Skip navigation

Housing advocacy for Musgrave Park rough sleepers

As of 29 April, 2024

It shouldn’t have to take an upcoming state election, and a festival in Musgrave Park, for people to get housing.

You may have seen the dozens of tents in Musgrave Park, as more and more people struggle to find affordable housing. Just a few weeks ago, there were 60 tents in Musgrave Park. After advocacy from many local groups, the government has committed to finding people temporary accommodation, until permanent housing is available, and has increased funding for housing services. Now there are now only a handful of tents in Musgrave Park.

This is a win for the South Brisbane community.

A big shout out to the many local organisations advocating for housing, and supporting people sleeping rough, including Feeding 4101, the Community Union Defence League, Community Plus+ West End Community House, Northwest Community Group Inc., the Anti-Poverty Network QLD and others. A big shout out to Micah Projects projects, who have done an incredible job supporting people into housing, providing hot meals and a free community pantry, connecting people with health and other services, and will continue this support as people settle into new accommodation.

The combination of the systemic shortage of public housing, rapidly rising rents and growing cost of living, has meant that more and more people have been forced into tents and cars. 

Along with my colleagues Trina Massey Councillor for the Gabba Ward and Max Chandler-Mather, Federal MP for Griffith, my team and I have been advocating for rough sleepers both in Musgrave Park and surrounds. Our team of volunteers have been running a free meal program on Monday evenings in Musgrave Park. As the Paniyiri Festival approaches, we and others have been in regular contact with the Brisbane City Council and local community groups and we’ve been advocating to the Housing Minister for permanent accommodation for anyone sleeping rough in the park.

Here’s a quick recap of what has been happening:

  • In 2023, around 30 tents in Musgrave Park disappeared temporarily over Paniyiri as some rough sleepers got temporary housing, but then reappeared weeks later.
  • Around the end of March 2024, tent numbers had steadily increased to almost 60, with very few people being housed.
  • In early April, the Premier said that people “might not choose to accept accommodation” and that people would be able to get into housing when they were “ready to accept it”. But so many rough sleepers told us they were desperate for housing that was safe, secure and affordable.
  • 15 community organisations then signed onto a letter to the Housing Minister, demanding permanent housing for people sleeping rough at Musgrave Park; and Trina Massey and I circulated a public email action that over 280 people used to contact the Minister and Premier with the same demands.
  • A week later the Department of Housing was seen at Musgrave Park every day, and tent numbers diminished.
  • Greens Councillor Trina Massey then convened a stakeholder meeting involving Aboriginal elders, Brisbane City Council, State Government departments, and grassroots and community organisations such as Feeding4101, Anti-Poverty Network, Community Union Defence League, Northwest Community Group Inc, West End Community Association, Micah Projects, and HART4000.
  • At the end of April 2024, the Housing Minister finally publicly committed to permanent housing for Musgrave Park residents.

The community pressure has worked. The government has increased funding for housing and homelessness organisations. Outreach by the Department of Housing has increased. 

We’ll be watching closely and holding the government to this commitment. We'll be keeping up the pressure, to make sure that people who do get access to housing don’t end up sleeping rough again. My team will continue to push for accommodation that is safe, affordable, liveable and provided according to people’s individual circumstances.