The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for more effective homelessness legislation that promotes human rights as a key objective in a submission to the House of Representatives inquiry this week.
President of the AHRC Catherine Branson QC said residential tenancy and public space laws need to be re-assessed in terms of their negative impact on people who are homeless.
"It is an Australian Government responsibility to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable housing, with adequate space and access to essential services," she said.
"We can do better for people who are homeless in Australia. Ensuring that human rights standards are included in our homelessness legislation is an important safety net for us all."
Branson also called for increased protection from eviction and more active involvement from people who are homeless in the decisions affecting them.
"Changes can be made to existing policy and legislation that will help to protect the dignity and life outcomes for people who are homeless. Currently, our system does not seem to deal adequately with the hard fact that from homelessness comes a range of other challenges," she said.
"Homelessness can lead to a lack of safety and security and can make it difficult to find and keep a job. Being homeless can also lead to health problems through a lack of access to basic facilities such as showering and appropriate sleeping arrangements."