Thursday, June 17, 2021

Island homes: Tasmania election campaign offers few solutions to state’s housing crisis

Island homes: Tasmania election campaign offers few solutions to state’s housing crisis

Housing stress is at an all-time high in Tasmania, shutting out first-home buyers, squeezing the rental market and increasing homelessness

Before Sue Hickey entered state politics as a Liberal MP in 2018, she was Hobart’s lord mayor. Pledging to clean up public toilets and local politics, she also took a keen interest in the plight of people experiencing homelessness.

“You’d see these faces come out of nowhere,” Hickey says, recalling night tours of the city with food van staff and volunteers.

“You’d arrive, you wouldn’t see them, and then all these people just desperate for a sandwich and a Milo with five sugars would appear.”

Those outings were an eye-opener for Hickey, but for most Tasmanians homelessness and housing insecurity were out of sight, out of mind.