ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Canberra Day Celebrations highlight tale of two cities

14 March 2016

Joint media release: My Vote For Housing Campaign - ACTCOSS & ACT Shelter

As we gather to celebrate Canberra Day and to mark the naming of our city just over a century ago the ACT Council of Social Service and ACT Shelter, peak bodies advocating for affordable housing and responding better to homelessness, have issued four unique new short videos to remind us all of the reality of poverty and disadvantage that lies under the surface in our community.  

The videos are part of a campaign called My Vote For Housing which is an initiative of ACTCOSS and ACT Shelter. My Vote For Housing invites voters and candidates to make affordable housing and reducing homelessness the heart of the ACT election due on 15 October 2016.

According to Susan Helyar, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service, “While we join in celebrating the achievements of our city we also need to acknowledge there is a Canberra we don’t often talk about which is in stark contrast to the way our city is often presented.  

“We celebrate Canberra as liveable, beautiful, affluent and filled with possibilities and it certainly can be all these things. But it can also be a very expensive place to live where people are one illness, adverse life event or missed pay-check away from the precipice of unaffordable housing.  

“There have been two Canberras from the day we were named – a national capital of public institutions sitting alongside a place where people make their home. More recently we have become a city divided between affluence and poverty. We need to acknowledge that and agree that we can reduce the divide if we make housing and homelessness key issues in our election year,” Ms Helyar said.  

Travis Gilbert, Executive Officer for ACT Shelter, said, “Offering a gentle counterpoint to well-known campaigns which promote Canberra, these videos highlight a Canberra we don’t see but which is just as true.  

“A Canberra where: a study found that over 50% of women sampled escaping domestic violence lost their homes within a year; more people are exiting homelessness services without a place to call home; all blocks in a new #CBR suburb were nabbed within 3 minutes; rents jumped from $450 to $470 per week over the past year; and where we have the 2nd highest rate of homelessness in Australia,” Mr Gilbert said.    

Check out the videos on our website, YouTube channel via or below: 

Liveable Canberra

Beautiful Canberra

Affluent Canberra

City of possibilities

For comment please contact:
Susan Helyar, Director, ACTCOSS on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.
Travis Gilbert, Executive Officer, ACT Shelter Inc on 0420 699 405 or 02 6247 3727.

Authorised by Susan Helyar. My Vote For Housing is an initiative of ACTCOSS and ACT Shelter.