19/01/2021 - 15:11

McGowan hits back at homelessness claims

19/01/2021 - 15:11

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Premier Mark McGowan has hit back at claims the state government is not doing enough about WA's homelessness crisis' alleging that Fremantle’s tent city is being spearheaded by “anarchists”.

McGowan hits back at homelessness claims
Premier Mark McGowan said the protest was being led by "anarchists". Image: Gabriel Oliveira.

Premier Mark McGowan has hit back at claims the state government is not doing enough about Western Australia's homelessness crisis, alleging that Fremantle’s tent city is being spearheaded by “anarchists”.

This afternoon, opposition leader Zak Kirkup announced that a Liberal government would deliver 100 accommodation beds in Fremantle within its first six months as part of a $57.5 million plan to refit hostels as interim accommodation.

The Liberals' election commitment is aimed at addressing Fremantle’s homelessness crisis. Currently, about 100 people sleep in tents at Pioneer Park (directly opposite the office of Community Services Minister Simone McGurk).

The site, dubbed tent city, has grown substantially since it was established late last year.

Mr Kirkup said the state government had failed the state on homelessness, warning that the crisis would only worsen as the end of the moratorium on rent increases and evictions ended in the coming months.

“The state government is sitting on billions in extra revenue, but is staring this homelessness crisis in the face and choosing to do nothing about it,” he said. 

"What we know is that there is a clear homelessness crisis occurring here at Pioneer Park and it's very sad the vulnerable people here aren't getting the assistance that they need.

"What COVID-19 has taught us is that any of us could find ourselves in a position like this and there are many, many vulnerable people in our community that deserve the support of the government.

"This isn't the first tent city'we've seen; we've seen tent cities in East Perth, Rockingham, and now Fremantle."

Shadow housing minister Tony Krsticevic said the homelessness crisis in Fremantle was having a significant impact on local businesses.

But the premier said he was frustrated by the situation, which he alleged was being spearheaded by professional protestors taking advantage of vulnerable people.

He argued that the state government was already investing $1 billion into social housing and support services for those experiencing homelessness and urged those involved to access the services available.

“I’m quite frustrated by this,” Mr McGowan said.

“There are professional protestors organising for people to go there, many of whom already have accommodation and access the services available.

“These professional protestors are often from organisations like the Extinction Rebellion - basically anarchists.

“What they’re doing is taking advantage of vulnerable people.

"I would urge those in need of support to reach out and utilise the services available."

Mr Kirkup urged the premier to visit tent city in Fremantle and talk to the people, rather than suggesting they were anarchists.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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