Call to action 

National Shelter needs your help to continue to work towards an Australia where everyone has access to an affordable place to call home.  We receive no Federal Government funding but we are determined to continue our work of building the evidence base for investment in affordable housing and being a strong voice for low-income and other vulnerable Australians in the housing system.

National Shelter’s advocacy focus for the next two years will be on four key issues:

  1. The reform of the Federation process – housing and homelessness because we must not allow the Federal Government to abandon its responsibility for affordable housing;
  2. Taxation reform; because the tax system is the single biggest force impacting on the housing market in Australia;
  3. Collection and dissemination of data related to housing consumers and policy reform to build and illustrate our evidence base; and
  4. Housing as infrastructure, not welfare.

We already have significant commitments from Brisbane Housing Company, SGCH, Uniting Communities S.A., Jobs Australia, Vinnies National Council and others, so add your organisation or name to the list and watch our advocacy grow.

Join Us!

If you value the strong advocacy that National Shelter offers you can contribute to our program of work either by sponsoring a project or by contributing to our core business campaigns and advocacy, and/or becoming a National Shelter Member like Jobs Australia and the National Council of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

To discuss your role in National Shelter’s advocacy, please contact Adrian Pisarski on 0417 975 270 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to read more 

What's new

National Shelter's submission to the Reform of the Federation Discussion Paper 


Australia faces a number of significant housing issues, including an unacceptable level of homelessness, high levels of housing stress amongst low income householdsand especially renters, and declining affordability of home purchase in major cities.

Click here to read the submission



Negative gearing will not help “ordinary” Australians

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) and the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) recently commissioned a report “Australian Housing Investment: Analysis of negative gearing and CGT discount for residential property”.  A PCA article cites the report to argue that negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts (CGT) for property investors are good for the country, countering recent criticism of these measures contributing to house price inflation.  PCA also advocates for the same measure as the correct approach to investment and savings tax treatments and points to a number of “myths” about negative gearing and CGT.  In this article, National Shelter challenges the PCA statements, encouraging readers to look at the bigger picture.

Recent public criticisms of negative gearing and CGT include claims that both measures are:

  • Too generous for high income earners;
  • Contributing to house price inflation by fueling demand without a commensurate supply strategy;
  • Not the most productive application of housing investment; and
  • Not adding to new builds because most investors purchase existing rather than new housing.

Click here to read the whole article


Renters left to suffer while we wait and wait for tax reform 

Peak housing group National Shelter says the budget failed the fairness test the government trumpeted and the Commonwealth must now lead a nationally coordinated effort to address the affordable housing crisis. 

While stimulus was provided to small business and child care and parental leave received attention, nothing was done to relieve the housing stress experienced by over 1 million Australian households.

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said “Rents are the largest household cost faced by every struggling family, they have been rising rapidly, but renters got nothing from the budget.”

“If we are serious about reducing welfare costs we need to address the market failure not wait for market magic to fix the problem.”




Read more here




Senate Inquiry findings show urgent need for budget action on housing

Housing Policy Peak National Shelter has pointed to the findings of the Senate Economics Committee Inquiry into Housing Affordability as clear evidence of the need for urgent budget action. 

The Inquiry found that far too many Australian households live in housing stress, struggle to find adequate accommodation, pay too much and face homelessness as a consequence.

“The Government must respond to the Senate Inquiry by boosting social housing investment, signalling tax reform and reinvigorating the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS),” National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said.   

Click here to read more

Rental crisis illustrated by Anglicare snapshot 

Anglicare today released their annual snapshot which confirms how little available and affordable housing exists for low income households.

National Shelter supports Anglicare's call for a national plan to address the shrinking levels of public and private rental housing.

Read the full release here 

Peaks essential to consultation processes

Wed, 11 February, 2015

Australia’s housing and homelessness peaks - from National Shelter, Community Housing Federation of Australia and Homelessness Australia - have issued a joint statement calling on the Abbott Government to make good on their promise to be more consultative by restoring funding to the peak bodies who provide a voice for vulnerable Australians.

Read the full release here

Media Release: Productivity Commission report signals growing rental crisis

28 January 2015

Housing policy peak National Shelter has called on the government to immediately rethink its approach to housing assistance in the wake of damning findings of the Productivity Commission Report on Government Services (ROGS).  

“The Report clearly demonstrates that the government’s approach has failed struggling Australian households who are simply unable to house themselves affordably,” Mr Pisarski said. 

National housing & homelessness peaks issue joint statement on defunding decision

It’s not going to be a good Christmas for housing and homelessness peak bodies including the Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA), Homelessness Australia and National Shelter.  All three of these peak bodies received news at the beginning of this Christmas week that they would not be funded beyond 30 June 2015. 

But this news is a blow beyond undermining Christmas festivities for the people directly involved in these organisations.  These organisations provided a voice in Canberra for the challenges faced in securing affordable housing and keeping a roof over the heads of our most vulnerable citizens.

Without strong national peak bodies, government decision makers will be free to ignore housing and homelessness, leaving one of the biggest welfare issues: whether families can get and keep a home, out in the cold.

See the rest of the joint statement here

National Shelter defunded days before Christmas!

As Scott Morrison takes the baton on the Social Services ministry, the Commonwealth has flagged a move away from funding housing and homelessness. 

In his last act at DSS Minister Andrews axed funding from research and peak bodies in the area.

On the eve of Christmas the Federal Government has tried to silence the voices of the vulnerable by reneging on contracts with peak bodies including National Shelter, the Community Housing Federation of Australia and Homelessness Australia.

See our media release.

Anti-poverty week media release

national Shelter's Anti-poverty week message: reform housing system or face new wave of poverty

Research reports from 2012-13 and 2013-14 available

The report of the National Shelter consultation on the strengths and weaknesses of the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the report prepared by Shere consulting on the financial impact of asset transfers to community housing organisations are now available on-line.

EO, Adrian Pisarski, considers the implications of Federalism white paper

In this article Adrian looks at the White Paper on the federation and asks whether it's time to chage the direction of funding and responsibilities for housing between the Commonwealth and the states.

Hear Shelter EO on national housing issues on Radio Adelaide

Hear Shelter EO Adian Pisarski on the regular radio program hosted by Shelter SA, 'Housing Matters'. Adrian's just discussed the Federal Budget here; and listen to an earlier interview by following this link.

There's plenty of other housing issues covered too on this on-line link. - Adrian will be back on soon too.

Federal budget abandons affordable housing

The first budget of the Coalition government has abolished the only program aimed at addressing affordable housing (NRAS), has limited funding for homelessness under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness to the one year already announced, and with it's savage cuts to income support for young people, pensioners and most low-income households will inevitably throw many more into housing poverty and homelssness.  See the our Budget 2014 media release for a full response.

Shelter makes submission to the Senate Inquiry into Affordable Housing

Shelter has made a comprehensive submission to the Senate inquiry into affordable housing. 

 It is based on our policy platform, Meeting Australias Housing Challenges developed over a number of years in consultation with our members across the country, as well as more recent consultations we’ve conducted around the National Affordable Housing Agreement. It has two parts: Australias Housing Challenges is  our analysis of the current Australian housing system; and the second part responds specifically to the terms of reference.

The inquiry into affordable housing was referred to the Senate Economics References Committee on 12 December, 2013. It's due to report by 26 June 2014. the Senate referred anfor inquiry and report. 

National Shelter appoints new Executive Officer

National Shelter has entered a new phase with its first full-time executive officer for 18 years.  The new EO is Adrian Pisarski.Adrian is not at all new to National Shelter or to housing policy.  He has been the Chairperson of National Shelter for the past nine years and executive officer of Queensland Shelter for 11 years.  Adrian was also National Shelter’s representative on the National Affordable Housing Summit Group that shaped the policy proposals that later became NRAS.  He has been a board member and Deputy-president of ACOSS for the past six years.But while this work for Shelter has been extensive, the Chair’s role has been largely voluntary.  Shelter’s work has been undertaken mainly on a project basis with contractors, consultants or projects undertaken jointly with State or Territory Shelters.With a new government, it will be a new environment for housing policy.  The appointment of Adrian to continue the work of National Shelter means it will be well placed to respond.

Abolition of the COAG Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services and the Select Council on Housing and Homelessness

At its 13 December meeting COAG agreed that its Council system should be streamlined and refocussed on COAG’s priorities over the next 12–18 months. The current 22 COAG Councils will be replaced by only eight.  These two councils that oversaw housing were responsible for “an integrated approach to the related policy areas of housing supply, social and affordable housing and homelessness… drive an effective national response to reducing homelessness in Australia, and coordinate housing policy reform”, including overseeing the NAHA and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. It’s unclear how these goals will be pursued now.

Abolition of the National Housing Supply Council

The Government has announced that the National Housing Supply Council has been abolished.  This is a serious concern, since it provided vital information for the industry as well as government about the housing supply gap in Australia and the gap in affordable housing.  Its functions are to be managed within existing departmental resources – in this case Treasury. 

Abolition of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Homelessness

In his first major speech the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, announced that The Prime Minister’s Council on Homeless would be wound back.  The government has since announced that its functions will be rolled into the Social Services Ministerial Advisory Council.

Election 2013

National Shelter calls for the major parties to commit to action on housing affordability.  In our media release we express alarm at the lack of announcement by either Labor or the Coaolition in the election campaign.

In our submission on the Exposure Draft Social Security Legislation Amendment (Public Housing Tenants’ Support) Bill 2013, we express our lack of support for the introduction to the Housing Payment Deduction Scheme. We think that the scheme unnecessarily and unfairly targets a very small proportion of households, and we recommend that all levels of government fund further preventative and capacity-building measures so that households are much less likely to have rental arrears. See our submission.

We have updated our quick guide to national housing data, the Housing Australia factsheet.

In a media release issued on 28 March 2013, we welcomed the Commonwealth, state and territory governments’ commitment to ending homelessness (regarding 2013–14 funding under the National Partnership on Homelessness) and the announcement of a Round 5 of incentives under the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

On 30 October 2012, on the eve of the National Housing Conference, National Shelter launched its new policy priorities statement, 'Meeting housing challenges'. In a media release issued to mark the launch, National Shelter called on the federal government to develop a national housing strategy. Read the final summary or the draft long version of the policy priorities statement.

Sick of housing jargon? See our housing terms factsheet.

We support Australians For Affordable Housing a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations formed to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia and we urge you to support their campaign.

26 August 2015 

Housing policy peak National Shelter will be at the National Reform Summit today to argue that housing tax reform and long term Commonwealth leadership on housing affordability are essential to achieving the aims of the Reform Summit. 

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski will be there to live tweet the event with commentary on the housing measures necessary to achieve the reform agendas around productivity and living standards. 

“Economies are made up of households and the single biggest factor in households thriving, or not, is housing availability and affordability,” Mr Pisarski said. 

“National Shelter is seriously concerned that the Commonwealth Government has been signalling an exit from housing policy - a ludicrous situation when negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions have such huge impacts on housing markets.

“We need a National Housing Strategy to underpin Australian productivity and living standards agendas.

“The ‘get a good job’ tactic doesn’t work if there is not a house to be had within commuting range of that job and Sydney and Melbourne don’t have sufficient jobs at that level. 

“The Federal Government must be leaders in housing strategy, for the sake of both our economy and living standards.”

Follow @AdrianPisarski and @NationalShelter for live tweeting of the National Reform Summit. 





Affordable housing peak body National Shelter has renewed its call for tax reform on housing, citing figures released by Greens leaders today.
Figures prepared for the Greens by the Parliamentary Budget Office show potential revenue savings of between $74b and $127b over ten years by reforming Capital Gains Tax Discounts introduced in 1999.
National Shelter has argued that the discounts, introduced by the Howard government, are over generous but also have perverse impacts on property markets.
“CGT discounts combine with negative gearing to encourage speculative investment in rental property, inflate house prices and do very little to add new supply,’ according to National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski.
“By providing unnecessary incentives to investors who compete for the same limited supply of property with owner occupiers, these measures have helped inflate prices and reduce owner occupation levels.”
“Nor have they kept a lid on rents as rents have risen faster than CPI, faster than incomes and put hundreds of thousands of households into poverty.” Mr Pisarski added.
National Shelter has supported measures suggested by the Henry Tax review to reduce the benefits of CGT discounts and negative gearing but today’s figures suggest more may be done.
“The figures released today show all parties must relook at reviewing the tax treatment of housing.”
“With a million households in housing stress and over a hundred thousand experiencing homelessness we need additional funding for affordable housing programs and expanded homelessness responses.”
“So far we have only seen cuts and delays to housing assistance and denial of the need for reforms in these areas.”
“The government is also considering withdrawing from housing when we need additional spending and these figures show where the money might come from. We congratulate the Greens on this initiative.” Mr Pisarski concluded.




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