LG ‘needs to be involved in developing homeless strategy’

A federal parliamentary inquiry has called for a national homelessness strategy recognising the vital role played by local governments.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report on homelessness in Australia contains 35 recommendations, including that the Commonwealth develop and implement a 10-year national strategy in consultation with state, territory, and local governments.

Committee chairman Andrew Wallace said the recommendations highlighted ways in which “Australian governments can work together to reduce the number of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness”.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) provided a submission to the Inquiry and appeared before the committee with representatives from the Local Government Association of the NT (LGANT).

In its submission, ALGA noted the many and diverse activities councils undertake to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Local governments have an important role in facilitating and supporting measures to address homelessness within and with their communities,” it concluded.

It noted the lack of a national housing strategy, recommending this be rectified, along with recognition of local government’s role in housing provision and the need for appropriate funding to facilitate this.

The inquiry accepted this, recommending that the scope of the 10-year strategy include: 

  • creating new and strengthening existing arrangements for intergovernmental coordination and funding accountability of state and territory governments;
  • formally recognising and strengthening the role of local government;
  • identifying opportunities for greater involvement of community organisations and the private sector; and
  • encompassing existing arrangements under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and reflecting other relevant Commonwealth policies and programs.