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Question: Hutt Street Centre Funding

1 May 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:14): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Treasurer on the topic of the Hutt St Centre's Aspire Program.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Data released by PropTrack today shows that Adelaide's house prices have increased more than any other capital city in Australia over the last year, at 13.99 per cent. In March, Domain's vacancy rate report showed that Adelaide has the lowest housing vacancy rate in the country, at 0.3 per cent, further pushing people into housing stress and, ultimately, homelessness. The Adelaide Zero Project's March 2024 figures show that 194 people are actively homeless in Adelaide, with 144 people sleeping rough.

This morning, on the steps of Parliament House, advocates were calling for an end to homelessness and better affordable housing options for our state. One homeless service, the Hutt St Centre's Aspire Program, helps people with medium and long-term case management to help get them out of homelessness. Since 2017, the program has seen 81 per cent of their 575 clients secure housing.

The Advertiser reported on 15 April that the Hutt St Centre chief executive officer, Chris Burns, is pleading with the state government to give assurances that it will keep funding the program. Last year, the government gave a 12-month extension in their budget; however, the future of this vital program is now unclear. The Advertiser reports that figures calculated show the program saved the government nearly $33 million—$33 million—in reduced hospital stays, criminal procedures and other services.

My question to the minister representing the Treasurer therefore is: will the government commit to funding the Aspire Program in this year's state budget, and what is the government doing to address the housing and homelessness crisis that is engulfing our state?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:16): I thank the honourable member for his question. I will refer that to the appropriate minister and bring back a reply for him.