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The Australian Medical Association has described hundreds of premature deaths from homelessness as a “national tragedy” and urged the Albanese Government to invest in a monitoring regime and improved housing and health services. Source: The Guardian. 

The Guardian revealed earlier this month that hundreds of Australians experiencing homelessness were dying premature, preventable deaths, based on a 12-month investigation involving 627 cases.

The average age at death was 44, a shocking life expectancy gap, and systemic failures across the housing, health and justice sectors were driving fatalities.

The investigation showed the big life expectancy gap at a national level for the first time and the findings were in line with more rigorous localised studies contained to Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

In a statement, AMA president Steve Robson described the premature deaths of Australians experiencing homelessness as a “national tragedy”.

He echoed calls from homelessness groups, including the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness, for the Government to lead efforts to monitor homelessness deaths, something which no government currently attempts in any Australian jurisdiction.

“Frequent and nationally consistent data reporting is essential to spot trends and pinpoint what policies are needed to address serious health issues,” Professor Robson said. “There is a good opportunity to make this a reality with the current development of a National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

“It is a national tragedy that so many Australians experiencing homelessness are dying premature deaths – and the AMA can see the benefit in creating a national reporting framework to provide consistent data on this issue.”

Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins described the premature homelessness deaths as “completely unacceptable”. She said she will continue conversations with states and territories about data collection and reporting.


Australian Medical Association backs proposal to count homelessness deaths (By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian)