Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (09:53:48): I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parliamentary colleagues in this place for your support for my motion on the inquiry into the causes of and restrictions on services for the homeless in our state.
There is no single fix that will end homelessness and poverty in Australia. We need sustained action, solidarity and compassion, because this is an issue that touches us all in some way. Homelessness is a problem in all of our electorates, and listening to you all speak last sitting week, I think we all understand how a few bad events or poor decisions could see one forced out onto the streets.
Tonight I will be sleeping rough. I will join a group of executives and business people at the South Melbourne Market for what is sure to be an amazing experience. But for me it is only one night.
Over 750 000 Victorians are now living below the poverty line. Vinnies’ 12 000 volunteers helped over 300 000 people in our state last year. The demand for their services and for other front line homelessness services is growing rapidly. The Victorian Vinnies CEO Sleepout celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year and I am proud to be part of that.
The theme for this year is ‘Leading with compassion’. I ask my fellow members in this place to lead with compassion. Every word, every action, can help.