Mayor says bring homelessness inquiry here

By James Bennett

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O'Keeffe is calling on the Victorian Legislative Council's Legal and Social Issues Committee to visit Shepparton as part of its upcoming homelessness inquiry.

The committee announced the new inquiry last week, which will include State Members for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell and Tania Maxwell.

Cr O'Keeffe said Shepparton should be a priority due to being the highest regional electorate in the state for homelessneess.

"I would expect Shepparton is high on the priority list of places the committee will visit.

"I welcome the inquiry and I'm absolutely determine to be involved with those conversations to really look at the opportunity it will bring.

"I'm planning on catching up with Wendy (Lovell) this week and I'll speak to her about what can happen.

"We're very fortunate to have local opportunities (on this committee) so I would be surprised if Shepparton wasn't on the list of places they'll visit.

"From the brief conversations I've had, having that local representation will strengthen our opportunities."

Ms Lovell said she has already started advocating for the Shepparton region to receive a visit.

"Decisions on the timing and locations of hearings are yet to be considered by the committee however I have already spoken with the chair (Fiona Patten) about the importance of holding a hearing in Shepparton.

"This is a genuine inquiry that will consider all reasons for and possible solutions to the very important and complex issue of homelessness.

"Having considered all submissions and evidence our committee will produce a report with a number of findings and recommendations.

"It is my hope that the experts in this field will provide the committee with a range of solutions that will benefit those experiencing homelessness in Shepparton and other areas of the state," Ms Lovell said.

The committee's aim is to investigate and advise parliament on possible solutions in all legal and social matters.

Previous inquiries by the upper house committee include spent convictions, youth justice centres, cannabis use and public housing renewal.