“Buzzwords”: Ludlam slams Turnbull’s new homelessness app


news Scott Ludlam, Deputy Leader for the Australian Greens, has criticised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s introduction of an app for the homelessness over poor financing of supporting services.

Ask Izzy is a mobile-friendly website that connects people who are homeless or at risk with shelter, food, health and other essential support services. Turnbull launched the app late last week at an event attended by a slew of tech sector luminaries, including Google Australia managing director Maile Carnegie and former Microsoft Australia managing director Tracey Fellows.

The Australian Greens’ Deputy Leader welcomed the Prime Minister’s interest in addressing the homelessness crisis, saying: “Ask Izzy is an excellent initiative, it’s something that support services and homeless people themselves have been asking for, for years.”

However, Ludlam, who is also the Greens Housing Spokesperson, commented: “[Ask Izzy] is of little use without the very services it is directing people to being adequately funded.”

“Since they’ve been in government the Liberals have cut more than $500 million from homelessness support services,” he said, adding that a key recommendation of the Housing Affordability Inquiry was that the federal government reverse the cuts to the capital program in the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.”

“Mr Turnbull never misses a chance to drop his favourite buzzwords, but if he genuinely wants Ask Izzy to succeed, he’ll restore the funding to the services Ask Izzy directs its users to,” the Senator concluded.

Introducing the new service on 29 January, the Prime Minister said: “[T]his application, this website, is the type of innovative, collaborative and agile thinking that success in today’s world demands. It’s an example of using all of the resources at our disposal to harness the power of technology to make a difference.”

He further suggested that Ask Izzy will be an “invaluable resource” for those who support the people in need – case workers, social workers, volunteers.

“The dual benefit of the website is that the anonymous data it collects over time will provide a better, clearer picture of where, when and how much demand there is for services,” he said. “That enables people on the frontline and it enables policy makers like myself to deliver better targeted and more impactful practical services.”

Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting