ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Comprehensive housing strategy first job of new ACT Government

7 October 2016

ACT business, union, community and professionals unite in joint call

Nine leading Canberra industry, community, union and professional groups have united to issue a joint call to action to improve housing in this city one week out from the ACT election.

The meeting was attended by the Property Council, Master Builders Association, the Canberra Business Chamber, ACTCOSS, ACT Shelter, Unions ACT, the Australian Institute of Architects, CHC Affordable Housing and Havelock Housing Association.

This group has welcomed various announcements on housing supply, strategies and related service provision by ACT Labor, The Canberra Liberals and ACT Greens, however, what is needed from all parties is a comprehensive Territory wide Housing Strategy negotiated with the people that design, build, manage, live in and advocate for better housing in Canberra.

Michael Hopkins, Deputy Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of the ACT said, “A group of leaders in our community, including people with differing views on some issues, have in an unprecedented step come together with one voice to say it’s no longer acceptable to ignore the drag that a lack of suitable housing has on the social and economic prosperity of our city." 

Susan Helyar, Director of ACTCOSS said, “We have said that housing problems are currently holding Canberra back from achieving our potential as a city. We need to fix the failures of our housing market so suitable housing is within reach of everyone in our city."

Travis Gilbert, Executive Officer of ACT Shelter said, “We especially need to create housing that is attainable for people in both the first and second income quintiles.  To tackle homelessness we must address housing affordability and reduce inequality. It takes a home to end homelessness.”

Alan Morschel, Chair, ACT Chapter Australian Institute of Architects, “Restrictive planning regulations stifle innovation and limit diversity of housing in established neighbourhoods.  We need a planning process that addresses the gaps in supply and the availability of housing products at the right price and with the right built form.” 

Robyn Hendry, Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Business Chamber said, “This group believes a whole of government Territory-wide Housing Strategy should be within the oversight of a single Minister in the incoming government. The Strategy should ensure that all people in Canberra obtain housing that is affordable, accessible, safe and secure. This is fundamental to underpinning our labour market supply with consideration for all levels of employment.”  


For more information or comment please contact:

Susan Helyar, Director, ACT Council of Social Service – 0448 791 987

Robyn Hendry, Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Business Chamber - 0418 462 151

Michael Hopkins, Deputy Executive Director, Master Builders Association of the ACT – 0419 984 594

Travis Gilbert, Executive Officer, ACT Shelter Inc – 0420 699 405

Alan Morschel, Chair, ACT Chapter Australian Institute of Architects - 0409 826 808


(Authorised by Susan Helyar, Michael Hopkins and Travis Gilbert)


Related documents:

Housing Industry Roundtable Communique: Canberra comes together for housing: an agreed way forward