Response to Victorian Minister for Housing Harriet Shing’s Statements at the Yoorook Justice Commission

Evidence given on Monday by Victorian Minister for Housing Harriet Shing at the Yoorrook Justice Commission is the epitome of “all care and no responsibility”.

The Yoorrook Justice Commission heard that 17 per cent of Aboriginal people living in Victoria are seeking homelessness support — a figure that grows 10 per cent annually.

When questioned about what the Victorian Government is doing to address Aboriginal homelessness, Ms Shing pointed to forums that have operated for more than thirty years to little effect.

When it came to the Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program, described as “pitiful” by Commissioner Anthony North, Ms Shing said “I don’t think we’re setting it up to fail [but] I think it does fail.

The Renters And Housing Union considers these responses to be inadequate and insulting in the face of the failure of successive governments to address the ongoing injustice of dispossession.

The purpose of a system is what it does, and if Ms Shing admits that government systems fail to provide adequate support, then she must also admit that those failures are embedded in their design.

The Victorian Government continues to benefit from the theft of land from Aboriginal people. It must commit to divesting itself of these benefits and returning Aboriginal lands to Aboriginal hands.

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