The Nationals Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron, is calling on the Andrews Government to immediately address skyrocketing rates of homelessness in the Latrobe Valley as a matter of emergency.
New data from the Council to Homeless Persons has revealed that homelessness in the Morwell electorate has increase a whopping 85 per cent in the five years to 2021.
“This data is two years old now and given the cost-of-living crisis has been spiralling out of control, we can safely assume that figure has increased substantially,” Mr Cameron said.
“People are slipping through the cracks, and this data doesn’t even account for the huge number of people and families who are sleeping in their cars or couch surfing.”
Some 2783 people in the Latrobe local government area accessed specialised homelessness services last financial year – more than any other regional municipality in the state.
“Our local homelessness support services do a power of work, but they are on their knees, and they are crying out for help,” Mr Cameron said.
“Instead of taking definitive action to address this crisis the Andrews Government is splashing billions on city-centric projects while ignoring to the basic needs of regional Victorians.
“Even more frustrating is the fact that constituents have visited my office to report vacant properties across the Valley – some of which have been built by Homes Victoria for the purpose of social housing – yet they are incomprehensibly sitting empty while people are sleeping on the streets.
“I have written to the Minister for Housing several times to report vacant properties and request urgent action, but I have not received a single response.
“For three years we have been promised more social housing, but all we have received is platitudes and excuses while the supply of homes is dwindling, and homelessness is skyrocketing.
“Labor’s economic mismanagement and its chronic underspending in regional Victoria have exacerbated the housing and homelessness crisis, and Daniel Andrews cannot continue to turn a blind eye to such critical issues just because they are beyond the Pakenham border.”