Greens: 25 days and counting, still no action from the McGowan Government while numbers grow in Fremantle tent city

Greens spokesperson for Homelessness Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called out the shameful inaction of the McGowan State Government and the Minister for Community Services while more than 100 people have been living in tents at Fremantle’s Pioneer Park since Boxing Day.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep at night,” Ms Xamon said. “We have 100 people living in tents in the Minister for Communities’ own electorate of Fremantle - literally directly across the street from her office.”

“It’s disgraceful that after 25 days and counting the State Government has still not offered the vast majority of these campers the wrap around services and safe accommodation they need.”

“The Minister’s remarks about the ‘mischief making’ by people on the ground and her apparent denial of increasing rough sleeping in metro areas as well as the Premier’s own suggestion that tent city residents are professional protestors make it clear how incredibly out of touch the McGowan Government is with the housing crisis so many in our communities are facing,” Ms Xamon said.

“It’s incredibly difficult for anyone to find safe and affordable housing in WA right now, let alone someone who has been rough sleeping, may have complex mental health or AOD needs, or otherwise needs support from the services we know have been so chronically underfunded in WA,” Ms Xamon said.

With the Federal Government slashing Jobseeker payments back by $100 a fortnight on the first of January, WA’s eviction moratorium set to end on 28 March, rental shortages at an all-time high and a public housing waitlist of nearly 25,000 people, the homelessness crisis is only set to get worse.

“This homelessness crisis was already happening, and I’m not sure how many more times the McGowan Government needs to be told that before they actually develop a plan to adequately address it,” Ms Xamon said.

“For years now service providers, people working on the ground, Western Australians experiencing homelessness and concerned individuals - myself included - have been telling the Minister and the State Government just how dire the homelessness crisis has become,” Ms Xamon said. “Even with the already-existing crisis taking form in this very visible camp directly across from the Minister’s electorate office, the State Government still has not released funds to open up more crisis accommodation and affordable homes.”

“Instead of making ludicrous statements to the media attacking vulnerable Western Australians and people working on the ground, the McGowan Government should be doing everything they possibly can to get residents at the now multiple tent cities in the metro area the housing and wrap-around services they need.”

Quick facts:
- In June 2017 there were 44,087 social housing units in WA. As of September 30 2020 there were 42,901 units, an overall loss of 1,186 units.
- As of 31 August 2020, there were 14,890 applications on the public housing waitlist representing 24,921 people.
- The average wait time (in weeks) by the region in WA as of 31 August 2019:
North Metro: 118
South Metro: 99
South East Metro: 89
East Kimberley: 90
West Kimberley: 87
Pilbara: 70
Wheatbelt: 65
Great Southern: 69
South West: 111
Goldfields: 46
Mid-West/Gascoyne: 77

Media contact: Alison, 0437 700 555