Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will watch a short clip from Life After The Oasis to help understand the role social institutions play in reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness in Australia. They will engage with a short presentation to build a better understanding of the concept of government policy. Students will read sections of the 2008 White Paper, The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness, and respond to a set of questions aimed at deepening their understanding of the paper. Students will participate in a Jigsaw Classroom activity in which they will read and analyse an article or factsheet, and make assertions about the effectiveness of the Australian Government’s 2008 policy to reduce numbers of people experiencing homelessness. They will reflect on their learning by completing an “I used to think…Now I think…” reflection activity. 

Life After The Oasis is a 75 minute documentary that explores the issues, interventions and mindsets associated with youth homelessness in Australia. The film revisits characters and stories from the original 2008 documentary The Oasis, and how opportunities and experiences have shaped their lives over the last ten years. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Warning: The documentary and the clips contained in this lesson, contains explicit language, images of drug use and confronting scenes and may upset some viewers. Teachers should use their personal discretion when showing the documentary. This resource deals with the rising problem of youth homelessness and its associated social and personal issues. There may be students in your class who have experienced some of the issues discussed. You are encouraged to arrive at a set of agreements and ground rules for discussion with your class about the best way to approach the issues being covered in a way that recognises the dignity of our fellow classmates. Click here for tips on setting ground rules for class discussions and here for advice on how to handle sensitive topics and controversial issues in your classroom.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the role of government in addressing social issues.
  • Students will understand the purpose of a government policy.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

  • The process through which government policy is shaped and developed, including the role of Prime Minister and Cabinet (ACHCK103)
  • Critically evaluate information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS084)
  • Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS088)

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical Understanding, Critical and Creative ThinkingPersonal and social capability,

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse a range of factors that influence identities and attitudes to diversity. They reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life. They compare and account for different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – Civics & Citizenship

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and coordinate collaboration between students.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Handling Sensitive Topics And Controversial Issues Factsheet (Optional). Understanding Policy Presentation. “The Road Home”, White Paper Excerpts – one per student. 2019 National Report Card On Youth Homelessness – one set of actions per group. 

Keywords: Homelessness, homeless, youth, social issue, policy, Australia, White Paper, National Report Card, impact, The Oasis.

Shark Island Productions and Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of The Caledonia Foundation to the development of these resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ... 

  • ... understand the role of government in addressing social issues.
  • ... understand the purpose of a government policy.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... make connections between a social issue and a government policy response.
  • ... evaluate the effectiveness of a government policy, using evidence.

Teacher content information: On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. This alarming statistic raises many questions about homelessness in Australia and what is being done by government and non-government institutions to combat the problem. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a person to be homeless when they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and acce
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: The number of homeless persons living in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out in 2016 was 8,200, up from 6,810 in 2011

"The Road Home" White Paper

While reading your allocated section of The Road Home: A National Approach To Reducing Homelessness White Paper, respond to the following:

Note down the key points in the section that you read (record at least three):




Note down one thing that surprised you:



Note down one thing that you didn’t understand:


In your opinion, what was the intended impact of the White Paper?

Jigsaw Summary

Summarise your understanding of the impact of The Road Home, White Paper and the 2019 National Report Card On Youth Homelessness by listing:

Three things that have worked to reduce homelessness:






Three things that require further work:





Work independently to consider and respond to the following:

In relation to the Australian Government policy on

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