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Partnerships in Local Government

By Christine Black - posted Monday, 15 May 2000


I’d like to share with you a local recipe for community building and social inclusion. Obviously, there are many recipes for any dish, and this should be seen as just one - but hopefully it's one that's going to attract some notice within the policy debates and other activities that follow on from this conference. It goes something like this:

Key Ingredients

a) firstly, establish a community vision;

b) then, undertake some strategic and integrated planning;


c) throw in a bit of advocacy

d) where they still exist, co-ordinate and manage community assets;

e) determine your major priorities; and finally

f) allocate some resources to achieve your goals.

These ingredients also just happen to be a list of the key responsibilities for local Councils in the Victorian Local Government Act 1989.

Whilst there are very clear roles for local government in community building and community development, it is important to note that there are still many people who question why local government should be involved in housing issues.


Thankfully, I am here today to be able to tell you that not only can local government do something about affordable housing issues, but we are doing something. In particular, the work we are doing is intrinsically about building and retaining viable communities. Particularly those communities that are disadvantaged and living within the public housing system.

City of Yarra's Role in Building Viable Communities

A major policy plank in building viable communities has been the development and implementation of an Affordable Housing Statement (or policy). This work is underpinned by Council's commitment to three core values:

  1. Actively promoting the positive contribution that affordable housing makes to the City's social and cultural diversity, distinctive identity and the maintenance of a sustainable local economy and community
  2. Recognising that appropriate shelter is a fundamental human right, and the critical importance of a range of housing types to meet the diverse needs of our community
  3. Providing opportunities for all residents, including those experiencing disadvantage, to participate in all aspects of community life, including planning, consultation and access to resources.
  1. Pages:
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  5. All

This is an edited extract from a paper delivered to the National Housing Conference in November 1999.

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About the Author

Christine Black works on the Victorian Homelessness Strategy for the Victorian Office of Housing She was previously the Housing & Urban Policy Officer, City of Yarra, November 1999 and has worked on policy development for the Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations, the Tenants Union of Victoria and Queensland Shelter.

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