The next ACT government should enshrine the right to housing in the territory's human rights act, social services advocates say.
Advocates have also called for improved access to legal services and more funding for the ACT's community legal services to ensure all Canberrans have equal representation before the law.
The ACT Council of Social Service this week released its seventh election brief, which called on the territory government to fulfil its promise for the ACT to become a human rights jurisdiction.
Canberra Community Law and the Women's Legal Centre also backed the calls.
ACTCOSS chief executive Emma Campbell said policy outcomes for Canberrans facing disadvantage would be improved by a strong commitment to human rights from the ACT government.
Dr Campbell said all economic, social and cultural rights needed to be included in the act. These include the right to housing, an adequate standard of living and the right to a healthy environment.
Equality before the law was another issue that needed to be addressed and this could be done through more funding for community legal services.
"We must also ensure that all Canberrans have equality before the law, including women and children, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities and other Canberrans facing legal disadvantage," she said.
"Unequal access to legal services drives poverty and disadvantage for Canberrans; without proper legal representation they are unable to enforce their legal rights in family, criminal, social security, financial, housing, employment and other matters."
It was a call echoed by Women's Legal Centre executive director Elena Rosenman.
"An incoming government will need to take real action to ensure the Women's Legal Centre and the other specialist community legal centres in Canberra are resourced to meet this need and support all Canberrans' access to justice," she said.
The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce a human rights act, 16 years ago. ACTCOSS's brief has called for the next territory to make the complaints process easier.
Complainants of matters related to the act can only bring cases before the Supreme Court. But Canberra Community Law principle solicitor Genevieve Bolton said the ACT government needed to create a direct complaints mechanism.
This could be done through the ACT Human Rights Commission and the ACT Administrative and Civil Tribunal, she said, as Supreme Court processes are costly.
"The ACT can increase the coverage of the Human Rights Act by providing a direct and accessible complaints mechanism for enforcement," she said.
As well, Dr Campbell wanted the Canberra Liberals not to introduce anti-consorting laws should they win. The Liberals have pushed for the laws, most recently after the death of Comanchero bikie boss Pitasoni Tali Ulavalu.
"We welcome the current government's commitment not to introduce anti-consorting laws and we call on the ACT Liberals to follow suit," she said.
"Anti-consorting laws erode human rights. In other jurisdictions they have been use to unjustly target Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and people experiencing homelessness."