A Councilor in Queensland is pushing to reinstate a law that would make homelessness unlawful. The vagrancy act, which the Queensland government abolished in 2004, should be reinstated, according to Gold Coast Councilor Brooke Patterson, in order to combat the problem of violent and antisocial behavior that is exacerbated by some of the city’s homeless.
Although it “sounds harsh,” she claims that it will ultimately benefit the vulnerable people for whom the state government “simply refuses” to provide housing. She claimed that earlier this week, in front of local officials from the departments of health, police, and community affairs, she met with her state representative in charge of housing for the homeless. “These are a group who are aggressive, occasionally violent, antisocial rough sleepers, with major drug and alcohol dependencies and frequently mental health issues,” Cr Patterson told NCA NewsWire.
“I understand that the state government does not want to devote more than 10% of their current crisis accommodation budget to fixing the damage to the motels it rents out and houses people in, but that is the reason they are not being housed. “However, by keeping their hands off the situation, the state government abandons it to the residents, students, and business owners. “The state government needs to come up with some other way of dealing with the issues, rather than leaving it to residents and business owners if they think this group is too aggressive and anti-social for them to contend with from a housing perspective.”
A $237 million housing policy was announced by the state earlier this year, but Cr Patterson called it a “white elephant.” “The government is currently decriminalizing some of the shocking behaviors we have to deal with on our streets by the people they refuse to house,” she said. “These behaviors” include public defecation, offering drugs to students, and other shocking actions. According to the vagrancy act, which was first introduced in 1931, anyone who was homeless or lacked “visible lawful means of support” could be fined $100.
Those who cannot pay may receive a sentence of up to six months in jail. Anyone who solicited donations or charged a fee for fortune telling was referred to as a “vagrant.” In 2004, Queensland repealed the vagrancy act, but according to Cr. Patterson, it is now time to reinstate the laws in light of the rising number of homeless people dying on the streets. According to her, doing so would allow for the placement of homeless people in a jail cell, giving them access to proper medical care and shelter.
A report stating that homeless people were among the most criminalized Australians and were typically charged and imprisoned for minor offenses was included in the executive summary of the parliament that was made public for the repeal of the laws. The report stated that “many of the grounds of ‘vagrancy’ have become obsolete and, in modern society, regarded as somewhat peculiar.” The provisions regarding vagrancy have received a lot of mockery and criticism. ” The vagrancy provisions have received a lot of mockery and criticism. According to estimates, more than 21,000 Queenslanders are homeless, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation worse.
It is “absolutely appalling,” according to Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, to suggest that enforcing vagrancy laws will solve the housing crisis. The most vulnerable members of our society were either put in prison or left with enormous debts they would never be able to pay off, she claimed.