Palaszczuk’s former ‘right-hand-woman’ accepts unpaid role to lead homeless review

A $390 million funding boost has been announced for Queensland’s homelessness services, days after the state emerged as “ground zero” for Australia’s cost-of-living crisis.

Feb 01, 2024, updated Feb 01, 2024
Queensland's former Director-General Rachel Hunter will lead a homelessness review with at no cost. (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Queensland's former Director-General Rachel Hunter will lead a homelessness review with at no cost. (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Specialist homelessness services across Queensland will receive a 20 per cent increase – an extra $72 million – in funding over the next 18 months, as part of a new housing plan.

“No one should be sleeping on the streets, in a tent or in their car, least of all families and Queensland children,” Premier Steven Miles said.

The funding was welcomed by Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) which this week revealed Brisbane led the nation in rent, energy, insurance and health price hikes.

A QCOSS study found many low-income families across the state couldn’t afford a basic cost of living, with housing often 40 per cent or more of total household expenditure.

Speaking at 3rd space – a Brisbane drop-in centre for homeless people – QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said the venue’s staff had “never seen what they are seeing right now”.

“They’re seeing families fronting up to their kitchen needing food relief with suitcases, we know workers are working with women with newborn babies (living) in cars, we know our workers are paying the rego on cars so people can sleep in their cars at night,” she said.

The state government has also announced a review into the state’s response to homelessness, which will be headed by former top bureaucrat Rachel Hunter.

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Ms Hunter left her position as Department of Premier and Cabinet director-general after former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s resignation in December.

Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Ms Hunter was a “great person” to do the review.

“She understands the ins and outs of public policy but she also has a personal passion for housing services,” she said.

Mr Miles said Ms Hunter will undertake the review without payment but no time frame has been announced.

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