National Shelter is Australia’s peak housing advocacy organisation.
We are dedicated to advocating for a fairer, more just housing system, particularly for low-income Australian households. We aim to make housing more accessible, affordable, appropriate, safe and secure for everyone.
Shelter members in each state and territory contribute to our research, policy development and advocacy. Our federation of members and national member organisations represent a wide range of non-government housing organisations and individuals.
We see Australia as facing four key housing challenges in 2013:
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.
On 12 December, the Senate referred an inquiry into affordable housing to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report. Submissions should be received by 25 March 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.