The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will call on the State Government to reinstate round-the-clock support and security at its Goulburn Street Supported Accommodation Facility.


The State Government’s attempt to bury the Common Ground housing model aimed at ending long-term homelessness failed last night when the Hobart City Council voted down its motion for change of use.


“Just when you thought Hobart’s housing crisis couldn’t get any worse, the State Government tried to finish off Common Ground,” Mr Wilkie said.  “It’s never been harder to rent a house in Hobart and this heartless Government is slamming the door on the most vulnerable members of our community.”


Last night the State Government, which owns the housing complex, tried to use a planning loophole to get the Hobart City Council to downgrade the requirements of the Goulburn Street accommodation’s permit application and remove the need for a staff member to be on-site at all times.


“The site’s permit requires a staff member to be on-site at all times but I know that since at least October last year the site is frequently unstaffed overnight,” Mr Wilkie said.  “It’s time to bring back that round-the-clock support that allows the Common Ground model to break the cycle of homelessness.


“The simple fact is that social housing needs to come in many different forms to cater for the needs of the community.  Common Ground is a small but vital part of this, providing additional layers of support for people with complex needs.”


The Goulburn Street complex was one of two inner-city Hobart buildings to open in 2012 under the Common Ground model which provides a mix of low income and homeless tenants with quality long-term housing and social services in the city.  In 2016 the Tasmanian Auditor-General confirmed the homelessness model’s success and found it was effective and value for money.


Mr Wilkie said the State Government’s dismantling of the Common Ground model would deepen Hobart’s housing affordability and accessibility crisis.


“Instead of making things harder for people looking for a home, the State Government needs to come up with a comprehensive solution to Hobart’s housing crisis,” Mr Wilkie said.


“Common Ground should form part of a holistic housing solution with more public, social, supported and crisis accommodation, Airbnb reform, writing off Tasmania’s housing debt, increased Commonwealth rent assistance, help for first-home buyers and tax reform.”


Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart