From housing assets, to housing people: fixing Australia's social housing system

14 Oct 2016

Social housing is the joint Commonwealth-state funded system of publicly-subsidised housing, which supports the community’s most vulnerable households.

Within the system of ‘social housing’, traditional government-owned and managed ‘public housing’ provides nearly 80 per cent of social housing places nationally, with Non-Government providers supplying the balance.

On current settings, Australia’s social housing system is in terminal decline, with changing and growing community needs sitting uncomfortably astride declining levels of public funding and low quality housing stock.

The net result is a system where:

• More than 250,000 Australian households are on social housing waiting lists;

• More than half of the highest priority households will spend more than two years waiting for placement; and

• Traditional public housing dwellings are often old, poorly maintained and fail to meet governments’ own minimum quality standards.

Over the past two decades, Commonwealth and state governments have attempted an array of incremental policy and funding reforms; however, as Figure 1.1 shows, these modest interventions provided only modest increases, before a return to the trend decline in public housing.

Unsustainable public funding – a raw lack of available dollars to spend – is the principal problem facing Australia’s social housing system.

This lack of sustainable government funding is the disease, causing symptoms like growing waiting lists, poor quality housing and a large maintenance backlog.

That’s why this paper develops a model that allows Australia’s governments to move from incremental, temporary measures to treat the symptoms of the dying funding model.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage