Published on Monday 06, February 2017

Lawyers say outlawing CBD camping is "ridiculous"

On Friday our CEO Dan Stubbs, along with other legal experts, spoke to The Age newspaper about the City of Melbourne's proposal to ban people experiencing homelessness from camping in the CBD streets.

IMCL acknowledges that this is one of the most significant issues facing the council at the moment and we know the community wants a solution. However, a return to outdated and ineffective policies that further criminalise the homesless is not the solution.

"This is criminalising the homeless instead of trying to do something about homelessness," Mr Stubbs told The Age.

"It is making homeless people into the problem rather than recognising that we have a housing crisis."

For many months, IMCL, like a large number of homeless services and support organisations, has been advocating against the proposed ban on sleeping rough.

We opposed the amending laws on the basis that:

    - Criminalising homelessness would further entrench disadvantage;

    - Fining people for offences associated with homelessness would be against the intention of the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic);

    - The fines would result in processes that are resource intensive for all involved, be the subject of long delays and unlikely to see fines paid;

    - Some of the laws would contravene the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic); and

    - The laws contradict recent City of Melbourne and state government measures that will significantly contribute to reducing homelessness in the longer-term.

Through the evidence-based work of organisations like Justice Connect Homeless Law, we now understand homelessness more than ever. We understand the complex social reasons why people fall into homelessness and we understand what people experiencing homelessness need to get back on their feet. The solution is more affordable housing and holistic support services.

Click here to read the article in The Age.