Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy

Michael Potter
27 April 2017 | RR25
Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy

Around 400,000 Australians live in social housing, which includes public and community housing. This sector is ripe for reform, with many public housing dwellings failing adequacy standards, numerous tenants are dissatisfied and live in housing that is too small or too large for their needs. Waiting lists are very long, over 10 years in most of Sydney, tenants lack choice and the sector has significant inequities and is arguably financially unsustainable.

The government is proposing to address financing issues for social housing by establishing a ‘bond aggregator’ to borrow on their behalf. A subsidised bond aggregator would be inefficient, non-transparent and discourage sectoral reform compared to direct subsidies to the sector.

Instead, funding to the States under the National Affordable Housing Agreement should be reformed, largely replaced by rent assistance being paid to public housing tenants. States should be given incentives to implement other reforms, particularly providing new tenants with informed choice while differentiating rent based on dwelling quality. Public housing should be transferred to community sector, States should use contracting with sector to drive efficiency, and public and community housing should be treated similarly.

These reforms should improve tenant choice and satisfaction, dwelling quality, financial sustainability, and efficiency and effectiveness of the sector.

Buy Hardcopy
Latest Publications

Beating lockdown blues: Students pass the Covid test
Glenn Fahey
25 October 2021 | RR42

Students have suffered educational disruption in combatting the spread of covid-19. Education policy and practice during the pandemic has faced uncertainty, with some a priori assumptions proven true, while others not. The research tests the following a priori assumptions of home-based learning against the evidence that is now available: Disadvantaged students will suffer educationally from a digital divide. Students will…

READ MORE
Mind the Gap: Understanding the Indigenous education gap and how to close it
Glenn Fahey
24 June 2021 | RR41

Indigenous educational disadvantage remains among the most pressing and persistent public policy challenges in Australia. Despite bipartisan and intergovernmental commitment to ‘Closing the Gap’, has done little to move the needle in education outcomes. Dispiritingly poor education outcomes persist despite the best of intentions, considerable investment of resources, and countless programmes and initiatives of policymakers. This research examines sources and…

READ MORE
Dollars and Sense: Time for smart reform of Australian school funding
Glenn Fahey
01 December 2020 | RR40

Australia is among the world’s highest-spending countries on schooling. Yet, the educational return on this investment for parents, taxpayers, employers, and students, has deteriorated — despite the expectation of policymakers that increased funding would inevitably improve educational outcomes. It’s true that money matters when it comes to schooling, but how money is used is what really matters, not how much…

READ MORE
Overcoming the Odds: A study of Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools
Blaise Joseph
18 March 2019 | RR39

Students from disadvantaged social backgrounds perform worse on average academically than more advantaged students. This study investigated Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools in terms of literacy and numeracy results, with the aim of finding any common policies and practices which have led to their success. Nine top-performing disadvantaged schools were visited by a researcher for this study, involving interviews with school…

READ MORE
Dying with Their Rights On: The myths and realities of ending homelessness in Australia
Carlos d'Abrera
12 December 2018 | RR38

The orthodox understanding of the causes of homelessness promoted by the ‘homelessness industry’ over emphasises the role of economic and social structures. Solutions based on structuralist explanations – such as increasing the supply of affordable social housing – are insufficient to reduce rough sleeping. Such approaches minimise the need to address assertively, the individual characteristics, choices, and behaviours of rough…

READ MORE