Today we expressed our support for National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day, and called on the government to take a housing first approach to ensure victims of domestic violence do not end up sleeping rough.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 16:00 :37 ): By leave: I thank the member for Maitland for bringing this matter of public importance to the attention of the House. On behalf of The Greens I acknowledge our support for National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day. I join the member for Blue Mountains in acknowledging those wonderful voices of women who are seeking to make sure that we keep the rights and focus of women who need to seek refuge in our community front and centre in our minds when we make decisions in this place. I thank the Women's Electoral Lobby for bringing those voices and views to this place. Currently a number of women who are fleeing domestic violence are on priority housing waiting lists in my electorate.
I quite regularly see one or two women who are sleeping rough when I walk down King Street; they are still waiting for priority housing. As the member for Maitland said, it is important that we recognise the solution to being able to provide genuine support to women fleeing domestic violence—namely, being able to offer women a safe and secure place to call home. Ideally women should be able to stay in their own homes, but that obviously depends on their circumstances. As a State we need to be able to provide all women and families fleeing domestic violence, and that means immediate access to a place to call home. I repeat: It means a housing-first approach to addressing homelessness in this State.
The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that we have had a 37 per cent increase in the number of homeless people in New South Wales. That is devastating, and no-one can deny such a stark statistic. I acknowledge that it is crucial for us to address National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day but we should also recognise that we can make real changes in this place to help and protect people from dying as a result of family and domestic violence. We need to radically deal with the housing crisis in this State. Many of those on the public housing waiting list are at risk because they have fled domestic violence situations. We need to do more to address these lists. In fact, we need to immediately remove the time limit on the temporary accommodation that women and children fleeing violence are provided with. I urge all members to take this matter seriously. It is a matter of life and death to provide people with a secure place to live. The Greens believe all people have a right to safe, secure and affordable housing.