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Local government advocacy should seek to take collaborative action to influence decision makers in State or Federal government, business and/or industry, and implement projects and policies that provide benefit to their local community. Local government is the closest sphere of government to community. They are well placed to work with service providers and other partners in identifying local issues and advocating for solutions. By working collaboratively, local government can advocate for preventing and ending homelessness in their community.

The needs of every local government area are different, meaning the nature of services from one local government to the next will vary. The general competencies powers are afforded to local government through the Local Government Act 1995.

Advocacy is a powerful tool for local government. Ideally, the initiatives that local government advocate for are evidence-based and founded in community need. This, along with the below considerations, may support your local government’s advocacy efforts.

Understanding State and Federal Government

It is important to understand the political environment and priorities and motivations of the State and Federal Government. If the project that local government is advocating for supports the State or Federal governments to deliver on their commitments, the likelihood of securing support increases. Where possible, seek alignment with State and Federal Government priorities. Clearly articulate how your project helps State or Federal Government meet its goals and outline any opportunities to partner and work together.


Based on community need, local government should prioritise what to advocate for. One option is to consider the local state and federal members of the local government you work in and what they wish to achieve for their electorates. In your advocacy efforts explain how your local government can work alongside them to progress priority issues.

Messaging and communication

Advocacy campaigns should have clear priorities, purpose and a coherent message. The tone of message is imperative, and this leads back to understanding the political environment and the priorities and motivations of the State and Federal Government in power.

Local government should leverage all communication tools and channels available to them, to raise campaign awareness and influence decision makers. Such communication may include:

  • Letters
  • Meetings
  • Social media
  • Local media
  • Websites
  • Demonstrated support from community/community activation
  • Evidence to back up the need for what you are advocating for ie. case studies, successful outcomes achieved

Organisational capacity

Consider an advocacy and engagement strategy within your local government, to assist government in prioritising what you are advocating and provide legitimacy and support. With this, your organisation will allocate resources to advocacy efforts, giving you the capacity to embed advocacy into your homelessness response.


Partnerships are critical in local government advocacy. Often local governments do not have the resources or are not best placed to deliver the program or initiative they are advocating for. Partnering and collaborating shows decision makers local government will have the resources to deliver what they are advocating for in partnership with local services.

Community activation

Advocacy campaigns are at their most effective when local governments activate communities, mobilising on issues that impact their everyday lives. This means bringing the community into the conversation early in the determination of priorities so that they can actively drive advocacy campaigns.

Local government advocacy should seek to empower communities, and persuade decision makers and leaders in government to act in the best interests of their community. Advocacy efforts can shape public policy and allocation of resources to increase visibility and build a better understanding of homelessness.

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