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29 May 2019

Compass Housing welcomes new ministerial appointments in new look Federal Cabinet

Local community-based housing provider Compass Housing Services (Compass) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of Michael Sukkar as Minister for Housing and Luke Howarth as Assistant Minister for Community Housing and Homelessness in his new look Cabinet.

Compass one of many housing experts as well as social services advocates and providers that have been long calling for a dedicated Minister for Housing as part of action needed to fix Australia’s broken housing system.

The Federal Government did not previously have a Minister for Housing.

Compass’ Acting CEO Lisa Tierney said housing is a basic human right and need and is fundamentally important to other parts of people’s lives including work, study, families and relationships.

Ms Tierney said given so many people are struggling with housing affordability or rental affordability and that homelessness is on the rise it is vital to have a national minister to focus and integrate action.

She hopes the ministers will work with other counterparts responsible for infrastucture, jobs and community services to develop national plans for housing and to end homelessness.

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Lexi Crouch Plastic Police and Compass' Jandy McCandless
11 Apr 2019

Compass Housing joins Plastic Police®

Compass Housing is the first Hunter based not for profit organisation and first community housing organisation to sign up to the Plastic Police® recycling program.

Compass is in the process of setting up soft plastic recycling stations - one at its Hamilton head office, one at Muswellbrook South State School and one at its Central Coast Community hub known as The Meeting Place.

Plastic Police® is a Hunter-based circular economy program that diverts soft (scrunchable) plastics from landfill to be recycled into useful products for schools, councils, businesses and community groups. It is an initiative of local business waste consultant Samantha Cross from Cross Connections Consulting.

Samantha said Plastic Police® is a more than just a recycling program. It is a community engagement program to close the loop on wasted resources. 

“At the moment, 300,000 tonnes of soft plastic are sent to landfill every year in Australia.” Samantha said.

“Our aim is to turn as much of this material as possible back into useful products, to avoid material ending up in landfills or oceans, or being shipped overseas to be recycled,” She said.

She urged local businesses and industry to join Compass Housing in thinking about opportunities to recycle soft plastic and incorporate locally made recycled plastic products into their production processes.

“We want to get organisations and businesses playing a role in purchasing or incorporating products made from reprocessed and recycled materials to ensure local end market demand,” she said.

Compass Housing Sustainability Manager Jandy McCandless said joining the Plastic Police® program represented another plank in the company’s growing sustainability platform.

“Compass is aligning its business operations to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to plays its part in ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all,” she said.

“Plastic Police® is a powerful and practical demonstration of the power of local action to create positive change.”

To find out more about Plastic Police® visit

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14 Mar 2019

Hunter delegation to attend Sydney rally to make housing a NSW election issue

A delegation of 30 people from various Newcastle and Hunter based organisations will travel to Sydney Town Hall on Thursday March 14 to take part in the Assembly on Affordable Housing, Energy & Rental Reform (#TownHallAssembly19).

The delegation, led by Compass Housing, includes representatives from NOVA for Women, Uniting, BaptistCare and members of the Hunter’s Big Ideas Homelessness Network.

Compass spokesperson Professor David Adamson said according to organisers, Sydney Alliance, the assembly is the largest public event about cost of living issues ever held in Australia. More than 2400 community leaders are now registered to hear from real Australians sharing their everyday struggle with housing insecurity, rental affordability and energy costs.

He said at the assembly, state and federal politicians will be asked to commit to a suite of housing and energy costs including:

  • at least 5000 new social housing homes a year in NSW to meet the housing needs of families on low and very low incomes in our communities;
  • more security for renters by removing ‘no grounds’ evictions in NSW
  • a real funded 10 year plan to end homelessness in NSW
  • increased targets for affordable housing in new developments
  • a review of Minimum Standards of Rental Houses and Energy Efficiency Standards.

“We thought it important for Hunter organisations to attend the assembly on behalf of Hunter people who are struggling to keep a roof over their head.”

“Housing is a fundamental human right that impacts everyone and is essential for people to work, study and contribute to the community.”

“With high rents and house prices, rising homelessness rates, and long waits for social housing in the Hunter and across NSW, housing issues should be a key election issue.”

“We need the NSW government to lobby and work with the Australian Government to develop a national housing plan.”

Last year Compass Housing published the inaugural Affordable Housing Income Gap Report which showed median rents in Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens are unaffordable given median incomes in those areas. The latest 2016 Census figures show homelessness rates are on the rise, up 12% in the Hunter since the last Census.

Professor Adamson said one way Newcastle and Hunter residents can help to keep housing reform as an issue across all levels of government is to sign up to the Everybody’s Home campaign at People and organisations can also sign the Hunter pledge to end homelessness at

Politicians and party leaders from all sides of parliament have committed to attend the assembly including:

  • Doug Cameron, Shadow Housing and Homelessness Spokesperson
  • Mehreen Faruqui, Greens Spokesperson on Housing
  • Don Harwin, NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities
  • Adam Searle, NSW Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change
  • Jenny Leong, NSW Greens Housing spokesperson
  • Alex Greenwich (Independent)
  • Paul Green NSW MLC (Christian Democratic Party).



Media information: Craig Eardley on 0437477493. Not the assembly is a registration only event, not an open public event. Visit

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01 Mar 2019


Leading community housing provider Compass Housing Services has appointed Professor Caroline McMillen as its newest board member.

Professor McMillen is the current Chief Scientist for South Australia and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle.  She holds a BA (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford and completed her medical training graduating with an MB BChir from the University of Cambridge.

Compass Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said Professor McMillen brought impressive expertise to the Compass board.

“In addition to her impressive academic career, Professor McMillen has extensive experience as a company director having served on the Boards of the Australian Business Higher Education Round Table, Universities Australia, the Universities Admissions Centre and as a Business Events Sydney Ambassador,” he said.

“She has also served on international disciplinary bodies, research policy and assessment panels and industry groups, including the Australia Automotive Industry Innovation Council, the South Australian Premier’s Climate Change Council and the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council.”

Professor McMillen said she looked forward to working with a company that played a vital role on the frontline of the housing crisis. 

“As both a service provider and housing advocate, Compass sets the standard within the community housing industry,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to working with my fellow directors and rest of the team as the company pursues its vision for a world in which all people have safe and adequate housing and are engaged in sustainable communities.”


Media contact: Martin Kennedy 0418 353 913


Further information:

Professor Caroline McMillen commenced in the role as Chief Scientist for South Australia in October 2018 after serving as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle for 7 years between 2011 and 2018. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales and a Bragg Member of the Royal Institution, Australia. 

She has served in academic leadership positions at Monash University, the University of Adelaide and at the University of South Australia where she held the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation.

Professor McMillen’s research focussed on the early origins of metabolic and cardiovascular health in adult life and she was a member of the PMSEIC Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternal, fetal and post-natal health.  She is also an active champion for girls and women in science and she was a Member of the Expert Advisory Group for Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE). 

Throughout her career Professor McMillen has been committed to building collaborations between universities, government, industry and communities that drive innovation and have a positive impact on the economic, social and cultural health of Australia.


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12 Feb 2019

Infrastructure bill necessary for growth: Greg Budworth

The NSW government's proposed Hunter Region Special Infra structure Contribution (SIC) has attracted criticism but things are not as black and white as some critics claim.


It proposes developers of dwellings on recently-rezoned land be charged a levy to help cover the cost of supplying the infrastructure needed to support the Hunter's growing population. It replaces the current system of voluntary planning agreements where developers negotiate contributions for each development.

The government estimates the SIC will raise around half a billion dollars, about 15 per cent of the cost of providing the roads, schools, health and emergency services infrastructure needed to support growth. It says the SIC is simpler, fairer, and will help speed up development. Critics claim the SIC will simply be passed on to consumers, pushing up the price of housing.

The reality is less straightforward. Some developers may try to pass additional costs on to consumers, but final purchase prices will inevitably be a function of consumers' willingness and ability to pay. These in turn are heavily influenced by market sentiment and access to credit.

Faced with this constraint, some developers may choose to factor the cost of the SIC into the price they are willing to pay for undeveloped land. Others may reduce their margin expectations. Some may do both.

It's worth noting the SIC will apply to new developments on land that has recently been, or is identified to be, re-zoned to allow residential or industrial development.

Owners of this land will have benefited from an exponential increase in its value.

It seems reasonable for those who benefit financially from new land releases to contribute to the cost of supporting infrastructure in a consistent way. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.

Developers take on significant risks and play an important role in addressing the region's housingcrisis. It is important they remain profitable. Striking the right balance may involve offering developers limited concessions on floor space or car park ratios in exchange for contributions.

Successful and sustainable communities need more than just homes. They also need public infrastructure.

The question we should be asking is how the cost of providing that infrastructure can be equitably divided amongst the community.

What is vital is that there is an open and transparent process and factual debate.

Greg Budworth is the Group Managing Director, Compass Housing Services, and Vice President, UN Habitat's General Assembly of Partners

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