Majority of ex-serving ADF members owned their home, at rates similar to the Australian population
Housing plays a major role in people’s health and wellbeing, by providing shelter, safety and security. Poor housing has been linked to adverse physical and mental health outcomes as well as negative effects on employment, education, and social relationships (AIHW 2018a). A person’s housing needs and preferences change as they progress through different stages of their lives. These needs or preferences may change as a result of factors such as changes in employment, family structures, health and mental wellbeing and financial situations (ABS 2016a). While serving ADF members have access to subsidised housing and rental assistance, once members transition out of the ADF, they are no longer able to access this support (Defence 2017).
Over 90% of ex-serving ADF members were living in private dwellings (for example owning a home or renting) rather than non-private dwellings (3.3%) (hotels, hospitals and accommodation facilities) in 2016. This pattern was similar to the Australian population and observed across all age groups for males and females.
In 2016, of those living in private dwellings, 7 in 10 (70%) ex-serving ADF males lived in a home they owned (including those paying mortgages), which was similar to the proportion for Australian males (69%). Rates were similar for females with 68% for ex-serving ADF females and 69% for Australian females owning their own home.
Close to 4 in 5 (79%) ex-serving ADF males who separated from the Air Force owned their own home (including those paying mortgages) in 2016, compared to those who separated from the Navy (70%) and Army (67%). For ex-serving ADF females the proportions were slightly less than males for those who separated from the Air Force (72%) and Navy (62%), while those who separated from the Army were as likely to own their home (69%) as their male counterparts.
Those who separated as Commissioned Officers were more likely to live in a home they owned or were paying off with a mortgage (males 80%, females 76%) in 2016 compared with those who separated as Other Ranks (males 68% and females 66%).
Western Australia had the highest rate for ex-serving ADF males living in non-private dwellings (7.1%) compared with other states and territories which ranged from 2.4% in Victoria to 3.7% in Queensland and 3.2% overall for the Australian population. The higher proportion of non-private dwelling occupants in Western Australia may be associated with the higher proportion of ex-serving ADF males working in the mining industry and living in mining accommodation facilities.