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    LABOR WILL MAKE HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE AND WORK TO REDUCE HOMELESSNESS

    A Shorten Labor Government will provide the national leadership required to address housing affordability and take serious action to reduce homelessness.

    For too many Australians, the dream of home ownership remains out of reach while for many others high housing costs are taking up more than a third of their incomes, with more than 850,000 households living in housing stress. 

    There are as many as 105,000 people who are homeless on any given night of the year.

    At a time when more people are experiencing housing stress and the rates of homelessness remain high, we cannot continue to stand by and adopt a “business as usual” approach.

    Labor will develop a national affordable housing strategy to drive the development of an agreed, coordinated approach to addressing housing affordability in Australia.

    A Shorten Labor Government will also:

    • Appoint a Minister for Housing and Homelessness.
    • Make housing affordability a standing item on the COAG agenda.
    • Include a more comprehensive coverage of housing as part of the Closing the Gap report.
    • Develop an Affordable Housing Industry Plan to ensure the long-term development of a sustainable affordable housing sector.
    • Re-establish the National Housing Supply Council.
    • Investigate the development of national rental standards.

    A Shorten Labor Government, in partnership with State and Territories, will:

    • Aim to halve homelessness by 2025.
    • Agree on national targets to increase the supply of affordable housing dwellings.
    • Report annually through COAG on progress towards the targets. 

    Labor wants to work with homelessness services to deliver long-term certainty for the sector and will begin this important work by immediately hosting a national roundtable on homelessness and a meeting of State and Territory Housing and Homelessness Ministers.

    Labor will also provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing program, to improve transitional housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.

    We will also include more comprehensive coverage of housing in the Closing the Gap report, in recognition of the importance of housing to achieving the Closing the Gap health, education and employment targets.

    From 1 July 2017, Labor will limit negative gearing to new property.

    This is a significant policy that will provide an incentive for new construction and add thousands of jobs to the building industry.

    Labor seeks to level the playing field, particularly for first home buyers and will fully grandfather and preserve the tax offsets that are currently available to existing property owners.

    Too often, discussions on affordable housing concentrate on home ownership – yet, over 30 per cent of all households are renters. 

    It’s important that governments ensure that the needs of renting households are reviewed in light of the changes in the housing market over time.

    Labor will ensure that the needs of renting households are considered within the national strategy on affordable housing.

    A Shorten Labor Government will work with the States and Territories to reach agreement on a set of national minimum rental standards. Labor will commission work to examine:

    • Rental contract lengths.
    • Fair processes where landlords seek termination.
    • Ways to provide greater freedom of choice for tenants.

    A Shorten Labor Government will also provide a one-off establishment grant of $3 million to Homes4Homes (H4H) - a social enterprise by The Big Issue, looking to raise capital funds to invest back into affordable housing supply.  

    While Malcolm Turnbull gives tax cuts to the big end of town, Labor is working to help those in our community who need it most.

    Labor’s positive plan for affordable housing and to reduce homelessness will put people first.

    http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/a_national_affordable_housing_strategy_fact_sheet

    THURSDAY, 16 JUNE 2016 

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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    LABOR TO FUND YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE FOR MONASH

    A Shorten Labor Government would provide essential funds to help build Monash’s first youth mental health service to ensure young people are able to get professional help at an early stage of their mental illness.

    Labor’s commitment of $2 million will help the Monash community – which has one of Melbourne’s highest youth populations – but currently has no dedicated youth mental health service.

    Early intervention in mental health provides the best chance of recovery and also minimises the cost to the health system by preventing more expensive treatments in the hospital system down the track.

    Demand for services in this area of Melbourne is high but young people either have to travel longer distances from home to access help or wait hours to be seen at already busy services in neighbouring suburbs.

    Link Health in Monash has committed significant funds to get this service off the ground and Labor’s contribution will play a role in seeing a purpose built facility on Haughton Road, Oakleigh, become a reality.

    “I congratulate the Labor candidate for Chisholm, Stefanie Perri, for her sustained advocacy of this centre and her success in securing funding for this important service in Monash,” Senator Gallagher said.

    “When I visited Link Health earlier this year, I was impressed by the passion of the hard working health professionals and their desire to help even more young people living with mental health conditions.  Their dedication made it an easy decision to provide this funding to help get this project off the ground.”

    “If we are to see young people utilise mental health services, we need to make the services accessible and appealing while remaining close to young people’s homes and schools,” Stefanie Perri said.

    “That is exactly what Link Health will provide and I am so pleased to see this project, one which I have advocated for both in my role as a Mayor of Monash Council and as the Labor candidate for Chisholm, get the tick of approval,” Stefanie Perri said.

    MONDAY, 6 JUNE 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Labor's candidate for the seat of Chisholm Stefanie Perri.

     

     

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    PM MUST GIVE GUARANTEE TO HEADSPACE CENTRES ACROSS AUSTRALIA

    Malcolm Turnbull today opened a new headspace in Bondi while his government is refusing to offer funding certainty for existing headspace centres beyond 2018. 

    Under Turnbull’s Liberals, headspace has been given a two-year shelf life and told they will not be guaranteed funding beyond 2018.

    Over the past 10 years, headspace has helped more than 225,000 young people with mental illness and provided more than 1.5 million occasions of service either through face-to-face consultations or via telephone and online services.

    In April, the Minister for Health informed all headspace centres beyond 2018 Primary Health Networks would be required to tender for services currently provided by headspace.

    This decision by the Turnbull Government puts the internationally renowned national youth mental health model at risk. 

    The Prime Minister and the Health Minister have questions to answer:

    1.    Can the Prime Minister guarantee Bondi headspace will be open in 2018 after it is put out to tender 

    2.    Why does the Turnbull Government want to dismantle a world best practice model for young people with a mental illness? 

    Labor strongly supports the headspace model and a Shorten Labor Government will provide the funding certainty needed to ensure headspace centres remain open in the more than 95 locations across the country where they have been established. 

    Labor has also committed to keeping the early psychosis program in place and will ensure that youth mental health services remain a national priority.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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    VALE ROMALDO GIURGOLA

    It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Romaldo ‘Aldo’ Giurgola, the renowned architect who designed Australia’s new Parliament House.

    In so doing he made a profound contribution to our national identity.

    Aldo, then a Columbia University academic, turned down an offer to judge the design competition because he wanted to enter himself.

    In 1980, he won from a field of 328 entrants from 28 countries.

    His design for Parliament House stayed true to Walter Burley Griffin’s vision of Australia’s capital as a complement to humanity and the landscape.

    Aldo didn’t want a monument. He placed his building under a modest hill and called it a nest for the people’s Parliament.

    Parliament House is a love letter to Australian democracy, designed so any citizen could walk across its grassy flanks. Every room is filled with daylight.

    Aldo designed Parliament House to last 200 years. He wanted it to have room for people and functions not yet dreamed of.

    While Aldo described Parliament House as his crowning achievement, it was not his only contribution to Canberra – he also designed St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Charnwood.

    It is a privilege to work in Parliament House and represent Canberrans.

    This building holds a special place in the hearts of Canberrans but also in the hearts of Australians who visit it every year.

    Aldo Giurgola may have passed, but we in the nation’s capital will always remember his legacy and contribution to our city and country.

    In 2005, a journalist asked Aldo how he would like his epitaph to read. “He was an architect,” he began, then paused. “That’s enough.”

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP (Fenner) and Gai Brodtmann MP (Canberra).

     

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    VULNERABLE YOUNG SOUTH AUSTRALIANS THE TARGET OF TURNBULL’S LATEST HEALTH CUTS

    A Shorten Labor Government would restore funding to six early psychosis centres around Australia to ensure that the young people with serious mental health problems get the support they need to live healthy and productive lives.

    Young people in Adelaide with early stage psychosis will miss out on a specialised early intervention service under Malcolm Turnbull’s latest round of health cuts.

    Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, have defunded the specialist headspace Early Psychosis Youth Service (EPYS) in Adelaide, which only opened a few months ago and has already helped around 70 young people.

    Malcolm Turnbull must explain to South Australians why his Government has defunded this centre just months after $2 million was spent establishing it.

    Early intervention is proven to help young people at the more severe end of the mental illness spectrum and is crucial to stop conditions deteriorating, preventing more serious illness and taking pressure off an already stretched public health system.

    When announcing the Turnbull Government’s mental health reforms last year Sussan Ley said:

    “There won't be any turning away of anyone.”

    Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, Press Conference, November 26, 2015.

    The Adelaide centre’s closure would slam the door in the face of some of South Australia’s most vulnerable young people.

    The Turnbull Liberal Government’s funding cut has thrown the future of the successful EPYS programs into doubt and left centres across the country with little time to prepare the young people who use the services or the staff who work with them.

    Headspace centres need funding certainty if they are to continue to be successful and a Shorten Labor Government is committed to providing that funding certainty.

    WEDNESDAY, 18 MAY 2016

    **For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 **

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

     

    This is a joint release with Senator Penny Wong, Kate Ellis MP, and Senator Anne McEwen.

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    MENTAL HEALTH REFORMS MUST PUT PEOPLE FIRST

    Reports today that the Butterfly Foundation, a helpline for people with eating disorders, has only been given 12 months funding certainty is another example of the chaos being created across the mental health system.

    Minister for Health Sussan Ley’s refusal to take responsibility for the mess and guarantee continuity of care for those who rely on mental health services is symptomatic of the broader reform implementation which is leaving many services in limbo.

    “Everyone knows that it’s the people living with a mental illness who must be at the centre of mental health reforms yet it’s increasingly clear that the Turnbull Government is bent on pursuing the reforms at the expense of the very people who use and rely on these services,” Senator Gallagher said.

    “The implementation of these reforms has been nothing short of chaotic. The timelines are unreasonable, there is a lack of information available and no implementation plan to speak of.

    “Mental health services have been trying desperately for months to get information about what will happen to the people who rely on their services after the majority of reforms kick-in from 1 July, and it appears some have now been given a band-aid solution with just weeks to go before the end of their current funding arrangements,” Senator Gallagher said.

    The concerns raised by the Butterfly Foundation today are not isolated. There are widespread concerns across the sector including over the lack of transparency for funding decisions by the Turnbull Government with some services getting funding extensions for nine months, others for 12 months, while others are being defunded completely.

    At the same time the early psychosis programs have been told they will be wound down.

    Headspace centres will be required to compete for their funding with other services and many crucial services will be lost completely, such as the vital work being done by the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network.

    On top of this, the Turnbull Government stopped funding the $45 million National Partnership on Mental Health Reform in the Budget, leaving many services across the country scrambling to identify ways to keep operating after 1 July.

    The Budget also scrapped funding for the Drought Assistance Package, which had a focus on mental health and well-being.

    A Shorten Labor Government will work with service providers to enable a smooth transition under the reform agenda and ensure that people with a mental illness are put first.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

     

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    CANBERRA’S CLASSROOMS TO RECEIVE $25M BOOST UNDER A SHORTEN LABOR GOVERNMENT

    Under Malcolm Turnbull’s plans Canberra’s classrooms would be $515 million worse off over the next ten years.

    In contrast, a Shorten Labor Government will reverse all of the Liberal’s cuts and commit deliver the Gonski reforms on-time and in-full.

    Labor will invest an additional $25 million in Canberra schools in 2018 and 2019 alone.

    Without Labor’s investment the schools and students needing the most support will be the hardest hit.

    Only Labor will give principals and educators the support and resources they need to equip students with the skills to get a good job.

    The Turnbull Government’s plan to cut school funding is not a plan for jobs and growth.

    Every school and every student in Canberra will be better off under a Shorten Labor Government.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP (Fenner) and Gai Brodtmann MP (Canberra).

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    MALCOLM TURNBULL’S POLICY ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY – HAVE RICH PARENTS WHO CAN BUY YOU A HOUSE

    Malcolm Turnbull has wasted no time reminding Australians how out of touch he is with every day Australians struggling to buy their first home by having his Joe Hockey “get a good job” moment on radio this morning.

    Today on 774 ABC Melbourne Malcolm Turnbull suggested presenter John Faine “shell out” to help buy his kids a house to provide a bit of “inter-generational equity” when questioned about his opposition to Labor’s plans to level out the property market for first home buyers.

    FAINE: Yeah but my question was specifically about the inter-generational aspects of it. It's created conflict with effectively the kids of your and my generation who can't get into the market and they're saying oh for goodness sake you baby boomers you just want everything and you're locking us out.

    TURNBULL: Are your kids locked out of the housing market?

    FAINE: Yes

    TURNBULL: Well you should shell out for them; you should support them, a wealthy man like you.

    FAINE: That's what they say.

    TURNBULL: Exactly, well there you go, you see you've got the solution in your own hands. You can provide a bit of inter-generational equity in the Faine family.

    It is astounding but not surprising that the Prime Minister, less than a day after the budget was released, could dismiss an issue that is facing millions of Australians who are looking to achieve the great Australian dream of home ownership but are locked out of a market that favours property speculators.

    The Abbott-Turnbull Government has been in office almost three years, delivered three budgets and still has not released one plan that will help first home buyers or address the housing affordability crisis in this nation.

    It seems that Malcolm Turnbull’s policy for first home buyers is for their parents, many of whom are still paying off their own homes, should “shell out” and buy their children a first home.

    Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop joking about this issue and actually come up with a credible plan to help address housing affordability.

    Today’s distasteful joke is more evidence that Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch with everyday Australians and will back the big end of town at every opportunity.

    WEDNESDAY 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Chris Bowen, Labor's Shadow Treasurer.

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    TURNBULL SIDESTEPS SENATE TO SLUG PATIENTS

    Malcolm Turnbull has today defied a direct order from the Senate, so he can continue his unfair attack on pathology and diagnostic imaging patients.

    In parliament today the Assistant Minister for Health has defied a senate order to produce the regulations the government will use to implement its $650 million in cuts to bulk billing incentives.

    The minister has done this to avoid the rejection of these measures by the Parliament, defying both the will of the Australian people and its elected representatives.

    This tactic will enable the government to now delay tabling these regulations until after the parliament rises, denying the Senate the opportunity overturn these cuts before they come into effect.

    This means patients being treated for cancer, and other serious health conditions, could now be forced to fork out thousands of dollars upfront for crucial scans and tests from July 1, the day before the federal election.

    This is despite the fact that over 500,000 Australians have signed a petition opposing the Liberals' $650 million cuts to Medicare.

    Families know these cuts will hurt the most vulnerable in our community and stop them from getting the necessary tests at an early stage.

    The very people who shouldn’t have to suffer more will be forced to pay more or put off getting tests because of Mr Turnbull. 

    Today’s sneaky move to sidestep parliamentary scrutiny confirms that a vote for the Turnbull Liberals is a vote to cut Medicare.

    It confirms that while Mr Turnbull is soft on the top end of town he is hard on people with cancer and diabetes who will have to pay more for critical tests.

    WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations

    This is a joint release with Catherine King MP, Labor's Shadow Minister for Health.

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    BUDGET IGNORES HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS

    First home buyers struggling to break into the housing market have been ignored by the Turnbull Government in the 2016-17 Budget which doesn’t include a single initiative to address housing affordability in Australia.

     After almost three years in office and three budgets, the fact that the Turnbull Government remains without a housing policy or a housing affordability strategy is an absolute disgrace.

    In fact, the only announcement this government has made on housing affordability has been about what they won't do to support first home buyers and those on modest incomes who are desperately trying to purchase their first home but are currently being locked out of an unaffordable property market.

    With the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that almost 1 million households are now living in rental or mortgage stress there are now many Australians who don't believe they will ever be able to own their own home.

    This budget does nothing to support these people to enter the housing market, increase housing supply across Australia or make housing more affordable for low and moderate income families.

    The Budget also fails to provide any certainty for homelessness services with no commitment to fund homelessness services beyond July 2017 making it very difficult for services to plan beyond the next 12 months.

    Tony Abbott’s annual cuts of $44 million to homelessness capital funding also continue under the Turnbull Government in this budget.

    Last night’s Budget was an opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to claw back some credibility when it comes to housing and the affordability crisis, however, they have chosen to ignore that responsibility and instead back the big end of town in sharp contrast to Labor who will always put people first.

    WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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