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Let's be serious for a minute (Canberra)

Whenever people post queries about housing the usual recommendation is to check out a real estate site like
Remember when you first came to Canberra? Did you try to arrange your rented house or unit before you arrived? I've been using allhomes to search for a place for the past two months (due in Canberra in December). Is this really the best option? Agents don't reply; application forms request so much documentation it's absurd; if you're outside Australia you feel like you're getting nowhere.
After a series of frustrating encounters, we almost secured a house rental privately through a friend of a friend of a friend. But the owner had to change their mind due to unforseen circumstances.
I suppose most people take a short term let while they find a longer term one. Not so great for families who have to consider schools enrolment, and not so great for people who will be arriving in the summer when the demand is at its peak.
Surely, in a place this big, there are more options?