THE State Government is unable to explain how many more homes are available to Tasmanians in need of public housing since it vowed to tackle homelessness as a priority issue in 2015.
Housing Minister Roger Jaensch on Wednesday announced he had met or exceeded almost every target in the Government’s Affordable Housing Action Plan, having helped 1605 households into accommodation and built 453 new homes since September 2015.
But he was unable to detail the actual increase in social housing dwellings in that period.
As well, some targets were revised down over the past four years, and refurbishments to 104 existing properties were counted among new homes.
The public housing wait list increased from 2771 people in June 2015 to 3318 people in March 2019.
The wait time for people assessed as most in need ballooned from 22 weeks to 50 weeks in the same period.
“We know there is still a lot more to do, and we have a significant number of homes already under construction as part of a pipeline of work that will continue as we move into our second Affordable Housing Action Plan,” Mr Jaensch said.
“Bringing forward funding in this year’s Budget means we can continue the momentum and deliver more homes and other housing initiatives sooner.”
But Opposition housing spokesman Josh Willie said Mr Jaensch’s figures had changed every quarter and that “Tasmanians have stopped listening” to him.
“He’s been deliberately obfuscating when it comes to housing figures because he knows there are many Tasmanians still out in the cold and the Government has not done enough,” he said.
“The other thing that he’s been keen not to answer is what is the net gain of public housing across Tasmania. We know the Government has been building new houses but they’ve also been selling houses.”
Mr Willie also criticised the Government for failing to make emergency accommodation for rough sleepers a priority despite severe wintry conditions.