Homelessness inquiry calls for 10-year national 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.

The scope of a national strategy should include, but not be limited to:

  • creating new and strengthening existing arrangements for inter-governmental 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;

  • encompassing existing arrangements under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and reflecting other relevant Australian Government policies and programs; and

  • giving effect to other relevant recommendations made in this report.

The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government work with state, territory and local governments and community organisations to develop a more integrated ‘place-based’ approach to homelessness prevention and early intervention.

This should include:

  • establishing a national strategic framework for prevention and early intervention, setting out targets, roles and responsibilities, data collection and reporting requirements, and evaluation;

  • identifying the structural support and resources required to support ‘place-based’ programs; and

  • funding for ‘place-based’ research and pilot programs.

Other recommendations included:

That the Australian Government lead the development of a national integrated approach to housing and homelessness services for Indigenous Australians, co-designed with Indigenous community-controlled organisations and grounded in the principle of self-determination.

That the Australian Government, in consultation with state, territory and local governments, seek to increase affordable housing supply when land is rezoned for residential development, through the introduction and harmonisation of inclusionary planning approaches across Australia.

That the Australian Government work with state, territory and local governments to:

  • ensure the appropriate allocation of social and affordable housing stock to meet the needs of individuals and families at different life stages and accommodate different household family structures;

  • in appropriate circumstances and locations, amend local government restrictions on secondary dwellings (‘granny flats’); and

  • consider new measures to encourage the use of secondary dwellings to free up primary dwellings for larger families, including grants to Indigenous community-controlled organisations to construct new secondary dwellings.

The full list of recommendations is available here.

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