Thursday 21 April 2022

For the upcoming Federal election, climate change is the leading issue for people who participate, work or volunteer at Neighbourhood Houses and Community Centres across Australia, according to a recent poll.

In March, the national peak body Australian Neighourhood Houses and Centres Association (ANHCA) conducted a poll, asking for people to choose their top 5 priorities from a list of national issues.

The aim of this quick survey was to understand the pressing national issues for people in our communities, heading into this election which takes place exactly one month away on 21 May.

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO and President of ANHCA, Nicole Battle said, “This year, ANHCA is harnessing its nation-wide collective voice to bring attention to the issues that matter to our communities. With over 1,000 Neighbourhood Houses across Australia, and 400,000 visits occurring to them every week, we represent a massive footprint that should not be ignored.”

In the two weeks the survey was conducted, the poll received 1,388 responses.

This included participants across 470 postcodes and impressively, includes representation of 122 of the 151 federal electorates.

The top 5 issues were consistent across every state.

These were, in order of priority:

  1. Climate Change
  2. Housing and Homelessness
  3. Cost of Living
  4. Health Services and Infrastructure
  5. Loneliness, Social Isolation and Mental Health

“I am not surprised by the top 5 priorities, but it's encouraging to see the sector on the same page right across the country," Nicole said.

"I am particularly proud to see Climate Change as the number one issue – the future of our planet is not something that should be gambled with, and we’re seeing many Neighbourhood Houses take a proactive approach at a grassroots level to make their operations more sustainable. But really, meaningful commitment needs to come from the top. After such extreme weather disasters over the last three years, Australians have had enough of the climate denial.

“The impacts of COVID on the cost of living, homelessness, health services and mental health should come as no surprise – we see them first hand every day.

"All these are interconnected issues. When living is too expensive, mental health suffers. When you’re struggling to pay the rent or put a roof over your head, mental health suffers. When you’re isolated, and locked down for months on end, of course, mental health suffers. Neighbourhood Houses have a key role to play in social recovery, but there’s only so much we can do with limited resources. We need all levels of government to come to the table so we can support our communities.”

Read the report

A snapshot report is available detailing the results of the poll.

Neigbourhood Houses are encouraged to share this report with their sitting federal MPs and candidates running for office. Find out more.