The Big Picture

 Homelessness in Queensland has been on a slight decline since 2001, below is a table (1) exhibiting the change in homelessness in Queensland according to the census nights of 2001, 2006, and 2011 (Census of Population and Housing 2012).

Table 1. Change in homelessness in Queensland, 2001-­‐2011 (per 10,000 people)

Census Night 2001 

Census Night 2006 

Census Night 2011 




Source: (Census of Population and Housing 2012)

While there appears to be a decline in the homeless space, this issue remains to be a major problem in Australia, especially for the indigenous community who account for 25% of the total homeless population of Australia, a percentage that is even greater when considering the fact that the indigenous community accounts for 2.5% of the total population in Australia (Census of Population and Housing 2012).

Cairns is a regional city in the north of Queensland. Its population in 2012 was 283,19). The population is growing at the rate of 3.2% per annum. Unemployment in Cairns is at 10%, which is not only the highest in Australia, but also double the national average.

Tourism is the largest industry in Cairns but it hasn’t been flourishing lately due to natural disasters and the GFC – 2007/2008. In addition, housing demand is much higher than supply. Therefore, given the deteriorating rate of unemployment over the years, the slow growth of the main industry in Cairns as well as the gap between demand and supply for housing, homelessness is at an increasing rate of 1.13%.