We sent an email to every* registered candidate for the Australian Federal Election in the seat of Casey.

In the email we asked 5 simple questions seeking to find out their understand of homelessness in the Yarra Ranges. Here are the answers we received.

*Peter Sullivan’s from Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party’s email address keeps bouncing.
Question 1. What is your personal knowledge or understanding of homelessness or the lack of affordable housing in the Yarra Ranges?

Chris Field, Australian Federation Party

I am not up to speed on the current situation. I was aware before Covid that there were families living in cars and one lady with her children living in a horse float. I was told earlier this year that the State Govt has stepped in and “there is no more homelessness” – but I find that hard to believe.

It’s a pressing matter that will demand my immediate attention as the Member for Casey.

Paul Murphy, One Nation Party

The homeless and affordable housing is a priority in the Yarra Rangers I know first-hand the seriousness with these issues we have. I have spoken to people that have been seriously affected.

Claire Ferres Miles, Independent

Homelessness often has many drivers and an effective needs based system is required to respond to a range of issues – I understand the need for greater services for people in need within Casey and I will advocate for it.

Jenny Game, Greens

Has not yet responded.

Craig Cole, Independent

Has not yet responded.

Andrew Klop, Animal Justice

Has not yet responded.

Aaron Violi, Liberal Party

My personal knowledge and understanding of homelessness come from my interactions with Holy Fools and Neal Taylor. I have known Neal for 4 years through working together on the committee of the Lilydale Township Action Group. 
 
During this time Neal and I have discussed some of the challenges with homelessness in Yarra Ranges although not in great detail. I have also assisted Neal and Holy Fools on occasions including for their Christmas lunch and Wednesday Street Angles lunch.

Bill Brindle, Labor Party

Has not yet responded.

Trevor Smith, Liberal Democrats

Has not yet responded.

Anthony Bellve, United Australia

Having read the Salvation Army Justice report for Casey, I am aware of the growing rate of homelessness in Casey and also the lack of affordable housing.

Peter Sullivan, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Has not yet responded.

Question 2. Are you aware that there is no crisis accommodation in Yarra Ranges for families, young people or older people?

Chris Field, Australian Federation Party

As above – I am not fully informed. Sadly personal crisis situations now rise more frequently than ever, and any shortage of provision must be addressed immediately.

Existing infrastructure, in the hands of church and welfare groups may need to be temporarily re-purposed to meet the immediate shortfall, while more long-term solutions are developed.

Note that my passion is for the community to come alive and be energised to support its more vulnerable members. Australian Federation Party stands on the founding document of our Federation (the Constitution), where diverse Colonies united for a common outcome, in a Federation (that’s a team word) and a Commonwealth (that’s “For the Good of All!”). To remain true to the vision of those who birthed our nation we must stop competing and work on key words like ‘unite’, ‘federation’, ‘commonwealth’ and community.

Sadly Party Politics which inserted itself into Australia about 80 years ago (parties are not mentioned in the Constitution) has created the illusion of a 2-Party System, which is not in our Constitution, and which fosters division and competition instead of unity and ‘for the good of all’ thinking.

With a Community focus we will work together for each other, rather than expect Canberra to be our Fairy Godmother. We have to stand up together to face our challenges and all pull our weight in caring for each other.

Paul Murphy, One Nation Party

I know off people who have had to sleep in there cars or have had to sleep in caravan parks due to the lack of crises accommodation. I have spoken to young people that have approached Anchor and they have been turned away.

Claire Ferres Miles, Independent

With my experience working in Local Government for 6 years for the City of Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip, housing and planning were both in my portfolio, and so I have real-world experience of the issues and ideas to increase the supply of public and affordable housing. I was the Council lead for the delivery of Lake House, an innovative pop-up home for vulnerable older women. 

I know that Australia has underfunded the supply of public and community housing for decades. Our legacy building stock is of a poor quality and the scale and quality of construction of new housing is well below what is needed. We must look at removing systemic barriers to deliver at-scale innovative models which will provide more affordable housing choices for older women.

Jenny Game, Greens

Has not yet responded.

Craig Cole, Independent

Has not yet responded.

Andrew Klop, Animal Justice

Has not yet responded.

Aaron Violi, Liberal Party

I was not aware of this and if elected as the member of Casey I would look to understand what can be done at a Federal level to assist with new crisis accommodations in Casey.

Bill Brindle, Labor Party

Has not yet responded.

Trevor Smith, Liberal Democrats

Has not yet responded.

Anthony Bellve, United Australia

Through my interactions with the members of the community throughout the campaign, I was made aware of the lack of crisis accommodation. I am also aware of the work done by Anchor in providing help with homelessness support.

Peter Sullivan, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Has not yet responded.

Question 3. What is your and or your party’s policy in regard to dealing with homelessness? Affordable housing?

Chris Field, Australian Federation Party

(The) Australian Federation Party does not impose Policy on its members, so each Representative can fully represent those who vote for them. So the practical outworking is that when I am elected I will relate widely with all the stakeholders, get an accurate picture of what the challenges are on the ground, and then get from Canberra whatever resources are available – and ensure that all that is promised is actually deliverable – ON THE GROUND – in Casey.

Most political candidates bandy around the word Billions (when it used to be millions). But ask yourself how many Billions have been spent on Climate Change, Aboriginal issues, Asylum Seekers, Education and the like, without any positive result on the ground. The money evaporates into greedy hands, for research, overseas study trips, glowing schemes that are never fulfilled, nepotism, and the like.

I will not be fooled by the “Billions of Dollars” promises, but I will get from Canberra what is actually needed on the ground, and bring it to Casey to land ON THE GROUND.

Homelessness is a shame on our nation and to talk up Bg Bucks, while people are still without a place of their own, deserves our cynicism.

Paul Murphy, One Nation Party

To stop or slow the immigration so we have more housing for ourself’s and to stop foreign ownership for more affordable housing.

Claire Ferres Miles, Independent

Refer above.

Jenny Game, Greens

Has not yet responded.

Craig Cole, Independent

Has not yet responded.

Andrew Klop, Animal Justice

Has not yet responded.

Aaron Violi, Liberal Party

The Coalition Government has a strong record of prioritising home ownership. Our Government understands that owning your home is important to the living standards enjoyed by retired Australians. Our Government knows that 85 per cent of renters aspire to own their home. Home ownership offers security and stability for both individuals and families.

Over the last three years, the Government’s housing policies have supported more than 300,000 Australians into home ownership. In particular, first home buyers have benefitted, with over 160,000 first home buyers in 2021 – a 70 per cent increase on the average of the previous decade.

The Government has supported almost 60,000 first home buyers and single parent families into home ownership through the Home Guarantee Scheme with a deposit as little as 5 per cent or 2 per cent, respectively.

The Government has protected the residential construction industry with more than 137,000 HomeBuilder applications, generating $120 billion of economic activity.

The Government has provided $2.9 billion of low-cost loans to community housing providers to support 15,000 social and affordable dwellings, saving $470 million in interest payments to be reinvested in more affordable housing.

The Government has unlocked 6,900 social, affordable and market dwellings through the Coalition’s $1 billion Infrastructure Facility making housing supply more responsive to demand.

Our Government established the First Home Super Saver Scheme, helping 27,600 first home buyers accelerate their deposit savings through super.

A re-elected Coalition Government will:

  • Help more first home buyers get over the deposit hurdle by raising the number of low-deposit guarantees for first home buyers to 35,000 each financial year.
  • Deliver increased property price caps for the Home Guarantee Scheme, to ensure Australians can continue to have choice when purchasing their home.
  • Increase the supply of new homes in regional areas by incentivising the purchase of new-build homes – providing 10,000 low deposit guarantees each financial year for those moving to, or within, regional areas. This includes non-first home buyers and permanent residents.
  • Expand home ownership opportunities for single parent families by increasing the number of low-deposit guarantees for single parent families to buy a home (with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent) to 5,000 each financial year.
  • Support greater investment into affordable housing with an additional $2 billion in low-cost financing for social and affordable dwellings. This brings total low-cost financing to $5.5 billion, supporting around 27,500 dwellings.

Bill Brindle, Labor Party

Has not yet responded.

Trevor Smith, Liberal Democrats

Has not yet responded.

Anthony Bellve, United Australia

We are committed to helping people keep their homes by protecting them from incoming interest rate rises. With almost half of Victorian households already under mortgage stress, the predicted rise in interest rate rises and the increasing cost of living, many people are facing the real risk of losing their homes. We will cap interest rates on existing home loans at 3% for 5 years, which we will do by legislating back the governments power to set interest rates, which was legislated away in 1986. We also want to make the first $30K on mortgage repayments each tax deductible to put more money in peoples pocket to offset the cost of living increase.
 
In terms of affordable housing, I would like to see more social housing, as this is something I benefited from as a child. There were long waiting lists in the 1990s and nothing has changed, this is something we need to address and fix and I am committed to being a part of the solution. I also support restricting foreign investment in our domestic housing market to houses $1 million and above, to prevent cashed up investors from driving up the price of houses and putting them out of the reach of first time home buyers.

Peter Sullivan, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Has not yet responded.

Question 4. If elected, how would you deal with these issues?

Chris Field, Australian Federation Party

As explained, my task is to work with the community, drawing upon its assets and resources, especially the motivated and capable people who have a heart for the problems and for helping others. As the specifics of what is needed are defined my aim is to bring resources to put into the hands of the community, not outside consultants or nation-wide schemes that suck up the money.

I want to see our own resources nourished and developed for long-term Casey-driven solutions, enhanced by whatever we can get out of Canberra.

Paul Murphy, One Nation Party

To make sure our own people get housing first before immigration, and to remove stamp duty on fist home owners.

Claire Ferres Miles, Independent

Refer above.

Jenny Game, Greens

Has not yet responded.

Craig Cole, Independent

Has not yet responded.

Andrew Klop, Animal Justice

Has not yet responded.

Aaron Violi, Liberal Party

If elected, I believe it is important to listen and learn from expert and once you have an understanding of the best local solution to a challenge, look to work with all three levels of government and relevant stakeholders to find solutions to these challenges.
 
This would start by continuing to engage with Holy Fools, Anchor and other organisations to understand what support they need and how the believe we can solve these issues in Casey.

Bill Brindle, Labor Party

Has not yet responded.

Trevor Smith, Liberal Democrats

Has not yet responded.

Anthony Bellve, United Australia

I am committed to working collaboratively with other levels of Government and NGO’s to help address homelessness. On top of that I would like to do more to address the underlying causes that can lead to homelessness, such as family violence and drug and alcohol abuse which have risen sharply over the last 2.5 years. This will include standing up to get the funding needed to provide these services and fight the underlying causes, as well as ensuring the funding gets to where it is needed most, those providing the services and the people that need the help and support.

Peter Sullivan, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Has not yet responded.

Question 5. What else could be done to help end homelessness and provide access to affordable housing and/or crisis housing?

Chris Field, Australian Federation Party

Consultants I have spoken to tell me there are various resources already available, but hidden from the public. Partly because these solutions are for the favoured pets, not the wider community. I want to dig those provisions out and give Casey residents access to whatever is available. I have also been shown that we do not necessarily have to rely on new housing stock, but can help people live in appropriate accommodation that might free up existing dwellings.

Investors are needed to build new housing, but there must be an easy path to make those properties accessible to home buyers, freeing up rental places, so more accommodation is available overall.

Large church and charity organisations have abundant resources, but won’t commit them unless carefully thought through options are developed. So we need to find Casey innovators who can help create those solutions. We also need to ensure that councils do not frustrate needed development, as sadly seems to be a growing problem.

Paul Murphy, One Nation Party

We could bring in a government assistance program like a rent try buy, you can rent the house and the rent comes of the price of the house when it comes time to buying it. The government has commission housing they can still make money and will give the occupant a chance to buy.

Claire Ferres Miles, Independent

In addition to the above we need to look where issues are contributing to homelessness or challenges of affordability. It is important to ensure that minimum wage increases properly account for inflation and are ‘real wage’ increases to combat the compounding impact on gender pay discrimination. Further I know that when affordable, accessible childcare, education and support services are available female workforce participation increases.

Jenny Game, Greens

Has not yet responded.

Craig Cole, Independent

Has not yet responded.

Andrew Klop, Animal Justice

Has not yet responded.

Aaron Violi, Liberal Party

These are complex challenges that involve all three levels of government and community organisations to come together to find solutions. 
 
All stakeholders need to work together in a proactive and collaborative way to find solutions that work at a local level.
 
If elected, I am committed to playing my role as a local federal representative to engage with all stakeholders to help solve these challenges.

Bill Brindle, Labor Party

Has not yet responded.

Trevor Smith, Liberal Democrats

Has not yet responded.

Anthony Bellve, United Australia

I am not an expert in this area, but I am willing and able to work with those who are to drive better outcomes for those members of our society that need our help and support.

Peter Sullivan, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Has not yet responded.