Making the best use of public housing

Housing Australia New South Wales

This audit examined:

  • New South Wales’ capacity to meet changing public housing need
  • how well Housing NSW (HNSW), a division of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), acts to relocate tenancies where an individual’s needs or circumstances change
  • how well the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) a part of the Department of Finance and Services (DFS), plans to ensure the asset base reflects the requirements of those most in need.

This audit focuses on public housing, that is dwellings owned and operated by government.

New South Wales has the largest social housing portfolio in Australia, comprising over 150,000 dwellings. LAHC owns the bulk of these with about 134,000 dwellings valued at around $32 billion. The vast majority of LAHC’s dwellings are public housing, for which HNSW provides tenancy management services.

About 214,000 people are currently living in public housing. There are a further 55,000 eligible households (representing about 120,000 people) on the waiting list for such accommodation.

New South Wales is facing significant challenges in providing access to public housing now and into the future. These include a growing demand for housing by single person households with very low income and complex needs; and ageing and inappropriate dwellings.

The imbalance between the supply and demand for public housing makes it crucial that appropriate procedures and controls are applied to make the best use of public housing, in accordance with the legislative objectives in the Housing Act 2001.

This audit looks at HNSW’s and LAHC’s provision of public housing to eligible households now and into the future. It draws upon our 2005 follow up audit Maintenance of Public Housing.

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