Prior to the establishment of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), much of the accommodation allocated for defence personnel was of poor quality, with a reliance on state governments for its provision and maintenance.
The creation of DHA provided a focus on improving the standard of defence housing, and the Authority’s ability to trade in property allowed for a complete overhaul of the defence property portfolio.
However, as a government business, DHA has continued to be susceptible to potential privatisation, despite contrary views that the government’s role is critical in ensuring defence housing is appropriately located, accessible and of the necessary standard to support personnel retention.
When compared to the defence housing services offered in New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom, DHA rates well in terms of the efficiency of its processes and the effectiveness of its service delivery. Policy requirements, budgetary constraints, and even geography have meant each of the four countries considered in this paper have unique methods of providing defence housing. Yet all offer useful insights into the benefits and liabilities of certain courses of action, especially regarding the impact of reduced government involvement.