Sixty people rallied outside Western Australia’s Parliament House on September 8 in a protest organised by the homeless rights supporters. The rally called on the Barnett Liberal government to provide proper funding to the state’s homeless people and support and shelter all year round.
The state government has set aside $112,500 for temporary accommodation and meals for homeless people during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in late October.
Homeless rights activist Corey Wilkinson said that the world needed to know that Perth is not the picture-perfect city the government makes it out to be, but has a problem with homelessness. He said the current mining boom meant the state government should be able to provide proper services and housing to tackle homelessness.
The crowd also heard speeches by Alison Xamon from the Greens, shadow housing minister Mark McGowan and outreach worker Peter Fotikas.
Alexandra Bekiaris from Storehouse International said her organisation helped people get homes.
Alex Bainbridge from the Chogm Action Network told the crowd a massive increase in public housing was needed to address the problem. No one should have to sleep on the streets, he said, and public housing is a right and not a privilege.
He slammed the state government for providing millions of dollars to accommodate CHOGM delegates, many of who were dictators, human rights abusers and social vandals, while only providing crumbs for people who sleep rough.
He called on people to attend the anti-CHOGM protest in Forrest Place on October 28 that will march to the CHOGM summit.