The White Paper on homelessness, The Road Home, sets out a national approach to reducing homelessness by 2020. In the White Paper, the Australian Government, with the agreement of state and territory governments, has set two headline goals:
- halve overall homelessness by 2020; and
- offer supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.
The Road Home outlines three strategies for reforming homelessness in Australia:
- Turning off the tap: services will intervene early to prevent homelessness
- Improving and expanding services: services will be more connected and responsive to achieve sustainable housing, improve economic and social participation and end homelessness for their clients
- Breaking the cycle: people who become homeless will move quickly through the crisis system to stable housing with the support they need so that homelessness does not recur.
The Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness will take a leadership role by providing an independent overview of implementation of the White Paper goals and targets for 2013 and 2020, and providing advice to government on progress, risks and emerging issues.
The Council's work will occur in the context of the COAG Reform Council and other bodies whose roles are set out in chapter seven of the White Paper.
Terms of Reference
The Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness will provide to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Housing:
- independent advice of progress made towards the goals and targets in the White Paper;
- feedback and early advice on the implementation of the White Paper reform agenda, including examples of successful processes and reforms; and
- input into the broader Commonwealth national policy agenda and ways to leverage these measures to reduce homelessness.
The Council will provide feedback and advice on critical issues that cut across jurisdictional boundaries and are important barometers of effective early implementation. Initially these issues may include:
- communication of White Paper reforms to existing homelessness services and the broader service sector;
- effectiveness of strategies to drive integration between specialist and mainstream services; and
- integration of broader Commonwealth social policy initiatives – particularly those which seek to increase employment outcomes for homeless people.
Following agreement with the Prime Minister and Minister for Housing, the Council will develop a work plan for its first term focussed on these critical issues.
From time to time the Minister for Housing may request specific advice from the Council about progress against the agreed critical issues or request the Council to solicit feedback from NGOs, providers, consumers and stakeholders.
The Council will submit an annual report to the Prime Minister on the progress of White Paper reforms. In this advice the Council may also report on the impact of its effort against the critical issues developed in the Council's work plan.
It may also provide more regular reports and briefings to the Minister for Housing.
Liaison and Stakeholders
In undertaking its work, Council may liaise with governments and other advisory bodies to exchange information and views on the implementation of homelessness reform agenda. It will not pre-empt major policy initiatives being considered by governments.
The first meeting of the Council will be as soon as possible after the appointments of the members. The initial two meetings of the Council will be held within the first four months from when it is first convened to guide early implementation. The Council will meet up to six times a year.
Appointments to the Council are made by the Prime Minister, for a two year term.
The Council is not intended to be a representative group and members will appointed for their individual capacity, skills and experience to guide and monitor implementation of national reforms in homelessness policy, programs and services.
The Chair of the Prime Minister's Council, and the Deputy Chair, when the Chair is unavailable, will be the spokesperson of the Council. The Chair is authorised to make announcements, comments to the media and speaking engagements only after consultation with, and approval by, the Office of the Minister for Housing.