News & Publications


Latest News


Compass Housing Services News Expand All Close All


09 Dec 2018

Australia’s human rights legacy tarnished by housing woes

70 years ago this week, the international community adopted the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). In the wake of a half century characterised by two world wars responsible for the destruction of more than 50 million human beings, the UDHR was conceived as a beacon of reason and decency with which the global community might light the way forward. 

Although the horrors that presaged its birth would have made it easy to dismiss as a Panglossian fantasy, the UDHR was nevertheless a much-needed affirmation of the essential dignity of humanity. And while its aims may have been utopian, it meant the international community, for the first time, had an agreed set of principles by which nations could be judged. “From now on,” it said,” wherever in the world you happen to live, and whatever system of government happens to prevail there, by virtue of your humanity alone, you are entitled to these essential protections.”

Perhaps due to the genesis of the UDHR being inextricably linked with the Second World War, we tend to think of human rights in terms of the prevention of genocide, or the protection of refugees. Less thought is given to those rights that go to the ability of individuals and families to enjoy a standard of living adequate for their health and wellbeing. Yet in the developed world at least, it is these rights that are perhaps most under threat. Nowhere is this more true than in Australia where housing costs in particular are denying millions of people the ability to provide a safe and secure environment for themselves and their families.

In 2007 a United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing visited Australia and reported that we had failed to address this fundamental human right, primarily due to there being no national plan. More than ten years later, very little has changed.

Over the past 20 years median rents in Australia have increased significantly above inflation and, when it comes to purchase prices, Australia remains among the most expensive places in the world. Although prices have begun to trend lower in recent months, the almost exponential growth of recent years means putting a roof over our heads still takes a much bigger slice of our income than it used to. The sad truth is that for prices in Australia to return to a level that would be considered affordable by international standards, we would need to see falls of more than 50% in some markets. The broader economic consequences of such a crash hardly bear thinking about.

The impact of high rents and purchase prices have been amplified by our country’s failure to maintain an adequate supply of social and affordable housing. A new report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), says 730,000 new social and affordable housing properties are needed in Australia by 2036. A significant amount of this shortfall exists right now. As we prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, it is totally unacceptable that a country as wealthy as Australia should be unable to provide its citizens with the basic human right to adequate housing. After all, it’s not as if we don’t know how.

On the contrary, the solutions to Australia’s housing problem are well known. What is missing is the political will. “Everybody’s Home” is a national campaign put together by housing experts that seeks to gather political support for those solutions. There are 5 simple things our Government can do to fix Australia’s housing system so that it works for everyone:

  1. Reset our tax system to make it fairer for ordinary Australians wanting to buy a home.
  2. Appoint a minister for housing and develop a national housing strategy to deliver 500,000 social and affordable rental homes.
  3. Improve renters’ rights throughout Australia by getting rid of “no grounds” evictions and unfair rent rises.
  4. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance for the thousands of Australians who are struggling to pay the rent.
  5. Develop a National Plan to end homelessness by 2030.

Some will argue that adopting these solutions would be too expensive, and it is true that building that amount of new housing would require substantial investment from the Australian Government. But at approximately $9 billion a year, it is certainly not impossible, particularly when the Commonwealth currently foregoes around $62 billion of potential revenue each year through various home ownership subsidies. Making it happen is just a matter of priorities. There is even a local precedent. In the decade following World War II, the Australian Government partnered with the states to build 670,000 homes. We need to see that kind of vision again.

If you think housing is your biggest and most important cost of living pressure, it is time to make housing an election issue. Visit www.everybodyshome.com.au to make sure your voice is heard.  

ENDS


Greg Budworth is the group managing director of Compass Housing Services, and the Vice President of UN Habitat’s General Assembly of Partners.

Keep Reading
05 Dec 2018

Compass helps community say NO to violence against women

Compass Housing has again helped the Newcastle and Hunter community to come together to say no to male violence against women as the major sponsor of the region’s White Ribbon Day breakfast #WhiteRibbonHunter.

More than 400 people attended the sold out event on November 30. Compass has been the event’s major sponsor for the past three years.
White Ribbon Day ambassador and chair of the breakfast organising committee, Jon Chin, said Compass’ support is vital to the success of the event and its goals of raising awareness about White Ribbon and encouraging men to take action to eliminate male violence towards women.

Compass Housing staff members, Corporate Projects and Sustainability Manager, Jandy McCandless, and Social and Affordable Housing Manager, Michael Nolan, both bravely gave powerful, personal accounts of their experience of violence against women.

The main guest speaker was 23 year old Maddison Passarelli. The day after her 21st birthday she saw her mother in a Mid North Coast hospital, battered, bruised with her hair completely shaven off as a result of domestic violence. Since then she has been fiercely advocating for survivors of domestic violence and demanding for their stories to be heard and considered. Port Stephens’ based White Ribbon ambassador, Roger Yeo, whose daughter Rachelle was murdered in her home in 2012, and NSW Police Northern Region DV sponsor and event emcee, Superintendent John Gralton, joined Maddison on a panel to discuss how men can break the silence about violence towards women. 

Attendees held a minutes silence while 63 women stood to represent the number of Australian women who had died thus far in 2018 because of male violence.

Mr Chin said the support of Compass and other sponsors also enabled the committee to pay for more almost 80 students from 18 local high schools to attend the breakfast. He said breaking the cycle of violence starts with educating young people. 

Proceeds from this year’s event went to help NAPCAN to expand its school-based domestic and family violence and sexual assault prevention program, Love Bites, in the Hunter. 
Sponsoring the breakfast is not the only action Compass has taken this year. In July,  White Ribbon morning teas were held at four Compass offices.  Thanks to the generosity of Compass employees and Compass partners - Monica Clare Recruitment, Forsythes Training, Barr Property & Planning and Hall & Wilcox Lawyers – more than $4,300 was raised for White Ribbon Australia. 

White Ribbon Day is an annual, male led, international day for the elimination of violence towards women held on November 25 each year. It was started in Canada in the early 1990s to remember the deaths of 14 women who were massacred by a man at a technical college in Montreal. 
The White Ribbon Oath is: “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men's violence against women”.


STATISTICS

  • Domestic and family violence is the principal cause of homelessness for women and children 
  • One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence towards them by someone known to them 
  • One in five women over the age of 18 have been stalked 
  • Violence against women and children costs the Australian economy $14.4 billion.
Keep Reading
29 Oct 2018

International conference on affordable living in sustainable cities in Newcastle Nov 1-3

MEDIA ALERT - International conference on affordable living in sustainable cities in Newcastle Nov 1-3

Congress Opening: November 1 from 815am to 9.20am in the Concert Hall, Newcastle City Hall

Congress chair: Greg Budworth, Vice Chair, UN Habitat General Assembly of Partners and Compass Housing group managing director

Keynote speaker: Senator Claire Moore, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific

Welcome to country: The Wakagetti Indigenous Dance Team

Welcome to Newcastle: Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cr Nuatali Nelmes

Welcome to congress: Yb Puan Hajah Zuraida Bindi Kamaruddin, Minister for Housing and Local Government, Malaysia, and EAROPH President International

NB. In the last session on Friday at 4:30pm at Civic Theatre the congress’ Newcastle Declaration will be unveiled as will the winners of a local school art competition as judged by delegates.

Delegates from around Australia and overseas are about to descend on Newcastle this week for a major international conference on affordable living in sustainable cities.

In a coup for the region, Compass Housing is bringing the Affordable Living in Sustainable Cities international congress, jointly convened by the New Urban Agenda (NUA) Standing Conference and by EAROPH as its 2018 World Congress.

Congress organising chairman, Compass Housing’s Professor David Adamson OBE, said the conferences will feature national and world experts on implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the NUA, the outcome document from the UN Habitat lll Conference held in Quito in 2016.

Key note speakers include:

  • Senator Claire Moore, shadow minister for International Development and the Pacific
  • Yb Puan Hajah Zuraida Bindi Kamaruddin, Malaysia’s Minister for Housing and Local Government and EAROPH president international
  • Dr Peter Cuming, MD, Sustainable Futures Australia, Collaborative Planning for Sustainable Futures, Leadership by Local, Regional and State Authorities
  • Michael Nolan, director United Nations Global Compact-Cities Programme
  • Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts, Tom Farrell Institute
  • Dr Nathaniel Bavington, smart city coordinator, City of Newcastle
  • Anthony Kent, University of Melbourne
  • Karabaiti Taoboa, Pacific director, Commonwealth Local Government Association
  • Professor Ralph Horne, RMIT University
  • Prof Will Rifkin, chair in applied regional economics, Hunter Research Foundation, University of Newcastle
  • Katherine O’Regan, ED, Cities Leadership Institute
  • Mark Glover, CEO, Australian Industrial Ecology Network
  • Mizuo Kishita, Urban Public Design Centre, Japan
  • Jenny Hayward, senior research scientist, CSIRO
  • Associate Professor Graham Brewer, executive director, CIFAL Newcastle

Four local schools are participating in an art competition. The works will be dispayed at the Congress Expo in the Civic Theatre. Delegates and visitors will vote for the winning entry.

At the closing session in Civic Theatre on Friday at 430pm, the congress’ Newcastle Declaration will be unveiled and the art competition winners will be announced.

Professor Adamson said the congress will showcase existing and planned actions that support the achievement of the SDGS and NUA. He said a key objective is to develop synergy between these two critically important frameworks. Congress themes cover the full range of Sustainable Development Goals and address social issues such as housing, poverty, health and hunger as well as physical issues in the urban environment such as water, sanitation, transport and energy.

“These two agreements are closely connected; the NUA is the delivery vehicle for implementing SDGs in urban settlements,” Prof Adamson said. 

“There are 17 SDGs that commit nations to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all,” he said.

“Australian cities are not affordable or sustainable, so it is vital that we work together on solutions.”

He said hosting the Congress was a coup for a regional centre such as Newcastle bringing a boost to the region’s economy.

The Congress will be held at City Hall from November 1 to 3. It is being supported by local organisations including City of Newcastle, Hunter Water and Fly Pelican, as well as RMIT University and the Global Cities Compact Committee. The first Implementing the NUA Congress was held in Melbourne in May 2017.

Australia is one of 193 nations to adopt the 2015 SDGs and one of 167 signatory nations to the NUA.

For more information on the congress, visit www.nuaconference.com

The 17 SDGs are below. Information on how the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda align is available at https://www.sdgsnewurbanagenda.com.

Keep Reading
08 Oct 2018

Meet and Greet Sessions for Transferring Tenants

From mid-2019 Hunter based Compass Housing Services will take on the management of an additional 1796 social housing tenancies in the Cessnock, Singleton, Dungog, Mid-coast and Muswellbrook local government areas as part of the Social Housing Management Transfer initiative.

The NSW Government will maintain ownership of all of the properties subject to management transfers and will lease them to Compass for 20 years to provide social housing.

Tenants will remain in their homes, retain all of their tenancy rights and will not pay more rent from their current income as a result of this change.

Over the months ahead, tenants will be given several opportunities to meet Compass staff and ask any questions they may have about the transfer, this includes a series of Meet and Greets sessions which will be held throughout October.
In the Meet and Greet sessions to be held in Cessnock, Taree and Singleton, transferring tenants will be treated to a presentation on Compass and the transfer process, a free lunch, prizes and giveaways.

RSVPs to 1300 333 733.

The details of the Meet and Greet sessions as follows:

Venue Address Date Time
Cessnock Leagues Club

1 Darwin Street Cessnock

Wednesday 17 October 11am-2pm
Club Taree 121 Wingham Road Taree Thursday 25 October 2018 11am-2pm
Singleton Diggers Club Dorsman Drive Singleton Wednesday  31 October 2018 11am-2pm

 

Keep Reading
27 Sep 2018

Affordable Living in Sustainable Cities Congress Launch

Compass Housing Services along with business, community and political leaders and the media, attended a briefing on the Affordable Living in Sustainable Cities Congress yesterday. 

In a coup for the region, Compass Housing is bringing the Affordable Living in Sustainable Cities international congress, to Newcastle in November. The congress will be jointly convened by the New Urban Agenda (NUA) Standing Conference and by EAROPH as its 2018 World Congress.

Congress organising chairman, Compass Housing’s Professor David Adamson OBE, said the congress will feature national and world experts on implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document from the UN Habitat lll Conference held in Quito in 2016.

Key note speakers include:

  • Senator Claire Moore, shadow minister for International Development and the Pacific
  • Yb Puan Hajah Zuraida Bindi Kamaruddin, Minister for Housing and Local Government, Malaysia
  • Peter Cuming, MD, Sustainable Futures Australia, Collaborative Planning for Sustainable Futures, Leadership by Local, Regional and State Authorities
  • Michael Nolan, director United Nations Global Compact-Cities Programme
  • Karabaiti Taoboa, Pacific director, Commonwealth Local Government Association
  • Professor Ralph Horne, RMIT University
  • Prof Will Rifkin, chair in applied regional economics, Hunter Research Foundation, University of Newcastle
  • Katherine O’Regan, ED, Cities Leadership Institute
  • Mark Glover, CEO, Australian Industrial Ecology Network
  • Mizuo Kishita, Urban Public Design Centre, Japan
  • Syarifah Nuraida Tuan Mohd Apandi, Federal Department of Town and Country Planning, Malaysia
  • Wan Nur Amirah Binti, Wan Yahya, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Malaysia
  • Jenny Hayward, senior research scientist, CSIRO
  • Associate Professor Graham Brewer, executive director, CIFAL Newcastle

 

Professor Adamson said the congress will showcase existing and planned actions that support the achievement of the SDGS and NUA. He said a key objective is to develop synergy between these two critically important frameworks. Congress themes cover the full range of Sustainable Development Goals and address social issues such as housing, poverty, health and hunger as well as physical issues in the urban environment such as water, sanitation, transport and energy.

“These two agreements are closely connected; the NUA is the delivery vehicle for implementing SDGs in urban settlements.” 

“There are 17 SDGs that commit nations to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all.”

“Australian cities are not affordable or sustainable, so it is vital that we work together on solutions.”

Professor Adamson said hosting the Congress was a coup for a regional centre such as Newcastle bringing a boost to the region’s economy. More than 300 delegates from around Australia are expected to attend the Newcastle Congress as well as some international dignitaries.

Today’s launch will outline work being done by local organisations that are already implementing SDGs into their planning. City of Newcastle has incorporated the SDGs into its community strategic plan. Hunter Water has adopted the SDGs, aligning them with its 2017+3 Strategy.  

Hunter Water’s managing director Jim Bentley said Hunter Water was proud to support the NUA Congress.

“As an enabler of the sustainable growth of the Lower Hunter, we have a key role to play as a partner in delivering good development,” Mr Bentley said.

“The NUA Congress provides a unique opportunity to bring together international thought leaders and to showcase the leadership of our region in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda,” he said.

The Congress will be held at City Hall from November 1 to 2. It is being supported by local organisations including City of Newcastle and Hunter Water, as well as RMIT University and the Global Cities Compact Committee. Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available. The first NUA Congress held in Melbourne in May 2017 attracted 240 delegates from 11 countries.

Australia is one of 193 nations to adopt the 2015 SDGs and one of 167 signatory nations to the NUA.

For more information about the conference visit www.nuaconference.com

 

Keep Reading
Accessibility ×
Interface
Adjust the interface to make it easier to use for different conditions.
This renders the document in high contrast mode.
This renders the document as white on black
This can help those with trouble processing rapid screen movements.
This loads a font easier to read for people with dyslexia.