Image for Fixing the Housing Crisis ...

*IMAGE: Tumbleweed Houses ~  ...

First published March 14

Will Premier Will Hodgman be inviting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to his emergency Housing Summit in Tasmania? [1]

Why should he do that?

Homelessness and housing affordability is a national crisis, and a solution that works in Tasmania, will attract people from other parts of Australia.

We need a national solution to a national problem, as homelessness and housing affordability is a crisis that affects all of Australia.

The only way a Tasmanian solution to homelessness and housing affordability could be sustainable, is if the island declared itself independent, and closed Bass Strait.

That is not about to happen, is it?


Like all European nations, Finland had homeless people, until introducing a Housing First program to solve the problem. [2]

Housing First is a national answer to homelessness, with the central government working with local authorities to provide homes, where and when homes are needed.

Once a person or family is housed, then working with any problems that led to homelessness is more easily and effectively managed.

We could do that in Australia.

Could we start the ball rolling in Tasmania, and invite the rest of the nation to catch up?

Why not?


A survey needs to be made of country towns across Tasmania, to see if affordable rental accommodation exists to supply the needs of the community.

I am aware of at least one instance of a rental property in a country town about to be converted to holiday accommodation, with the current occupant considering moving to the mainland.

If they move to Hobart, they may end up camping at the Elwick Showground.

Where there are no homes available to rent, people will move to larger centres, where services are provided, or even interstate, and may or may not find a permanent home.

Many homeless people are drawn to the cities, because that is where they can access government services, and where charities provide assistance.

To avoid a country drift to the cities, homes also need to be available in country towns.

This can help a town’s economy, by providing homes for workers.

A country solution may be more affordable, where land costs less.

This approach could work, if a person or family has their own reliable transport, as country locations mostly have no public transport.

An alternative approach to tourism in Tasmania, included below, could also solve the public transport problem for country towns.


A tiny house, which can be moved, would be by far less expensive than traditional housing, and more like a normal house than a caravan. [3]

A tiny house would take up less land.

A tiny house design could be developed where two or three units could be connected, creating a family sized home.

The mobility of a tiny house would allow needs to be met where the need exists.

If a country location needs a unit for a single person, or units for a family, the need could be met immediately, if there is a supply of tiny houses available.

If a person needs to move for work, their tiny house may be able to be relocated to a location near the new place of work.

Tiny houses can come in a thousand different designs, and a range of colours.

A tiny house can also include solar panels on the roof for power, and a battery. [4]

Estates for tiny houses can be well designed, with central community facilities, such as a community centre, park and playground.

Many people are now selecting the option of tiny houses, to escape the tyranny of housing debt.

If there is social conflict in the estate, a resident could simply apply to have their unit moved.


In 2016 I proposed a tourist trail that followed convict sites along the east coast of Australia. [5]

In Tasmania, if this trail were created, a path would run along beside the highway or road from the ferry in Devonport to Port Arthur.

Visitors would be able to walk, cycle, ride a mobility scooter, or catch a coach between locations.

A visitor could walk part of the way, hire a bicycle, or catch a coach to pick up the trail at another stretch down the road. [6]

A tour could be planned ahead for bicycle hire, coach trips and accommodation.

Baggage could be sent ahead on a coach to the night’s lodging, allowing a visitor or family to step lightly along the trail.

Any souvenirs purchased could be posted home at post offices along the way.

If this trail is created for tourists to travel through Tasmania, residents of country towns could also use the trail to walk between towns, cycle, or catch a coach.

Coach trips could be ordered ahead, to shop at the next town, or ride to the airport, north or south, to catch a flight out of Tasmania.

Any town along the trail would no longer be isolated.

A person could then live in a country town and work in one of the major centres, snoozing on the coach, or enjoying the scenery.

If the trail works well, branches could be established to other towns, and in time connecting all country towns in Tasmania for walking, cycling, or catching a coach.

This approach to travel and home would allow the population of Tasmania to decentralise, rather than filling up cities to overflowing, traffic jams, and driving a rental housing crisis.

The denizen of a country town would be able to go to a movie, play, opera, or sporting event in the city, and then have a safe trip home on a coach that night.


One simple solution to the housing crisis in Tasmania, is to have a government employment guarantee, with real work that pays the minimum wage.

In an age when the robot revolution is set to eliminate paid work like there is no tomorrow, a government employment guarantee would ensure people who are able to work, can work, and receive a proper income for their time at work. [7]

As workers need homes, there would be a direct need to ensure that all workers have homes.

Under the present economic and political system, a person with work can actually find themselves without a home, and join the working homeless.

A government employment guarantee would create full time employment for all able citizens, as well as ring in an end to the age of homelessness.

Real competition would be created, because free enterprise would have to pay more than the minimum wage to attract and keep workers.

This would end the tyranny of unpaid work hours, or free overtime, which many workers believe they must put in to ensure they are employed.

Unemployment, under-employment, poverty and homelessness would be sent into history, as a society is built that serves all citizens, where robots can be used to help create greater wealth, but are servants rather than served.

Personal income tax would be less, because more people would be paying taxes.

Centrelink would shrink to meet a smaller need.

The government would have a strong incentive to ensure that all companies that should be paying taxes, do so, rather than skimming wealth from the nation and making no contribution, as has been the case with QANTAS.

Corporate welfare, with companies bludging on the rest of the nation, would have to be terminated, with corporate Australia meeting their debt to the nation.

Miners would be expected to pay a proper return on the resources that they take.

At the end of the day, the government employment system may be small, as a competitive and creative work environment is created in Australia.


The current government-promoted future of 650,000 Tasmanians by 2050 is way short of the reality that may arrive much sooner.

As Australia gets hotter, and in places more humid, along with fiercer ocean storms hitting heavily populated northern coastal regions, and crippling inland droughts, many people will seek to move south, which will include to Tasmania.

We need a climate change plan to prepare for a rapid population increase, which could go beyond 2 million people, and at present there is nothing that we could do to stop this increase in numbers.

Whoever is in government in Canberra may direct northern refugees to Tasmania, as a safe location.

If we do not begin to prepare for that all too predictable future now, we will struggle to deal with it later.

The worst case scenario will be if there is a sudden heat rise, people start flowing into Tasmania, and we are not prepared.

Climate events, like the melting of ice, can happen in rapid burst, where one moment there is ice, and then there is water, because the temperature had been rising.

I explored these matters in a recent article suggesting the need for a climate change plan for Tasmania. [8]

See the message from the Ice Age that follows, to see the present rise of CO2 in the air, and how this holds the potential for a sudden rise in heat.


To understand the implications of the current and rising level of CO2 in the air, we can consider the last ice age when atmospheric CO2 was around 180 ppm, the temperature a few degrees lower, and the sea level 120 metres down.

The difference between the Ice Age and the past few millennia was quite a huge change over what appears to be quite a small rise in atmospheric CO2 going to around 270 ppm.

This was an increase of 90 ppm CO2 in the air.

Add another 90 ppm CO2 and that is the level passed in the 1990s, of 360 ppm.

We can now wonder if a rise of 90 ppm CO2 in the air, reached in the 1990s, is quite enough to drive temperature rise that would melt all remaining ice, sending the sea level up by a further 70 metres.

We can also wonder if all additional CO2 rise in the air above 360 ppm will simply mean future heat rise, especially when there is no ice left to absorb the rising heat.

When we accept that what appears to be quite a small rise in CO2 in the air actually makes a huge difference to the Earth’s temperature rise, then we can begin to grasp Lovelock’s warning of a rapid rise in Earth’s temperature to a permanently hotter environment.

Is the World sleepwalking into a carbon apocalypse?


If the trail that connects towns can be made to work in Tasmania, a similar approach could be created on the mainland, which could begin with the Australian Convict Trail running from Port Arthur to Moreton Bay in Queensland.

Though a government employment guarantee would need to be a national scheme to work properly, this approach could begin with communities in Tasmania creating work, and spearheading the way to design a society that works with robots, rather than fails to work and creates poverty and homelessness, as greater wealth is generated with robots by those with the capital to do so.

The Finnish solution to homelessness is simple, and could be launched in Tasmania, especially with a program of tiny house construction.

Tiny houses would be more interesting and diverse places to live in, than converting shipping containers into accommodation boxes.

By ending homelessness in Tasmania, homeless people will be attracted from the mainland, so it will be essential to seek a national approach.

The plan suggested above to solve homelessness, defuse the rental housing crisis, and plan for a sustainable future in Tasmania, would also lay the foundation to maintain a quality lifestyle, should there be a sudden influx of climate change refugees from mainland Australia, as the heat rises.

We could blaze a new trail to building a better nation, where solutions to living and survival problems developed in Tasmania could be applied to mainland locations, which would then help to avoid the potential of a sudden population influx into Tasmania.

Driving growth is not near good enough, when that growth kills the goose that lays the golden eggs.

We need a healthy and happy goose, or there will be no golden eggs in Tasmania’s future.


[1]  Tasmanian Government announces emergency housing summit as shortage worsens
Georgie Burgess, 8 March 2018, ABC News Online

[2]  What can the UK learn from how Finland solved homelessness?
Dawn Foster, 22 March 2017, The Guardian

[3]  How to prepare for tiny living
Elsa Smith, 15 January 2018,

[4]  Tesla Tiny House

[5]  Moreton Bay to Port Arthur

[6]  Campaigning along the Australian Convict Trail in 2018

[7]  Creating a Future that Works
Kim Peart, 17 August 2015, Tasmanian Times

[8]  Does Tasmania need a Climate Change Plan?
Kim Peart, 26 February 2018, Tasmanian Times

Expanded version with new information ~

[9]  An extract from a recent document by Kim Peart ~ Rising to the Challenge ~

*Kim Peart In 2007 Kim was listed among Tasmania’s top 200 movers and shakers for “An urban bushland conservationist who has worked tirelessly over the years to maintain walking tracks and protect wildlife from the encroachment of bush-front housing developments.” Kim is campaigning for an Australian Convict Trail, with the Tasmanian leg running from the ferry in Devonport to Port Arthur, along with foot and cycle paths by Tasmania’s highways and roads. After being at the launch of an Australian Space Agency last September, Kim is seeking ways to create employment, careers and new enterprise in Tasmania with the global space industry.

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