This research investigates the rationale for an Australian Housing and Homelessness Strategy. Applying contemporary thinking about the role of governments in complex problem-solving, and lessons from other ‘national approaches’ here and internationally, it sets out options for achieving cohesive, co-ordinated action on housing and homelessness in the Australian federation.
The landmark UN project Housing2030 conceives of good housing policy governance deriving from clear strategic frameworks, mission-focused institutions, capable stakeholders, long-term leadership and commitment. It typically requires multi-level governance, based on long-term agreements. It is also open to monitoring and critique, strengthens the voice of marginalised groups, learns from mistakes and adapts when necessary. In this way a national housing strategy can be market-shaping and transformative, addressing causes of well understood challenges, designing relevant policies and programs to ensure adequate housing for all.
Australia’s primary housing and homelessness mission should be that everyone in Australia has adequate housing. Australian legislation should place an obligation on the Housing Minister to make an Australian Housing and Homelessness Strategy, as well as obligations to regularly report on progress and periodically evaluate and review the strategy.
International experience shows the vital role played by dedicated housing agencies co-ordinating the development and implementation of strategies, and, with development, Housing Australia is well placed to be Australia’s lead housing agency and to present the public face of the Strategy as it progresses.