Industrial move for homeless

HOMELESS shelters would be allowed at industrial areas if a bill proposed by Tweed MP Geoff Provest is supported by the NSW parliament.

Mr Provest believes if brothels are allowed in industrial estates, there is no reason a homeless centre couldn't be either.

And he is prepared to make that point to parliament when it resumes in early September.

Mr Provest has taken on the homeless issue this year as the Tweed battles with the problem.

He is a leader in a proposal to create a homeless hub in the Tweed Heads central business district, which has drawn some criticism from neighbouring business owners.

Mr Provest has acknowledged the community angst homeless centres often create and that is one of the reasons behind his bill.

He said strictly controlled homeless centres in industrial estates could be a solution.

“I am proposing to present the bill in the first sitting week of September,” Mr Provest said.

The bill will allow local councils to regulate the opening hours of a potential centre and there would also be plenty of requirements for a centre to meet.

They would provide a place to cook meals and receive support.

“The real thing here isn't any political point scoring, the real thing here is homeless people and the need in the real community,” Mr Provest said.

He didn't see any sense in allowing sex businesses to operate in industrial zones, but preventing a service (for the homeless) for which there was a great need.

“You can put a brothel in an industrial zone, but you can't put a homeless centre there,” Mr Provest said. The bill will also provide a charity clause for councils, similar to one that exists to for over-55s units.

But when asked whether he thought his bill would be successful, he acknowledged the odds were against it.

But whether it is voted through or not, Mr Provest is confident of securing a homeless centre for the Tweed.

As reported in the Tweed Daily News , Whitehall Lodge in Tweed Heads CBD is one of the proposed locations.

The plan has drawn some criticism from local business owners, but Mr Provest said he has secured the support of the Tweed business chamber.

He pointed out the building was already used as emergency accommodation and said it should not be called a drop-in centre.

“It is not going to be a drop-in centre, it will be a transitional centre,” he said.

Mr Provest plans to present a business plan to the minister in coming weeks and said there was money available for the project.

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