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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
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Housing

HOUSING ASSISTANCE

This section was contributed by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (October 2011).

The Australian Government invested significantly in a broad range of housing and homelessness initiatives in 2010–11, including providing assistance to first home buyers, building more affordable rental properties and taking steps to improve the efficiency of the housing market. The Government has also taken action to improve housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those living in remote communities.


PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES

Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)

Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a non-taxable income supplement payable to eligible Australian residents who rent accommodation in the private rental market. In order to receive CRA, a recipient must first qualify for a social security income support payment, or more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit A or service pension, and must pay a minimum amount of rent, called the rent threshold. Rent assistance is then paid at the rate of 75 cents for each dollar above the rent threshold up to a maximum amount. Rates are based on a recipient’s family situation and the amount of rent they pay.

To maintain the real value of payments, CRA is adjusted each year in March and September in line with the changes to the consumer price index. Both the rent threshold and the maximum amount are adjusted. This ensures that assistance continues to help those paying higher rents.

At 3 June 2011, 1,138,000 income units were recorded by Centrelink as entitled to rent assistance. An income unit is defined as a single person with or without dependent children, or a couple with or without dependent children. The average rent paid by CRA recipients was $410 per fortnight, while the average rent assistance received was $101 per fortnight (table 10.25).

As at 3 June 2011, 21% of all CRA recipients were receiving the Disability Support Pension, 18% were receiving the Age Pension and 18% were receiving Newstart Allowance. Three-quarters of those receiving CRA were single: 21% were sole parents, 14% were single people in share accommodation and 39% were single people living alone.

Nearly 40% of all CRA recipients were single or couple families with children. Sole parent families represented 21% of the total rent assistance population, while couple families represented 16%.

Outlays on CRA are included in the total expenditure on pensions, allowances and family tax benefits, details of which are provided in the Income and welfare chapter.


10.25 RECIPIENTS OF RENT ASSISTANCE, Average rent assistance and rent paid 3 June 2011
Individuals and families
Average rent assistance(a)
Average rent paid(b)
no.
$ per fortnight
$ per fortnight

All recipients
1 138 000
101
410
Primary payment type(c)
Parenting Payment (single)
166 405
116
478
Disability Support Pension
239 500
104
350
Age Pension
203 139
95
336
Newstart Allowance
204 814
97
376
Family Tax Benefit only
145 776
96
618
Youth Allowance student
72 263
85
307
Youth Allowance other
14 810
77
272
Austudy
19 684
93
375
Parenting Payment (partnered)
28 275
131
582
Carer Pension
30 788
109
426
Other
12 546
94
356
Income unit type
Single – no dependent children sharer
161 522
72
274
Single – no dependent children non sharer
445 061
101
325
Couple – no dependent children
100 313
96
440
Single – 1 or 2 dependent children
202 178
111
482
Single 3 or more dependent children
41 433
131
545
Couple – 1 or 2 dependent children
127 978
104
594
Couple 3 or more dependent children
56 406
121
625
Couple temporarily separated
3 109
115
506

(a) Average rent assistance per fortnight is taken to be 14 times the daily rate payable at 3 June 2011.
(b) Average rent is the average rent taken into account in working out entitlements for 3 June 2011.
(c) One member of a couple is treated as the reference person for the income unit, based on the type of payment they receive. The general order of priority is pensions, allowances, Family Tax Benefit (FBT). An income unit will be reported as receiving Parenting Payment (Partnered) only if neither receives a social security payment.

Source: FaHCSIA Housing Data Set, June 2011.


HOUSING PARTNERSHIPS

National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA)

The NAHA was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) at its meeting on 29 November 2008 and came into effect on 1 January 2009. It brings together pre-existing Specific Purpose Payments (SPP) and other funding for affordable housing into a single, overarching housing agreement involving all levels of government (table 10.26). This includes funding previously provided through the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement and the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.

The NAHA provides a framework for governments to work together to improve housing affordability, reduce homelessness and reduce housing disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As part of the new agreement, governments have committed to undertake reforms in the housing sector, including to:
  • improve integration between the homelessness service system and mainstream services
  • reduce concentrations of disadvantage that exist in some social housing estates
  • improve access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to mainstream housing, including home ownership
  • enhance the capacity and growth of the not-for-profit housing sector and
  • reform planning systems for greater efficiency in the supply of housing.

10.26 NATIONAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING AGREEMENT, Payments to states and territories2010–11

2010–11
$m

NSW
388.0
Vic.
276.7
Qld
240.1
SA
95.1
WA
126.7
Tas.
33.5
NT
36.6
ACT
25.2
Aust.
1 221.8

Source: Budget Paper No. 3. National Affordable Housing Special Purpose Payment, 2011–12 Budget.


National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing (NPASH)

The National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing provided $400 million to the states and territories over two years in 2008–09 and 2009–10 as capital funding to increase the supply of social housing by at least 1,600 dwellings. As at 30 June 2011, construction had commenced on 1,890 dwellings, with 1,540 of these completed.


AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Public housing

As at 30 June 2010, the number of public housing dwellings was 333,383, with an occupancy rate of 98%, or 325,726 households. The majority of public housing dwellings were located in a major city (73%) and only 2% were located in remote or very remote areas. Of the households living in public housing, 89% received a rental rebate.

The picture of households living in social housing contrasts with that of the general population. Households in social housing are typically on low incomes, with their main source of income from government pensions and payments. As at 30 June 2009, for the 88% of public rental housing tenants receiving reduced rent (rebated), the most common form of government payment was the Disability Support Pension (31% of total rebated households) and the Age Pension (28% of total rebated households).

Community housing

Community housing is housing provided to low-to-moderate income or special needs households by community organisations subsidised by government. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing is housing owned or managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations for the provision of low cost housing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As at 30 June 2010, there were approximately 950 mainstream community housing organisations managing nearly 46,000 dwellings and another 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing organisations managing over 19,000 dwellings.

Over the seven years to 2010, there was a steady increase in the proportion of social housing dwellings managed by the community housing sector, with housing stock (both mainstream and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) in 2010 accounting for over 15% of the total national social housing stock.

There were 42,414 households occupying tenantable mainstream community housing stock at 30 June 2010. Of these households, almost a third (32%) had a household member with a disability and 12% were from a non-English speaking background. Of the principal tenants in community housing, 9% were aged over 75 years and 6% were aged under 24 years.

The number of newly assisted mainstream community households in the 12 months to 30 June 2010 was 12,834. Of those new households assisted, 27% were previously homeless.

Social Housing Initiative (SHI)

The Australian Government is funding the Social Housing Initiative under the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan to support employment and the Australian economy.

Funding of $5.64 billion is being allocated to state and territory governments to build around 19,600 additional social housing dwellings, with the assistance of the not-for-profit sector. In addition, around 80,000 dwellings have benefitted from repairs and maintenance works, including approximately 12,000 social housing dwellings that were returned to stock (or which, without this work, would have become uninhabitable).

The Commonwealth is looking at new, innovative provision of social housing incorporating universal design and energy efficiency measures in a majority of dwellings constructed through the Initiative.

In 2010–11, the Commonwealth paid $1.294 billion to the state and territory governments for the Initiative. As at 30 June 2011, construction had begun on over 19,200 new social housing dwellings, of which over 15,400 homes had been completed.

Funding for the Social Housing Initiative is being committed over the years 2008–09 to 2011–12. It is expected that all dwellings should be completed by June 2012.

Home Purchase Assistance

First home purchasers have been eligible for financial assistance under the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) since July 2000. As at 2011, the FHOG is a $7,000 lump-sum payment available to eligible first home buyers.

Between October 2008 and December 2009, additional grants of up to $14,000 were available under the First Home Owners Boost (FHOB). Over 153,000 first home buyers took up the FHOB between October 2008 and the end of August 2009.

Home Purchase Assistance is provided by some states to assist low-to-moderate income households to purchase a home or to provide help with mortgage repayments. Some of the mechanisms used to assist low-to-moderate income earners include loans, shared equity schemes, deposit assistance and mortgage relief.


HELPING THOSE MOST IN NEED

Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS)

Since 1 January 2009, the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) provides funding for Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) agencies. SHS agencies provide emergency and transitional supported accommodation and related services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

In 2009–10, a total of 1,559 SHS agencies assisted 135,700 homeless persons and 84,100 accompanying children across Australia. On average, SHS agencies provided 40,800 support periods to clients each day and 26,300 support periods to accompanying children. Every night during 2009–10, SHS agencies provided an average of 16,200 support periods with accommodation to clients and accompanying children.

The primary focus of SHS agencies was to use a case management approach to support homeless people, including adults and children escaping domestic violence. Through this process, clients were offered a range of services including supported accommodation, counselling, advocacy, links to services, outreach support, brokerage and meals.

The Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse

In July 2011, the Australian Government, through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs introduced the new ‘Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse’ website, replacing the National Homelessness Information Clearinghouse.

The new website is a resource for the homeless services sector to share information and good practice solutions on homelessness issues in Australia. The Clearinghouse provides information on national, state and territory, community and international homelessness initiatives; information on client issues and service delivery; research papers, and homelessness data. It also has a ‘Communities of Practice’ function to encourage online forums on homelessness.

National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPARIH)

In November 2008, the Australian Government, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), committed $5.5 billion over 10 years (2008–09 to 2017–18) to reform the provision of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing. The National Partnership on Remote Housing outlined responsibility between governments, with the states and Northern Territory being the major provider of housing services.

The Australian Government and state and territory governments agree that housing investment in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a central building block to achieving the targets for ‘Closing the Gap’ on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage through the NPARIH. The NPARIH is targeted at:
  • significantly reducing overcrowding
  • increasing the supply of new houses and improving the condition of existing houses and
  • ensuring that rental houses are maintained and managed.
The NPARIH will deliver up to 4,200 new houses and around 4,800 rebuilds and refurbishments in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. In addition, all new, rebuilt, and refurbished houses are being supported by robust and standardised tenancy management arrangements and a program of ongoing repairs and maintenance that will progressively increase the life cycle of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing.

From the commencement of the National Partnership on 1 January 2009 until 30 June 2011, more than 800 new houses have been completed and 3,100 houses have been rebuilt and refurbished nationally.

State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH)

The primary purpose of SOMIH is to achieve more effective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing outcomes. SOMIH is administered by state and territory governments and is targeted specifically at households with at least one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member. It provides appropriate, affordable and accessible housing for low- to moderate-income households.

There were 11,451 households in SOMIH at 30 June 2010 (graph 10.27), down from 12,375 two years earlier. Nationally, 33% of all SOMIH dwellings were located in major cities, 24% were located in inner regional Australia, 25% were located in outer regional Australia, and 18% were located in remote or very remote areas of Australia.

10.27 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER HOUSEHOLDS IN PUBLIC RENTAL OR SOMIH ACCOMMODATION—As at 30 June 2010



Home ownership

Indigenous Business Australia's Home Ownership Program (HOP) provides affordable home loan finance to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to assist in reducing the disparity between the rate of home ownership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households and that in other Australian households. According to the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, the home ownership rate for usual resident households with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person(s) was 36%, around half the rate for other usual resident households (71%).

HOP provides home loans on concessional terms to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The scheme targets low income Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with the capacity to repay a long-term loan, but who have difficulty obtaining finance from traditional lending institutions. The loan portfolio currently includes 3,701 loans valued at $672.4 million. In 2010–11, there were 606 new loans approved. Since the program's establishment, it has helped in excess of 14,700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to buy their own homes.

Home ownership on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's land

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living on community-titled land have not been able to buy their own homes for a number of reasons, including a lack of secure land tenure, low income, remote construction difficulties, and lack of available land and houses. This has limited their ability to control living conditions, improve their long-term economic circumstances and transfer wealth to future generations.

The Australian Government amended the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cwlth) in 2006, in part to make long-term leases over community-titled land readily available to prospective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander home owners. To complement these reforms, the Home Ownership on Indigenous Land (HOIL) program, delivered by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) was established to provide affordable loans and other assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, including financial management, legal advice and project management for renovations and construction.

Home ownership, and subsequent demand for HOIL, is dependent on appropriate land tenure; the Australian Government is working closely with the states and Northern Territory to implement necessary land tenure reform. The Australian Government provided $38.1 million for HOIL in 2010–11.

Up until August 2011, a total of 18 loans were approved to 16 IBA clients in the Tiwi Islands to purchase their own homes under this program.

Residential aged care

The Australian Government, through the Department of Health and Ageing, subsidises and regulates residential care for older people who are unable to continue living independently in their own homes. Most residential care is provided by the non-government sector, including not-for-profit and private sector providers.

The Australian Government subsidises the provision of residential care to approved residents. The payment for each resident consists of a basic subsidy plus any relevant supplements. Subsidy and supplement payments are paid directly to providers of aged care services on behalf of residents using those services. Residents who can afford to do so also contribute to the cost of their care and accommodation.

Targeted capital assistance is also available to aged care homes catering largely for residents with special needs, on low incomes or located in rural and remote areas of Australia. Residents can also be asked to pay fees and charges toward their care costs. In addition, the Zero Real Interest Loans initiative provides up to $300 million in zero real interest loans to residential care providers to build or expand residential and respite care facilities in areas of high need.

The main types of care are low level (hostel) services and high level (nursing home) services. The rights of care recipients are protected and promoted through the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme, advocacy services and the Community Visitors' Scheme. To receive funding, each aged care home must meet specific care and building standards and be accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.

Table 10.28 shows the number of aged care residents at 30 June. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of residents increased by 22%.

Table 10.29 shows Australian Government recurrent expenditure and capital grants on residential aged care. Between 2005–06 and 2010–11, recurrent expenditure increased by 49%.


10.28 NUMBER OF RESIDENTS OF AGED CARE HOMES AT 30 JUNE

2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.

NSW
48 978
49 851
51 128
52 469
53 165
542 667
55 093
55 701
57 282
58 358
Vic.
33 992
35 504
37 211
38 290
39 388
40 290
41 178
42 018
42 989
43 559
Qld
25 466
26 085
26 667
27 364
27 806
28 296
28 679
28 998
29 919
30 310
SA
13 268
13 830
14 425
14 918
15 277
15 547
15 700
15 737
15 792
15 957
WA
11 614
11 853
12 333
12 850
13 102
13 167
13 426
13 519
13 853
14 176
Tas.
3 781
3 896
3 975
4 071
4 167
4 153
4 254
4 201
4 258
4 334
NT
356
356
406
409
417
408
408
413
438
468
ACT
1 443
1 481
1 489
1 516
1 545
1 589
1 641
1 705
1 812
1 880
Aust.
138 898
142 856
147 634
151 887
154 867
157 717
160 379
162 292
166 343
169 042

Source: Department of Health and Ageing.


10.29 AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE ON RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE

Residential care (recurrent)
Capital grants allocated


2005–06
2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
2010–11
2005–06
2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

NSW
1 849.8
1 959.8
2 084.2
2 248.1
2 429.6
2 734.4
11.9
7.1
10.1
23.1
4.0
Vic.
1 316.8
1 396.4
1 495.3
1 626.8
1 801.4
2 032.8
9.7
12.5
9.5
13.6
5.8
Qld
953.7
1 005.0
1 058.8
1 127.9
1 268.6
1 407.5
8.1
7.3
4.0
0.3
21.0
SA
550.3
590.8
632.1
680.2
736.1
800.7
1.8
4.9
0.3
WA
441.1
465.2
495.5
536.7
594.2
669.1
2.2
6.3
7.7
10.6
0.8
Tas.
147.2
153.4
161.5
167.7
177.8
196.1
6.5
2.6
2.6
5.4
3.4
NT
17.7
17.3
17.9
18.6
20.5
25.1
0.5
2.9
6.3
6.6
ACT
51.6
54.2
56.7
61.3
68.9
80.9
. .
. .
Central office (accrual)
..
13.4
7.8
. .
. .
Aust.(a)
5 328.2
5 655.5
6 002.9
6 474.0
7 097.1
7 954.4
40.7
43.5
40.5
53.0
41.6

. . not applicable
— nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes expenditure by the Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, in accrual terms.
Source: Department of Health and Ageing.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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