Sector Bulletin 1 March: Voice your views on the proposed homeless bylaws


Council to Homeless Persons sector bulletin header

Sector bulletin

1 March 2017

Voice your views on the proposed homeless bylaws

At a Future Melbourne Committee meeting in early February, the City of Melbourne debated amendments to local by-laws that would broaden the existing ban on camping, and allow council officers to confiscate unattended items and issue fines.

The Future Melbourne Committee meeting voted 5:4 to take the draft by-laws to the next stage of Council’s law reform process; a public consultation. This 28-day public consultation period has now begun and feedback on the proposed changes is due by 11.59pm on 17 March 2017.

We urge you to participate in this consultation process, and for you to support opportunities for people experiencing homelessness to participate, as the proposed laws will have a significant detrimental impact – both direct and symbolic on people experiencing homelessness.

Individuals and organisations can provide feedback through a number of channels, including:

In short, the proposed changes would:

  • Broaden the existing ban on camping, to say that which could include people who are rough sleeping
  • Allow council to:

– Move people on, fine ($388) or charge them if they are camping
– Take and dispose of unattended items
– Fine people $388 for leaving items unattended
– Hold unattended belongings, release them if a fee is paid (it is unclear how much this fee would be) or get rid of them if that fee is not paid within 14 days.

We are gravely concerned about the impact that such new laws would have on an already highly vulnerable group of people.

Such laws fail to address the root cause of homelessness, which is a lack of affordable housing. If passed they will simply result in people experiencing homelessness being pushed into less safe parts of our city, from where they are less able & likely to access services.

Schedule of City of Melbourne Homelessness Bylaw Consultations – no bookings required
The City of Melbourne invites members of the public, clients of homelessness services and workers to attend one of the following sessions where you will be able to share your views at a face-to-face survey session being run by Resolve Community Consulting.
Some members of the survey team have previously experienced homelessness.
The information you provide will remain anonymous but will be included in a report to Council to help them decide whether or not to go ahead with the proposed changes to the local law.
The details of the survey sessions are:

Wednesday, 1 March The Living Room
7-9 Hosier Lane
10am – 12pm
Thursday 2 March St Peters Breakfast
15 Gisborne Street
West Melbourne
Thursday 2 March Ozanam Community Centre
268 Abbotsford Street
North Melbourne
Thursday 2 March Salvation Army
Bourke Street
Thursday 2 March WIRE Amica program
372 Spencer Street
Friday 3 March St Peters BBQ
15 Gisborne Street
East Melbourne
Friday 3 March Launch Housing South Bank
52 Haig Street
South Melbourne
Monday 6 March Frontyard Youth Services
19 King Street
Tuesday 7 March Billabong BBQ
Harmsworth Park
Thursday 9 March Cohealth Central City Health Services
53 Victoria Street