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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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Contents >> Housing Circumstances >> HOUSING ASSISTANCE

HOUSING ASSISTANCE

A large proportion of Indigenous households receive government housing assistance of some kind (see box 4.5, below). The following analysis is based on data from housing administrative data collections including the AIHW Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA) and National Reporting Framework for Indigenous housing data collections, and the Commonwealth Rent Assistance data collection.

Administrative data on the number of households in these programs differ from data on tenure type from the 2006 Census. This is due to a range of factors including the under-identification of Indigenous households in public and mainstream community housing data collections. The Census data and the housing administrative data collections are also based on different reference periods and use different collection methodologies. There may also be some undercounting of Indigenous households in the Census data as this definition is dependent on the identification of Indigenous people in the Census.
4.5 MAJOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AND ADMINISTRATIVE DATA COLLECTIONS

Indigenous-specific programs:
  • State and territory owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) is managed by the state governments and allocated specifically to Indigenous Australians. Funding is through the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA).
  • Indigenous community housing (ICH) is managed by Indigenous community housing organisations, with funding provided by the states and territories and the Australian Government.

Mainstream programs:
  • Public housing is administered by the states and territories and provides publicly owned dwellings that are funded through CSHA and used to provide appropriate, affordable and accessible shelter for low to moderate income earners who may have difficulty entering the housing market.
  • Community housing is managed by non-profit community-based organisations such as local governments, churches and charity groups and is funded through the CSHA. It takes several forms: from emergency or crisis accommodation, to medium-term or transitional accommodation, to long-term housing.
  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is an income supplement that may be payable to recipients of social security, family tax benefit and Australian Government Department of Veteran's Affairs payments in the private rental market. To be eligible for assistance the rent paid must be above a specified threshold level, which varies according to a client's family situation.
  • Private Rental Assistance (PRA) is a suite of housing assistance programs, including rental assistance (subsidies), bond assistance and relocation expenses, provided by the states and territories through the CSHA and aimed at assisting low-income households experiencing difficulty in securing or maintaining private rental accommodation. For the year ending 30 June 2006, there were 7,989 new Indigenous households who received PRA.
  • Home Purchase Assistance (HPA) or home ownership assistance is provided for people who wish to buy their own house but need help with financing. Assistance can be in the form of deposit assistance, mortgage relief and access to surplus housing stock. For the year ending 30 June 2006 there were 295 new Indigenous households who received HPA.

Administrative data collections
The AIHW collects the national administrative data on programs funded under the CSHA, that is public rental housing, mainstream community housing, private rent assistance and home purchase assistance. There is much variability in the quality of information about mainstream housing assistance for Indigenous Australians. Indigenous identification is not complete and the number of Indigenous households receiving assistance under these programs is therefore underestimated.

The AIHW also collects data on Indigenous community housing from the Australian Government and the states and territories in the National Reporting Framework (NRF) data collection. This administrative data collection was established in 2003-04.

Data on those in receipt of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) come from the FaHCSIA Housing Dataset. A copy of this dataset is provided to the AIHW each year.

At 30 June 2006, administrative data collections recorded around 55,000 Indigenous households receiving assistance through a range of housing programs - an estimated 22,200 in Indigenous community housing, 12,400 in SOMIH, 21,100 in public rental housing and 1,700 in mainstream community housing. There were another 30,200 Indigenous income units (single persons, couples or family units comprising parents with dependent children) in receipt of CRA (table 4.6). Across Australia, over 50 in every 100 Indigenous households were receiving housing assistance of some kind - 18 per 100 were in receipt of CRA, 13 per 100 in both Indigenous community housing and public housing and 7 per 100 in SOMIH.


Housing assistance by state/territory

The rate of Indigenous households in the different housing assistance programs varied across states and territories. Compared with other states, the Northern Territory had much higher rates for Indigenous community housing (61 per 100). This was followed by Western Australia (18 per 100) and Queensland (12 per 100). For SOMIH, South Australia had the highest rate (18 per 100) followed by Western Australia (12 per 100). Western Australia had the highest rate of Indigenous households in public housing (24 per 100) followed by New South Wales and the Northern Territory (15 per 100). The rate of Indigenous households receiving CRA was highest in Queensland (23 per 100) followed by New South Wales (20 per 100).

4.6 INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS OR INCOME UNITS IN MAJOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, by state/territory - 30 June 2006

NSW
Vic.
Qld
WA
SA
Tas.
ACT
NT
Australia

Number

Indigenous community housing(a)
4 989
442
5 671
3 213
991
56
23
6 807
22 192
SOMIH
4 041
1 248
2 822
2 138
1 791
346
. .
. .
12 386
Public housing
(b)8 700
1 233
3 122
4 399
1 210
639
191
1 647
21 141
Community housing
661
56
725
121
65
11
24
na
1 663
Commonwealth Rent Assistance(c)
11 692
1 945
10 377
2 612
1 368
1 007
124
1 031
30 168

Rate per 100 households

Indigenous community housing(a)
8.7
3.1
12.3
17.5
10.0
0.7
1.3
60.8
13.3
SOMIH
7.1
8.8
6.1
11.6
18.0
4.4
. .
. .
7.4
Public housing
(b)15.2
8.7
6.8
23.9
12.2
8.1
10.5
14.7
12.7
Community housing
1.2
0.4
1.6
0.7
0.7
0.1
1.3
na
1.0
Commonwealth Rent Assistance(c)
20.4
13.7
22.6
14.2
13.8
12.7
6.8
9.2
18.1

. . not applicable
na not available
(a) ICH data are number of dwellings at 30 June 2006 as data on the number of households are not available. The number of households would be similar to the number of dwellings.
(b) Estimate based on the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.
(c) Commonwealth Rent Assistance data refer to income units receiving CRA at 3 March 2006. Income units are used to determine eligibility for CRA and comprise single persons, couples, or families with dependent children. In some cases there may be more than one income unit per household.
Source: AIHW CSHA data collection and AIHW NRF data collection, CRA data collection



Remoteness Areas

The location of dwellings (with resident Indigenous households) provided under the three major housing assistance programs according to remoteness areas is shown in table 4.7. SOMIH is provided across all remoteness areas with 34% of SOMIH dwellings located in major cities, 48% in regional areas and 18% in remote or very remote areas. Public housing dwellings (with resident Indigenous households) were also spread across remoteness areas, with the highest proportion located in major cities (33%) followed by outer regional areas (30%). Over two-thirds of Indigenous community housing dwellings were located in remote or very remote areas (68%), with 32% located in non-remote areas (table 4.7).

At 30 June 2006, most Indigenous income units receiving CRA were located in major cities or inner regional areas (67%) with only 2% in very remote areas (Australian Government Housing Dataset June 2006).

4.7 DWELLINGS (WITH INDIGENOUS HOUSEHOLDS) IN MAJOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, by Remoteness Areas - 2006

SOMIH
Public housing(a)
Indigenous community housing(b)
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%

Major cities
4 389
34.1
4 049
32.5
na
na
Inner regional
2 858
22.2
1 827
14.7
7 006
32.1
Outer regional
3 350
26.0
3 772
30.3
na
na
Remote
1 092
8.5
2 047
16.5
2 441
11.2
Very remote
1 198
9.3
746
6.0
12 407
56.8
Total
12 893
100.0
12 441
100.0
21 854
100.0

na not available
(a) The public housing data do not include New South Wales because of the under reporting of Indigenous status. When NSW data are included the proportion of dwellings by location is similar.
(b) Includes permanent dwellings managed by Indigenous housing organisations. Data were categorised as non-remote, remote and very remote according to the location of the organisation managing the dwellings.
Source: AIHW CSHA data collections, ABS 2006 CHINS


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