1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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In 2012, Australia celebrates the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. This article recognises the year by looking at the role of housing co-operatives in Victoria. It was prepared by Common Equity Housing Ltd (CEHL) and the Victorian Department of Human Services.

In the early 1980s, co-operative housing in Victoria started to become mainstream, with a proposal for a Rental Housing Co-operative program submitted to the State Housing Commission for consideration.

By 2011, Victoria had 117 housing co-operatives, with approximately 2,400 rental homes across the state. These co-operatives primarily manage long-term rental housing portfolios.

There are generally two types of housing co-operatives, Common Equity Rental Cooperatives (CERCs) and Rental Housing Cooperatives (RHCs). Both are made up of tenant members who contribute to the management of their rental properties.

CERC members are housed in tenant-managed properties leased from a housing association, Common Equity Housing Ltd (CEHL). Contractual arrangements exist between CEHL and each CERC in the form of a head lease on the properties owned by CEHL. Each CERC then leases the properties to individual CERC members. Other housing co-operatives have recently joined CEHL as community managed co-operatives and further co-operative models are under development.

RHCs are registered housing providers with tenant-managed, long-term housing for low income members. The properties are owned by the Victorian Director of Housing and leased to tenant groups under the Housing Provider Framework Lease and Property Management Agreement.

Based on a model of self-help and empowerment, housing co-operative programs in Victoria deliver quality housing and can provide a range of additional social benefits to participants, including the ability to respond specifically to people from particular needs groups, be responsive to changing needs, and imbue a strong sense of community and social inclusion for tenants and members.

As they become more established, some housing co-operatives have expanded their social networking to include other forms of mutual assistance, such as child care, buying groups and even direct assistance to aged or disabled members.


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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.