Senator Thorpe supports HAFF but criticises missed opportunity for renters and First Peoples
13 September 2023
Senator Lidia Thorpe supports the deal struck between the Albanese Labor Government and Greens regarding the HAFF Bill.
The Senator is disappointed that no action is being taken to address the First Peoples housing crisis, despite her meetings with the Minister for Housing and the tireless work of First Nation’s housing organisations, including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority.
Senator Thorpe’s proposed amendments - to increase the annual minimum spend, introduce legislated targets into the scheme for First Peoples housing, and establish a First Peoples Housing Authority to work with the new National Housing Supply and Affordability Council - did not receive support.
Despite not receiving support for her proposed improvements to better assist those worst hit by the current housing crisis, Senator Thorpe supported the amended legislation and is looking to increase her pressure on the government to adequately address the housing and homelessness crisis.
The following quotes are attributable to Senator Lidia Thorpe, Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman and independent Victorian Senator representing the Blak Sovereign Movement:
“While I welcome the news that the legislation has passed, I am disappointed but not surprised that the Greens did not advocate for the recommendations of First Nations housing bodies and grassroots organisations.
“I want to express my profound disappointment that First Peoples, who are by far the most in need of housing, have been largely ignored and are once again left with next to nothing out of all this.
“We are in a housing and homelessness crisis, and First Peoples are the hardest hit by this crisis. Deprived of our land, our lore and our customs, First Peoples are ten times more likely to be homeless on our own land. This legacy of housing poverty and deprivation continues to be a national shame.
“First Peoples should have been a priority population, yet instead the government has refused to introduce a target for First Peoples housing in the legislation. This was low hanging fruit when it comes to listening to First Peoples voices.
“We deserve a housing system that is culturally safe, trauma informed and based on the principles of self-determination. Recent Closing the Gap findings have revealed the failure of governments to properly consult with our people.
“If the Albanese Labor government is serious about tackling the First Peoples housing and homelessness crisis, they will establish a standalone First Peoples Housing and Homelessness Plan, commit to growing and strengthening the community-controlled housing sector, and expand culturally safe tenancy support programs.”