Most needy miss out on housing
A third of State housing properties are not going to those most in need, despite big waiting lists, according to a new report.
The first of the Productivity Commission’s annual reports on government service performance, released last Tuesday, found just 67.3 per cent of public properties available to new tenants in the State in 2015-16 were allocated to people in greatest need of accommodation.
The figure falls well short of the national average of 75.1 per cent.
Queensland (96.9 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (96.8 per cent) and Tasmania (91.3 per cent) were the best performers.
Only NSW (51.7 per cent) and the Northern Territory (57.3 per cent) came in below WA.
The independent Federal Government advisory body defines “greatest need households” as those which, at the time of being allocated a place to live, are homeless, have unmanageably high rental costs or are living in housing that either does not meet their needs, is adversely affecting their health or places their life or safety at risk.
“Priority access to those in greatest need is a proxy indicator of governments’ objective to provide social housing services in an equitable manner,” the report says.
The Productivity Commission also noted an increase in the number of households living in community housing.
“Many of the new social housing dwellings are or will be owned or managed by community housing organisations,” the report says.
A higher proportion of community housing properties went to the most needy West Australians, at 82.7 per cent, but 83.6 per cent of such allocations went to those who met the definition for priority access nationally.
In terms of households with special needs, WA ranked worse than any other State.
Less than half of new public tenancies, which are generally accessed by people on low incomes or with special needs, were allocated to special needs households, compared with 61.5 per cent nationally.