Reflecting on a Decade of Australian Social Housing Policy: Changes in Supply and Geography, 2001–2011



This paper compares the intent of three Australian social housing policy interventions in the decade to 2011 with outcomes shown in time series data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census. The three policy interventions are the supply stimulus that occurred in 2009 with funding to construct almost 20 000 new social housing dwellings by 2012, the push to diversify social housing supply through the transfer of public housing stock to community not-for-profit housing providers, and the physical renewal of public housing estates to reduce concentrations of social deprivation. Its aims are threefold: to understand how the supply and geography of social housing dwellings has changed over the past decade; to relate these changes to the objectives of social housing policy in the time period; and to identify issues for the future of social housing in Australia emerging from identified disparities between policy rhetoric and supply reality. The paper employs quantitative analysis of social housing supply for all of Australia and mapping of social housing supply changes in the east-coast mainland state capital cities. This analysis reveals the overall stagnation of social housing supply in Australia over the previous decade, combined with evidence of stock loss in areas of renewal in some cities.