The House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs has agreed to suspend its inquiry into homelessness in Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued to the media, chair of the committee Andrew Wallace MP confirmed the suspension of the inquiry “until a later date”, noting that it was conscious of “the significant pressures on interested people and groups, particularly organisations working in the housing and homelessness sector, at this difficult time”.
The decision will see the committee cease accepting submissions made after 1 April 2020. Submissions that have been provided prior to 1 April are being considered by the committee and will not need to be resubmitted later, it noted.
“The committee does not wish to add to the stress on community groups, or divert their efforts from responding to COVID-19, by asking for submissions to the inquiry now,” Mr Wallace said.
“The committee also realises that the situation for homelessness in Australia is going to look different after COVID-19 than it did before.”
Mr Wallace added that suspending the inquiry “will allow relevant experts, organisations and affected people to provide evidence to the committee later that takes into account the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness in Australia”.
“It will also mean the committee can consider those issues and ensure that its inquiry into this extremely important issue is relevant and timely,” he said.