National housing assistance for Australians profiled in new reports

An estimated 372,000 Australian households lived in public rental, Indigenous rental or community housing provided under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement during 2003-04, according to three new reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The reports show that 336,000 households, representing 5% of households overall, received assistance through mainstream public rental housing.

There were about 24,000 households receiving assistance through community housing managed by non-profit providers or local government, and 12,000 households receiving assistance through state owned and managed Indigenous housing during 2003-04.

Programs funded under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement are designed to help people whose needs for appropriate housing cannot be met by the private market.

Head of the AIHW's Housing Assistance Unit, David Wilson, said that 31,000 households were allocated public housing for the first time during 2003-04, and that more than half (54%) were categorised as having 'special needs'.

'These are most often people who have difficulty accessing appropriate accommodation in the private rental market because of discrimination, or in the case of people with disabilities, lack of suitable modified housing,' Mr Wilson said.

'Of the 31,000 new allocations, just over 3,600, or around 12% of all new allocations, were made to Indigenous households.

'Similarly, over 900, or 15%, of the 6,100 new households provided with community housing under the CSHA during 2003-04 were Indigenous households.'

More than 1600 new households were allocated state owned and managed Indigenous housing from the waiting list in 2003-04.

Of the 12,700 state owned and managed Indigenous housing dwellings, more than one-third were in major cities; 22% were in inner regional areas, 26% in outer regional areas, and 18% in remote and very remote areas.

'These reports, which are on the three largest programs administered under the CSHA, also show us that public and community housing are increasingly being targeted to low income households that have additional needs that cannot be met by the private rental market,' Mr Wilson said.

'And tenants in general are mostly satisfied with the services being provided-68% of public rental housing tenants nationwide and 77% of community housing tenants said they were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied". No figures on tenant satisfaction were available for state owned and managed Indigenous housing.'

Reports: Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement National Data Reports 2003-04:

  • Public rental housing
  • CSHA community housing
  • State owned and managed Indigenous housing

21 January 2005

Further information: David Wilson, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1202, or mobile 0419 251 763.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1032.