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15 Mar 2018

Rising homelessness rates shows need for national housing plan

The continuing rise in rates of homelessness shows the urgent need for a national plan for housing says a Hunter based community housing organisation.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday (March 14) released estimates of the prevalence of homelessness from the 2016 census data.

Compass Housing’s knowledge manager Professor David Adamson OBE said there were 116,427 people classified as being homeless on 2016 Census night, up from 102,439 in 2011. The homeless rate was 50 persons for every 10,000, up 5% from the 48 persons in 2011 and up on the 45 persons in 2006.

Professor Adamson said most of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was reflected in people living in severely crowded dwellings, up from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016. Homeless youth (aged 12 to 24) made up 32% of total homeless persons living in severely crowded dwellings. There were more people living in boarding houses too.

He said homelessness was not a choice people made and it is something as a community we should be working towards eliminating..

“There are many reasons why people are homeless, not just a lack of houses,” Professor Adamson said.

This means we need a plan using a combination of evidence based strategies,” he said.

The fact that Australia does not have a national plan for something as fundamental as housing is astounding and one reason why we are seeing more people experiencing homelessness. 

He said the issue is particularly of concern locally with homelessness rate rising by 27% in NSW.  In the Hunter region, the number of people experiencing homelessness rose by 12% from 1559 to 1747.


Other key statistics:

  • Nearly 60% of homeless people in 2016 were aged under 35 years, and 42% of the increase in homelessness was in the 25 to 34 years age group (up 32% to 24,224 homeless people in 2016);
  • The number of homeless persons aged 55 years and above has steadily increased over the past 3 Census, from 12,461 in 2006, to 14,581 in 2011 and 18,625 in 2016 (a 28% increase between 2011 and 2016).
  • The rate of older persons experiencing homelessness has also increased, from 26 persons per 10,000 of the population in 2011 up to 29 in 2016.
  • The male homelessness rate increased to 58 males per 10,000 males enumerated in the 2016 Census, up from 54 in 2011, while the rate for females remained steady at 42 per 10,000 females.

“A roof over your head is fundamental to your health, well-being and your ability to work or contribute to society in pother ways.” 

“We need a comprehensive national plan for housing to address housing affordability and homelessness.”


Media information: Craig Eardley on 0437 477 493. Prof Adamson is available for interview.

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13 Mar 2018

Everybody's Home Campaign

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The housing and community sectors are launching the Everybody’s Home campaign at the National Press Club on March 20 to bring national attention to reforms urgently needed to fix Australia’s housing system.

The campaign will move Australia’s housing debate beyond questions of housing affordability  – because we all know there is a problem – to the urgently needed solutions.

The campaign calls for urgent reforms across the housing continuum by recalibrating tax settings, supporting larger scale investment in housing models such as community housing, improving renter’s rights to make it a viable housing choice, relieving chronic rental stress and ending homelessness.

Key partners are launching the campaign on the national stage at a National Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, March 20. The day and the following day are also an ideal opportunity to meet with Senators sitting in Canberra that week and get our agenda onto their agenda. We’d love you to join us! REGISTER HERE


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05 Mar 2018

Compass contributes to inquiry: Australian Government’s role in the development of cities

Compass has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the Development of Cities.

In a submission to the Commonwealth Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, Compass offered the following observations:

The Commonwealth needs to be involved in urban development planning and monitoring of cities for several reasons including:

  1. The Commonwealth has given undertakings to the international community in various United Nations forums and General Assembly resolutions concerning cities that it needs to have a role in ensuring fulfilment, for examples the Paris Agreement, Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals) and the New Urban Agenda;
  2. The Commonwealth has a primary role in trade and the national economy which is underpinned by the efficiency of cities and infrastructure requirements, including social infrastructure (e.g. affordable housing);
  3. The Commonwealth has a primary role in immigration policy which is underpinned by the adequate provision of infrastructure, including social infrastructure (e.g. affordable housing) for either immigrating households or those who are displaced from the housing system due to scarcity;
  4. The growing international trend towards polycentric cities and transport hub cities connected by enhanced mobility in mega cities should be logic that is applied to Australia’s east coast and more specifically and obviously between Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney;
  5. Affordable Housing is a key economic as well as social infrastructure investment.


Submission delivered by Greg Budworth, Group Managing Director, Compass Housing Services and Vice President of the General Assembly of Partners to UN Habitat,  2 March 2018.

Research authored by Martin Kennedy, National Communications Manager, Compass Housing Services

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03 Jan 2018

Should we be following Canada's lead on housing?

Community housing provider Compass Housing have proposed that the Australian Government should follow Canada's lead and produce a national housing strategy in order to combat our growing housing crisis.

"For almost 40 years, federated Commonwealth governments around the world have accepted only limited responsibility for housing policy or supply," said Compass group managing director, Greg Budworth.

Canada last month broke this longstanding tradition and released a national strategy called A Place to Call Home, an historic first for them and based on a national conversation begun by the then newly elected Prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Canada's 10-year strategy will cost $40 billion and has key targets that, if achieved, will make it the envy of many nations struggling with the crisis of housing affordability.

"Like Canada, Australia's major population centres routinely feature in lists of the least affordable housing markets in the world, and younger generations are increasingly locked out of home ownership," he said.

"Add to that the fact we have more than 200,000 households on the waiting list for social housing, and that more than 40 per cent of people receiving rent assistance are still in housing stress, and it's clear we have a serious problem on our hands."

Compass is optimistic the Canadian example will encourage further progress towards the delivery of a coordinated and strategic national housing strategy, overseen by a dedicated Minister for Housing.


Media contact: Martin Kennedy 0418 353 913

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Greg Budworth, Compass Group Managing Director
03 Jan 2018

Hunter business leader of the year scores new United Nations’ role

The Hunter’s business leader of the year has also been elected to another more senior role within a United Nations’ sponsored forum and picked up an Australasian award.

Group managing director of Compass Housing Services, Greg Budworth, has been elected as vice president of the UN Habitat General Assembly of Partners (GAP). He was elected after votes by the Executive Council. Mr Budworth is also the co-chair, UN Habitat Civil Society Organisations Partner Constituent Group (PCG). He was re-elected to a second term (2017-19) in that role.

The new role is another string to Mr Budworth’s bow of accolades. He took out the Outstanding Achievement Award for an individual at the Australasian Housing Institute's Awards in Sydney on November 29. He took out the NSW Award in July and was a finalist in the national awards with the other winner from each Australian state and New Zealand.  In August he was named Hunter Business Leader of the Year in the 2017 Hunter Business Awards. The organisation he heads, Compass Housing, was also named Business of the Year.

He said he was honoured to be elected for the GAP role from a group of some esteemed colleagues from around the world.

GAP members contribute to the implementation of Habitat III, a global program advancement of new ideas and ways of doing things in the field of sustainable urban development, and its New Urban Agenda 20-year outcome document.  Mr Budworth contributed to the development of the New Urban Agenda and, along with Australia’s Ambassador to the UN, was part of the Australian delegation at Habitat III.
Mr Budworth said his job was made easier by his excellent team who continually strive for excellence in the provision of housing for tenants and display care, diligence and hard work.

"Community housing is an important piece of community infrastructure that makes a fundamental difference to people's lives," Mr Budworth said.  

 “My vision is for GAP to grows into a wider, more inclusive and engaging consultative platform that gets the New Urban Agenda implemented globally,” he said.
“Locally, I want to see Australia implement the New Urban Agenda including developing a national housing plan linked to other economic development and infrastructure plans.”

Under Mr Budworth’s leadership, Compass Housing has grown to be an international community housing provider managing more than 4,600 properties and community development projects in Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu. It has been an accredited organisation with Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic & Social Council (UNECOSOC) since 2016.

Media information:

Greg Budworth is available for interview. Contact Craig Eardley on 0437 477 493.

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