02 Aug 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:12): My question is to the Minister for Human Services about homelessness in South Australia. Can the minister please outline to the council how South Australians can recognise Homelessness Week from 4 to 10 August?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:12): I thank the honourable member for her question. National Homelessness Week is indeed held from 4 to 10 August with a theme of 'Housing ends homelessness'. Key events occurring in South Australia include the Hutt St Centre's Walk a Mile in my Boots fundraising event and the Don Dunstan Foundation's 2019 Homelessness Conference.

The Hutt St Centre's Walk a Mile in my Boots events will take place in McLaren Vale on Friday, 2 August 2019—tomorrow morning—and in the Adelaide CBD next week on 9 August. The Don Dunstan Foundation's 2019 Homelessness Conference will be held on 7 August at the Adelaide Convention Centre with a theme of 'Preventing homelessness'.

The 2019 Homelessness Conference will examine the ways that those working in the public, community and private sectors can collaborate more effectively to prevent homelessness in South Australia. I will be delivering an opening address at the conference with the housing association, presenting on the development of our homelessness and housing strategy.

The Marshall Liberal government is supportive of the work undertaken by Homelessness Australia in coordinating National Homelessness Week. I understand that a range of members of parliament will also be attending that particular conference, which, as I might have mentioned, is put on by the Don Dunstan Foundation.

While I am talking about homelessness and referencing the Hutt St Centre, can I take the opportunity to acknowledge and recognise two employees of the Hutt St Centre who have, between them, been involved in over 50 years of service: Brenda McCulloch, who is the well-known cook who has been a volunteer at the centre for 25 years, and Mr Ian Cox, who has had a similar period of service, both of whom were celebrated at the Convention Centre last week. A number of members both of this place and the other attended that particular event.

There is also a youth vigil for young people who have died during the period as a result of being homeless. I think we no longer release balloons, but we had white paper cranes that we had at Victoria Square last year to commemorate their passing and reflect on their lives and the conditions that have led to them ending up in the situations they were in.

We also have opportunities, through the development of the strategy, for people to engage in the development of our strategy, which I encourage anybody who has an interest in getting involved in. It is available through the YourSAy site. There have been a range of stakeholders sessions that have been held, the most recent one as recently as yesterday, and we are undertaking regional round tables as well, in Kadina on 12 August, Far North, Port Augusta on 13 August, Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, Murraylands and Riverland, Berri, Nuriootpa, Mount Barker and Naracoorte—those dates are available. We are hoping that people will engage with us.

Homelessness is something that can happen to anybody, and there are a range of reasons. Young people, I mentioned, are often leaving difficult situations in their family of origin and have trouble getting along with their family. Some of them leave in some really horrendous situations. Obviously, we know domestic and family violence is a key driver for women leaving and often becoming homeless. As well as finding themselves in their later years with less superannuation, they can often run down their assets quickly and find themselves in that homeless situation. The other main cohort is middle-aged or older men who may have mental health or drug problems.

There are a range of services that are available, and it is a wonderful thing that so many people participate in the Walk a Mile in My Boots. I will be there; I trust many members will be there. I think I saw the Hon. Emily Bourke there last year with her family, so I look forward to catching up—

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: I'll be there.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Hon. Mr Ridgway will be there. I look forward to catching up with everybody Friday week. It is at Victoria Park racecourse.

The PRESIDENT: Minister, we have got to the four-minute mark. Are you happy to wind up your comments? The Hon. Mr Darley.