ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Support local government’s current work in addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues

The lack of affordable rental properties and affordable home ownership is causing significant social and economic impacts in Australia’s cities and regions.

Homelessness and housing stress can profoundly affect the mental and physical health of individuals and families, as well as impact on their education and employment opportunities and their ability to participate fully in the community.

The ABS 2016 Census data shows that the rate of homelessness in Australia has increased 4.6 per cent over the last five years. The latest estimates reveal more than 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night.

Despite increases in homelessness and lack of affordable housing, there is no national housing strategy or a national dialogue between the three levels of government on housing. National Housing and Homelessness Agreements are now determined between the Commonwealth and individual state/territory governments without direct engagement of local government.

Local governments continue do some “heavy lifting” on affordable housing with their communities in a financially-constrained environment which is exacerbated by cost-shifting, rate-capping and rate concessions for community housing.

Some councils choose to extend their involvement in housing beyond the traditional planning requirements for example by using excess council land or buildings for housing, engaging with the NGO housing and social services sector, hosting local housing forums or undertaking housing surveys.

Ahead of the next federal election, ALGA is calling for the Commonwealth to support local government’s current work in addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues by:

  • Reinstating a national governance model to address affordable housing and homelessness, that includes local government.
  • Acknowledging local government’s role in housing with appropriate funding including for innovative partnership models on housing.

Find out more about this and other federal election initiatives from ALGA at