and family violence. Almost a quarter of Queenslanders who have sought housing assistance were escaping domestic and family violence. In this year’s budget, $160.9 million is being invested to provide housing, support and specialist homeless services to vulnerable people, including older women who are the fastest growing group of homeless people in this country.
Over the next four years, the government is providing $20 million to expand domestic and family violence support services and $20 million for homelessness initiatives, including through head leases, crisis housing and supports. I am very proud that our government, since coming into government in 2015, has funded seven new domestic and family violence shelters in Queensland. They are the first government-funded shelters in over 20 years.
I have been working very closely with Minister Enoch. We have convened a domestic and family violence housing group to address the need for housing pathways for the domestic and family violence sector. As you would know, the Queensland government established the $1 billion housing investment fund in this year’s budget, which is a long-term fund to drive new supply to support current and future housing needs. We have a range of programs underway in terms of delivering new social housing— flexible assistance packages to help people access safe housing and Helping Hand Headleases that help women and children who are displaced from their homes. We provide brokerage for domestic and family violence services to access home, safety and security upgrades and new technologies that support women’s safety plans and the affordable housing for women experiencing domestic and family violence initiative. This delivers flexible assistance to women and children by integrating rental housing assistance delivered through community housing providers and domestic and family violence specialist mobile support services.
Thank you, Minister. So no data on people who have been in long-term crisis accommodation, based on your answer?
In terms of Queenslanders facing homelessness or housing shortages, it is probably a question best directed to the Minister for Housing. In terms of the support that the Office for Women and Violence Prevention provides, we work very closely with housing. We are responsible for the policy and for refuges. As I have said, we have supported seven new refuges for women and children escaping violence. We have seen a huge increase, and it has been a dedicated strategy to increase the use of our ouster orders in domestic violence orders. They have increased from 34.5 per cent to over 50 per cent. Where it is safe to do so, it is much better for women and children to remain in the home. In this year’s budget we have delivered $155 million towards women in violence prevention, including $34.3 million in women’s shelters, mobile incentive-based support services.
Question 3 - Wait times in crisis accommodation
Can you tell me what is the average amount of time Queenslanders wait in crisis accommodation, both for domestic violence crisis accommodation and more general homelessness crisis accommodation, and how many people are in that accommodation beyond one month?
DG of Department of Housing:
From July 2020 to March 2021, 7,114 clients identified DFV as the main reason for seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services. In terms of the number who are waiting for assistance, across the housing service centres the service offer for people who are experiencing domestic and family violence means that they are prioritised for support and we have specialist response teams embedded within the housing service systems to make sure that people’s needs are met very quickly. The issue, I think, that was raised was in relation to refuges. We actually do not run the refuges. We have built the refuges, but when people come to us and we take referrals for women, and particularly women with children, experiencing domestic and family violence their needs are met immediately. They can be met with short-term solutions such as hotel accommodation or temporary unit accommodation until we can transition them into something longer term and more stable.
Just to clarify, the question was: what is the average wait time Queenslanders spend in crisis accommodation? But if you do not have that data available I can move on to another question.
DG of Department of Housing:
When people present with DFV, their needs are met and they can be met in a variety of ways. In terms of going into crisis accommodation, we wrap support services around people to make sure they can transition to something more stable as quickly as possible and we try and minimise the time that people spend either in crisis accommodation or indeed in refuges.