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Estimates: Community Affairs Legislation Committee: Social Services Portfolio: Department of Social Services

Estimates & Committees
Lee Rhiannon 16 Jun 2017

Thursday 1 June

CHAIR: Senator Rhiannon.

Senator RHIANNON: I want to go to issues to do with housing in the Northern Territory. By how much does the Northern Territory's funding increase from 2017-18 to 2018-19 with regard to affordable housing and homelessness services?

Mr Pratt : Just to clarify, are you asking the question in relation to the current National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness?

Senator RHIANNON: Yes.

Mr McBride : Just homelessness?

Senator RHIANNON: And housing affordability.

Mr Pratt : Is your question in relation to the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing?

Senator RHIANNON: When I looked under 'Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal investment—Remote Australia Strategies Component', I could not find anything about housing and homelessness in it. It talks about outcomes in other areas, but it does not cover homelessness. That is why in my own calculations, trying to work this out, I have not included that.

Mr Pratt : There are three elements to the government's agreements with the Northern Territory. One is the NAHA, the National Affordable Housing Agreement, which includes a component for homelessness. Nationally, that component is roughly about $250 million, so the Northern Territory will get a share of that. Secondly, we have the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which is nationally worth about $150 million from Commonwealth resources, and it is matched by state and territory governments. Then there is a third component, which is the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, which is administered by the Prime Minister's department. It would be helpful to know which of those components you are seeking advice on.

Senator RHIANNON: To work this out, I looked at page 44 of Budget Paper No. 3. For the 'national' Northern Territory, it has $5.4 million allocated. On page 42, Budget Paper No. 3 still, in regard to national affordable housing the SPP component comes in at $13.6 million. Then, on page 12, I notice that it comes in at $19 million, which I was guessing was a combination of those two figures. That is what I want to ascertain. That is why I asked: how much does the Northern Territory's funding increase from 2017-18 to 2018-19? I have looked at the figures and I am trying to check out how you are doing it.

Ms Bennett : The $5.4 million you have mentioned is the component of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which at this stage is a one-year transitional funding and it is also based on a matching with the states. So, of those elements that the secretary has announced, the figure that you have of $5.42 million is accurate under the national partnership agreement which, as explained by Mr McBride, is a transitional funding. The new arrangements will be put in place after July 2018. So it is one-year funding that is recorded in those papers of $5.42 million. In addition to that, there will be some supplementation that comes under the Social and Community Services, SACS, supplementation and that has not quite yet been determined. As I have said, it is also a matched component with the respective state or and territory. So that is that $5.42 million bit.

Senator RHIANNON: I am trying to ascertain whether there has been an increase—

Ms Bennett : No. It is the same as it was the year before because it is transitional funding for one year until the new arrangements. It is the homelessness component only specifically under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. In addition, there is further money under the national housing agreement that is tagged. Mr McBride can go into that in a bit more detail.

Senator RHIANNON: When you say 'national housing agreement', are you referring to the National Affordable Housing Agreement SPP?

Ms Bennett : Yes.

Mr Pratt : SPP is the mechanism for paying—

Senator RHIANNON: Yes. That is down there as $13.6 million, and that is what gives us the $19 million listed in table 2.1.

Ms Bennett : Correct.

Mr Pratt : Correct.

Ms Bennett : As the Commonwealth contribution only.

Mr Pratt : Correct.

Senator RHIANNON: Going back to my question, 'Does the Northern Territory's funding increase?' it would appear that it does not increase; it has either flatlined or, in real terms, it has gone down. Is that correct?

Mr Pratt : No, that is not quite the case. In relation to the homelessness partnership, yes, that has stayed the same. The affordable housing agreement, though, is subject to indexation each year.

Mr McBride : The decisions taken in the budget will lead to homelessness funding being indexed in the future. Historically, that has not been indexed funding; it has just been $115 million a year. It will be rolled into the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and both components will now be indexed going forward. So in the future, year on year, both those components will grow.

Senator RHIANNON: But my question was just comparing 2017-18 to 2018-19. We have just gone through the figures, and I cannot see how you can identify where the increase is.

Ms Wilson : There is indexation applied to the National Affordable Housing Agreement. It is a wage cost index—

Mr McBride : It is WCI 1.

Ms Wilson : Yes, WCI 1, wage cost index 1. So that will be embedded in the National Affordable Housing Agreement—

Senator RHIANNON: So we have all agreed with what the $19 million is. The $19 million is not an increase. If there is additional money available, can you identify where that is in the budget papers?

Mr Thomas : If you look at Budget Paper No. 3, as you have been, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness payment for the Northern Territory in 2017-18 is $5.4 million. That is on page 44.

Senator RHIANNON: We have gone through that one, yes.

Mr Thomas : Then, on page 42, is the national affordable housing SPP.

Senator RHIANNON: That is $13.6 million.

Mr Thomas : If you add those together—

Senator RHIANNON: Nineteen?

Mr Thomas : Nineteen. On page 43 you will see that the funding for the Northern Territory under the NHHA, the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, is $19.2 million.

Senator RHIANNON: So you are saying that there has been a $200,000 increase.

Mr Thomas : That is right.

Senator RHIANNON: What percentage is that?

Mr Thomas : I am sorry; I do not have a percentage.

Senator RHIANNON: It does not sound like very much, does it?

Ms Wilson : But that reflects the indexation that is in the agreement.

 Senator RHIANNON: That was going to be one of my questions: what is the level of indexation that you are using?

Ms Wilson : It is wage cost index 1.

Senator RHIANNON: According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2015-16 one in 30 people in the Northern Territory received homelessness assistance. That compares with what is coming in at a national level of one in 85. So there is such little money, Minister: $19 million and an increase of only $200,000. Depending on which indexation you take, as you know, you could interpret that as having gone down. For the Northern Territory, this is really serious.

Senator Seselja: Is there a question there, Senator Rhiannon?

Senator RHIANNON: Are you trying to argue that there has been an increase in funding for the Northern Territory, considering the high level of homelessness, that it is staying the same, or that it has gone down?

Senator Seselja: I think the officials have set out that it is increasing.

Senator RHIANNON: It is increasing because you have used one specific indexation, which could be interpreted as it having just stayed flat.

Senator Seselja: No. There are a couple of things to point out here. One is that the Partnership Agreement on Homelessness was an expiring agreement. It was not funded beyond the forward estimates when we came into government and in past years we have extended it for a year or two. If you were to look at last year's budget and at the forward estimates in terms of the Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, and if you were to look at the out years, no money was set aside. In this budget we have taken what could have been an expiring agreement and incorporated it into the broader National Affordable Housing Agreement, which is indexed, and therefore put into perpetuity—as the states and territories have called for and as many in the sector have called for—this funding, which was not there before. We have had to find that money. It is also indexed because it is part of an indexed agreement. So, whichever way you cut that up across the nation, including in the Northern Territory, it is a significant increase in what would have been there and what had been budgeted by previous governments of both political persuasions. We have secured that funding in the long term and given it growth which it did not have before.

Senator RHIANNON: Considering that the real number of people who are homeless in the Northern Territory has been increasing, when you look at the figure of $19 million, with only a $200,000 increase, it is a tragic situation, Minister.

Senator Seselja: I think I have answered comprehensively in terms of what we are doing extra just on this. In terms of what is being done specifically for Indigenous housing and remote housing, I do not have responsibility for that. That is obviously a question for Minister Scullion. I could not answer as to what the numbers are on that. But in relation to the area I have set out, we have delivered money that was not there. As I said in my opening statement, this is also part of a much broader set of measures where we are working with the states and territories and taking a range of measures across the spectrum from homelessness through to affordable housing to make sure that more housing is available for more Australians, whether they are at risk of homelessness or whether they are renting or whether they are looking to purchase.

Senator RHIANNON: To remind you of your opening statement, you talked about your commitment to the wellbeing of all Australians. This does not address the wellbeing of all Australians; it falls short.

Senator Seselja: Officials have just handed me the Northern Territory figures when it comes to the national partnership on remote housing; I will just get the right figures—

Ms Bennett : It is on page 44 of Budget Paper No. 3.

Senator CAMERON: Why doesn't Ms Bennett just answer?

Ms Bennett : Page 44 of Budget Paper No. 3—as the minister pointed out, this is with Prime Minister and Cabinet—shows that, for 2017-18, it is $137.1 million for the national partnership on remote housing. Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment and Remote Australia Strategies receive $50.9 million of Commonwealth funding.

Senator RHIANNON: The national partnership on remote housing is clearly housing: $137 million. But, with the strategies one, are you referring to the Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment and Remote Australia Strategies component?

Ms Bennett : They are the two components.

Senator RHIANNON: There are two components. When I have looked at those components, I have not found the word 'housing' mentioned. They mention outcomes in schooling, health, community safety and job creation. I cannot find housing.

Ms Bennett : As I have said, these questions belong to PM&C. I am reading directly from Budget Paper No. 3, page 44:

The Commonwealth will provide funding to improve public housing in remote communities by investing in housing works and removing asbestos from community buildings. This funding will also support a sustainable, professional and accredited Aboriginal interpreter service.

This funding complements the funding to be provided under the National Partnership on Remote Housing.

Senator RHIANNON: Is that the one under 'strategies'?

Ms Bennett : That is under 'strategies'; I only have an excerpt from it. I suggest that you refer those questions to Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Senator RHIANNON: Yes; fair enough.

Ms Bennett : It is referenced on page 44 of Budget Paper No. 3.

Senator Seselja: I think the broader point, though, from those figures, and as Ms Bennett has pointed out, is that the detailed interrogation of those figures is for another department. But if you are looking at the Northern Territory and isolating it when it comes to housing and saying, 'Well, there's $19 million'—which I think you pointed to—'in terms of the specific measures that DSS has responsibility for,' given the specific challenges in the Northern Territory, which you rightly point to, the vast bulk of the spend when it comes to housing for the Northern Territory does not come in DSS; it comes through other parts of the Commonwealth budget.

Senator RHIANNON: Going back to some general questions, can I confirm that funding for the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement starting in 2018-19 is intended to replace funding for the national partnership on homelessness and national affordable housing specific purpose payment?

Senator Seselja: It effectively rolls the two into one; that is the intent. At the moment, we have those two separate agreements. One was in perpetuity; the NAHA was in perpetuity and indexed. The NPAH, as it was before the announcements in this budget, was an expiring agreement and was not ongoing and was not indexed. To answer your question, yes, we have taken those two agreements and rolled them into one and quarantined the homelessness part—the old NPAH funding—but put it into one agreement which has the benefit of being ongoing, which the sector has been calling for, and being indexed.

Senator RHIANNON: Is it intended to replace funding from any other source?

Senator Seselja: Any other source? What do you mean? It is intended to be—

Senator RHIANNON: Is there anything else being brought in?

Senator Seselja: No. It is those two agreements.

Senator RHIANNON: If it is no, in relation to a state and territory breakdown, does it then follow that, if we add the figures from NPAH and NAHSPP in 2017-18 and compare that to the breakdown of the NAHA for 2018-19, we should be able to determine how the housing and homelessness funding for each state and territory has increased to 2018-19? Is that correct?

Senator Seselja: I will ask Mr McBride to elaborate.

Mr McBride : Broadly speaking, yes. 2018-19 will start to factor in the indexation changes of homelessness. But part of the agreement under the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement will require the states to offer up plausible ideas to receive that funding and, were they not to, some of that funding would be at risk. Were the states all to collectively come up with credible spending strategies, then that funding allocation would reflect the new agreement, yes.

Senator RHIANNON: I was trying to work it out by comparing apples with apples.

Mr Pratt : Was your question in respect of homelessness?

Senator RHIANNON: No, it was in respect of the new agreement. We have had these two agreements and you have brought them together. I was trying to compare that. But you have confirmed my question about the comparison being correct. I think I will go back and read it and see how I go. I am still working out how we compare it. Just going back to indexation, Ms Wilson indicated the indexation that was being used. Do you use one form of indexation across everything?

Ms Wilson : Across all these agreements, I think, except for health and schools, it is fairly constant. This is really a question for Treasury. But my knowledge is that, across the specific purpose payments—all the national agreements—except for in schools and in health, which have their own indexation factors, there has been a pretty constant approach to indexation, which is wage cost index 1. But that is really a question for Treasury.

Senator RHIANNON: Back to the states, do any states or territories see their funding increase by less than that indexation from 2017-18 to 2018-19?

Dr Baxter : No.

Senator RHIANNON: So nobody sees a decrease?

Dr Baxter : No. As Mr McBride pointed out, going forward under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement there may be provision where some states, depending on the proposals that they put up for the spending of that money, may be liable to receive more or less. But at the moment the notional allocation is the same, with a slight increase relating to indexation and the SACS award as well.

Senator RHIANNON: Can you explain that a little more? You got to a point where you said it could be more or it could be less, so it sounds like there is a chance that it could be less.

Dr Baxter : No. At the moment the notional allocation is based on the previous allocations under those agreements. But as Mr McBride pointed out, there may be potential, depending on the ideas that states put forward for the spending of that money, both under the main component of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and the part that is specifically allocated to homelessness, for states to put forward ideas for the spending of that money. Under the main body of the spending, they will put forward proposals about how it could be spent and, if those are not met or if there is not agreement about the ideas that are put forward, there may be some potential to look at whether the states are then allocated all of that proportion of the money or whether that is used in other ways.

Senator RHIANNON: So it is really up to the states; that is what you say?

Dr Baxter : It is a negotiation. I it will be a negotiation between the states and the Commonwealth, with the states putting forward ideas under those identified priorities about how their component of the money could be spent. If there is not able to be agreement reached or if there is agreement reached about certain priorities and targets and then those are not met, there may be potential for some of that money to be looked at to be used for other priority projects. Depending on negotiations with the states and territories, that could be in other states or it could be for different projects in that particular state.

Senator RHIANNON: Just going back to affordable housing, what is the latest available data on the shortage of affordable housing?

Ms Wilson : If you look at the budget documentation, the one total under 'guaranteeing the essentials for Australians', on page 20 it cites the most recent figures, which show that there is a shortage of 271,000 affordable and available homes for low-income households.

Senator RHIANNON: I want to compare that because the last national Housing Supply Council report that I found, for 2013, estimated that the shortfall in affordable housing available to the bottom 40 per cent at 539,000 properties. Are we comparing the same things there and saying that there has been a decrease, or has it just been worked out in different ways so that we have arrived at a different figure?

Mr McBride : I would have to have a look at how the Housing Supply Council came up with that figure. It is unlikely to have decreased by that order of magnitude. So I suspect that it was a different way of measuring it.

Senator RHIANNON: This is what I am trying to explore because 'affordable housing' is such a fluid term used by governments in a whole number of ways et cetera.

Mr McBride : Correct.

Senator RHIANNON: This is literally what I am trying to explore. Could I ask what your definition of affordable housing is? The one that I come across for much of the sector is that it is generally regarded as housing available to households in the bottom 40 per cent of income paying less than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

Mr McBride : That is for rental stress, yes.

Ms Wilson : That is a rental stress definition.

Senator RHIANNON: Is that the definition that you work off?

Ms Wilson : For rental stress. That is a rental stress definition.

Mr McBride : There is a similar stress indicator for people purchasing their own home but that is the rental stress definition that we use, yes.

Senator RHIANNON: For the figure of 271,000 that you have come up with, what is your definition of affordable housing?

Mr McBride : That is a Treasury number and I am not sure what measuring—

Senator RHIANNON: Seriously, you must have a definition of affordable housing on the tip of your tongue.

Mr McBride : We use that definition in determining rental stress.

Senator RHIANNON: What, the one that I just read out?

Ms Wilson : For rental stress, yes.

Mr McBride : If I was better at maths—in 2013-14, the proportion of low-income rental households experiencing rental stress was 42 per cent. That is about 31 per cent of the market rent and, of those—no, I cannot get you that. I am sorry, I would have to spend time with a calculator to be able to work out that number. In the break I can check with Treasury how they came up with that number.

Senator RHIANNON: I think I am out of time. I will then think about my next questions. I actually have more; so I will hang around and come back for another turn.


Senator RHIANNON: By how much does the Northern Territory funding increase—or does it increase—from 2017-18 to 2018-19? When I asked the question earlier you brought into the discussion the national partnership on remote housing. That ends in 2017-18, so we should remove that from the answer.

Mr Pratt : My point in raising that was that it is not something which is administered by the Social Services portfolio. It is administered by the Prime Minister's department, so we cannot comment on that.

Senator RHIANNON: I am not asking for a comment; I am just asking for an answer to this question: by how much does the Northern Territory funding change from 2017-18 to 2018-19—coming back to the figures that we discussed? From what I can see, the figures do put up in lights that there is a scandal here. I want to check that with you. We went through the figures before about the $19 million. We have come to the figure of $19.2 million, as the figure I was looking at on page 12 had been rounded down. On page 14 it is shown as $19.2 million. The difference between $19 million and $19.2 million is about a one per cent increase. When we discussed this, my recollection is that it was said that that is the wage price index—

Ms Wilson : Wage cost.

Senator RHIANNON: Wage cost?

Ms Wilson : I think it is the wage cost index.

Mr Pratt : And it is a Treasury index, which you should ask Treasury about.

Senator RHIANNON: I want to get the amount. The wage price index is coming in at 1.9 per cent. That is why I was concluding—

Mr Pratt : But they are different things, Senator.

Senator RHIANNON: Yes, I know. I heard you differently. I thought you said wage price.

Ms Wilson : No, it is wage cost.

Senator Seselja: To settle the issue, I am sure Treasury would be able to provide you with what the wage cost index is and how that has been applied. If there is any discrepancy in those figures, I am sure you could then figure it out, but I do not know; I do not have that.

Senator RHIANNON: You do not have the wage cost index in your head?

Senator Seselja: In my head? No, I do not.

Senator RHIANNON: Nobody does?

Ms Wilson : No, I am sorry. We can take that on notice for you.

Senator RHIANNON: Either way, Minister, while we are waiting for those figures to come through, this is such a minimal increase. I am surprised that you are not acknowledging that $19 million is not much money. We know that only one in 30 people in the Northern Territory receive homelessness assistance.

Senator Seselja: I have to go back to my earlier point, Senator Rhiannon, that it is a significant increase. Previously, in the out years, when it came to the homelessness component for the Northern Territory and across the country, there was zero. So we have significantly increased what was going to be there. I have pointed to the history; I do not need to go over the history again. There was an expiring agreement that was due to end in 2013-14. We have now put it in perpetuity. So it is money that had not been budgeted that we have found from other parts of the budget that would not otherwise have been spent on homelessness, whether it is in the Northern Territory or around the country.

Senator RHIANNON: Minister, you started off with your statement about being there for the wellbeing of all Australians, yet even on the figures that you are now appearing to stand by and be proud of, you cannot provide assistance just for homeless people, let alone for people to get a home. Do you agree with that?

Senator Seselja: Sorry, I did not hear a question. I was not sure what the question was.

Senator RHIANNON: You referred in your opening statement to the commitment in terms of work around housing, about the wellbeing of all Australians, with the emphasis on 'all'. With respect to the figures that we have before us about the Northern Territory, we cannot assist people to get a home, and we cannot even provide assistance for everyone who is homeless. So how can you stand by the statement that these figures are adequate for the Northern Territory?

Senator Seselja: There are a couple of points to make in that regard. Firstly, there is a question which could be put regarding any portfolio, in any area of government activity: could you be doing more? Are you doing everything to address the issue at hand? You could always make an argument that if you spent double, triple or five times what you are spending in any given area, you could do more. We all acknowledge that. But there are fiscal constraints. Within those fiscal constraints we have been able to find money that was not previously there and we have budgeted and secured funding in perpetuity for homelessness funding on top of the affordable housing money.

I make the specific point in relation to the Northern Territory, as evidenced by those figures, that identifying one area of Commonwealth spending on housing and homelessness in the Northern Territory is particularly misleading, because we know that, because of the particular challenges in the Northern Territory, the vast bulk of spending in this area and others comes in other parts of government spending. That has been identified by officials. We can talk about what is in our portfolio, and we have secured ongoing funding which was not there; so I do maintain that that is a significant boost and a significant increase—

Senator RHIANNON: Significant?

Senator Seselja: From zero. That is what was in the out years. That is what we inherited in the out years for homelessness—

Senator RHIANNON: No, I ask you to stick to the question, Minister.

Senator Seselja: Well—

Senator RHIANNON: Seriously, you are dealing with people's lives.

Senator Seselja: Senator Rhiannon, you may not like the answer, but—

Senator RHIANNON: Of course I do not like the answer because—

Senator Seselja: That is fine, but I will finish the answer, whether you like it or not.

Senator RHIANNON: It is tough on people.

Senator Seselja: It is not. The point I made, and the point which you are ignoring, is that the vast bulk of Commonwealth spend in the Northern Territory does not come through DSS; it comes through other programs, as has been pointed out to you. They are substantially more and they take account of the particular needs of the Northern Territory—particularly the remote needs and particularly the fact that we have a high Indigenous population. That is definitely taken into account by the Commonwealth in all sorts of other areas—

Senator RHIANNON: You have picked up Senator Cormann's disease of answering the question that is not asked. The question that was asked was about a comparison between 2017-18 and 2018-19. I have now clarified—and this is from the ABS—that the wage cost index is similar, in terms of methodology, to the wage price index. So the wage price index was 1.9 per cent. The increase that you are showing here in your figures is one per cent, which means there has been an overall decrease.

Senator Seselja: It is over one per cent and—

Senator RHIANNON: It is not over one per cent; it is actually under one per cent, if you want to do the maths.

Senator Seselja: Sorry, what were the figures?

Mr Pratt : I think it is a mathematical—

Senator RHIANNON: Yes, I apologise; it is slightly over. We are talking about $200,000 to $19 million. So it is slightly over one per cent.

Senator Seselja: So that is over one per cent.

Senator RHIANNON: I apologise.

Senator Seselja: My maths is correct. Putting that aside—

Senator RHIANNON: But it is still a decrease. You have to acknowledge that it is a decrease.

Mr Pratt : No.

Senator Seselja: It is not a decrease.

Senator RHIANNON: Compared to the wage cost index.

Senator Seselja: Again we need to separate the two parts we are dealing with.

Senator RHIANNON: The wage cost index, Minister, is 1.9 per cent—

CHAIR: Senator, we should allow the minister to answer.

Senator Seselja: You have pointed to the over one per cent increase, and there are two elements to what you are talking about. We had a homelessness element which was not indexed and expired. To the extent that that would not have been there and that is put in, that is an increase. That is an increase on money that simply was not there. It was not budgeted for until this budget. Then we have the fact that the homelessness funding, even when it was extended, did not have indexation applied to it.

What we have now is the ongoing NAHA, which has been there for a number of years, and that component will continue, and continue to be indexed. Now we have homelessness funding, which, as of the end of the next financial year, would not have been there, and which will now be there, and will be indexed in the same way that the former NAHA is indexed. Those two components point to an increase in terms of what would have been there, an increase in actual dollars, and money that for the first time gives certainty to those homelessness providers in the Northern Territory and around the country, when, under previous arrangements, they had no certainty going forward.

Senator RHIANNON: Minister, the certainty that they have been given is that the figure is going down, because we have now got it before us—$19 million to $19.2 million.

Senator Seselja: That is not true.

Senator RHIANNON: Your increase is just over one per cent and the wage cost index is 1.9 per cent. Those are the facts that are before you, but you are answering different questions to avoid the facts. It is like you are the emperor with no clothes.

Senator Seselja: You have brought together two different parts of an agreement. I have explained those two different parts of the agreement. If officials have anything to add to that answer, I am happy for them to expand.

CHAIR: I would add that we are a couple of minutes away from the tea break. Senator Cameron has indicated he has concluded his questions on housing. Would you like to return after the tea break, Senator Rhiannon?

Senator RHIANNON: No, I have finished. I just wanted clarification. It is disappointing, Minister; all you need to do is to acknowledge that, for the first year, it is not keeping up. You could even say something good like, 'Next near we'll ensure that the full indexation is passed on,' but you have failed in this first year.

Senator Seselja: That is not true.

Mr McBride : But indexation for the homelessness component kicks off in 2018-19. So homelessness funding has already been agreed to run to the end of 30 June next year on a non-indexed basis, which is the basis on which homelessness funding was always put forward. From 2018-19 it will be not only perpetual but also indexed for the first time.

Ms Bennett : However, it should be noted that it does receive an additional $2.2 million in the social and community services supplementation. So there was an increase in total Commonwealth investment this year versus last year.

Mr Pratt : A last point, Senator: I think, with great respect, that your methodology is incorrect in that you have compared apples to oranges. You have compared the future national housing and homelessness agreement money with the former NAHA SPP money, and they are two different things. One includes a component which is not yet indexed, as Mr McBride has pointed out. The other is entirely indexed each year, in the same way that all of the agreements are indexed. I think your maths—

Senator RHIANNON: Could you take on notice to set out where the mistake has been made? In my earlier question I gave you the page numbers for where the amounts were, what I was comparing it to and what the indexation was. Could you set out, in response to my question, by how much the Northern Territory's funding changes from 2017-18 to 2018-19?

Mr Pratt : We will seek advice from Treasury on how the indexation has worked, on an apples with apples comparison, between those two years.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay. You will set out what the change is?

Mr Pratt : Yes.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you very much.

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