Often the spotlight lands on our capital cities as destinations where the most opportunities lie. Unfortunately, cities can also be where the most misfortune lies. While the top income earners are living in penthouse apartments with unlimited access to employment and coffee shops, those in the bottom household income quintiles are left barely scraping by, or worse, experiencing homelessness.
To represent the incredibly diverse needs of the residents in any City is a monumental challenge, that nearly 40 eager Adelaide City Council candidates are willing to take on, if they are elected in the 2018 local government election. More difficult though, for voters, is to try and figure out where each candidate stands on the issues they care about. So, Shelter SA put out a call out to the candidates to share their vision for housing, including social and affordable housing (to rent and to buy), homelessness and the provision of human services. Unsurprisingly, we weren’t blown away by the number of responses. The strongest platforms for housing, that are available up to today, are (in alphabetical order):
- Glenn Bain
- Helen Donovan
- Robert Simms
- Kieran Snape
- Samuel Taylor
- Kate Treloar
Lighter commitments come from Driller Jet Armstrong and Phillip Martin, however we know from Phil’s track record that he is a strong advocate for a socially inclusive City. Valdis Dunis has privately sent a small amount of information about his views on housing and homelessness, but what is his commitment to housing in the City, and the commitment of others if there are no public platforms?
Shelter SA was disappointed to find that the policy positions of every candidate are not readily available for people who are wondering who to vote for. We would like to see candidates with strong policies to improve affordable and social housing within the CBD, councillors who are as concerned for those living in the lower household income quintiles as they are for the top end of town and rather than fence-sitters, we’d like to see policy builders.
Housing is a major component of a council’s rate base and drives demand for services within local government budgets. Some candidates seem to be under the impression that housing is a State and Federal Government responsibility, but local governments have a critical role to play in shaping housing policy through their planning and community service responsibilities. Councils can influence where, when and what type of housing is built which impacts overall housing affordability. Encouraging construction is one way to bring economic development and income growth to a city, councils can contribute land and partner with social housing providers.
We were also surprised at the startling lack of discussion about local government policies and how candidates will implement them, within the publicly available campaign materials, so there is much to be done to educate new and existing representatives about policy, including liveability and housing for all of our City residents.
Media Contact: Dr. Alice Clark, Executive Director
Mob: 0425 060 649