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Accommodating Australians

Accommodating Australians

Commonwealth Government Involvement in Housing

By Patrick N Troy AO


Accommodating Australians explores the rise and fall of public housing during a prolonged period of generous Government support for home ownership while forcing the poor to pay more for their accommodation.

The book discusses the way in which Commonwealth initiative led to the States adopting town planning processes that due to State departure from historic approaches to the provision of urban infrastructure services has helped fuel a massive rise in dwelling prices.

This book explores the response of the Australian Government during the bleakest years of WWII when it took stock of the situation facing the housing of the people and the way it developed a housing program in the post war period to improve the way they were accommodated.

The ambitions of those who witnessed the extremes of housing deprivation during the Depression and resolved to improve the quality of housing, to make it more affordable and the nation fairer are outlined. It is a story about the rise and fall of public housing and helps explain why Australian housing has now become one of the most expensive in the developed world.

It is also about the way Commonwealth initiatives built on the reforming agendas of critics within the States of the prevailing mode of and approach to urban development led to the introduction of town planning in Australia. It is also a sad tale about the way principle and mature consideration of the rational way to develop our cities gave way to pre-occupation with accommodating the short term wishes of developers.

This history is an important aspect of Commonwealth-State relations over the last 70 years and explores the way interpretations of the Constitution have evolved to result in the Commonwealth gradually assuming greater authority over the States in the development and management of our accommodation (as in other areas). It in, large measure, documents the fragile and limited nature of the idea of the Federation and the few opportunities taken to see things as a nation rather than a loose coalition of States.


Introduction: Housing as a Right
The beginnings of National Housing Policy
Commonwealth Responsibilities
The Commonwealth Housing Commission
Post-War Reconstruction
Commonwealth Housing Ministry
Commonwealth State Housing Agreement
Administration of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement – Public Housing, Home Ownership, Town Planning.
The First CSHA 1945 – 1956 The Public Housing Dream
The Second CSHA 1956 – 1961 The Swing to Home Ownership
The Third CSHA 1961 – 1966 The Triumph of Home Ownership
The Fourth CSHA 1966 – 1973 Toward Welfare Housing
The Fifth CSHA 1973 – 1978 Attempted Resuscitation of Public Housing
The Sixth CSHA 1978 – 1981 Making the Poor Pay More
The Seventh CSHA 1981 – 1984 False Promise
The Eighth CSHA 1984 – 1989 Residual Welfare Housing
The Ninth CSHA 1989 – 1996 The Public Housing Charade
The Tenth CSHA 1996 -1999 Worse than Disregard - Uncertainty
The Eleventh CSHA 1999 – 2003 Wanton Disregard
The Twelfth CSHA 2003 – 2008 The end Not with a Bang but a Whimper
The National Affordable Housing Agreement 2009 – Too Little Too Late?
The Stock of Accommodation
Town Planning
Summary of Commonwealth Housing Policy Initiatives 1945-2010
“Housing” Ministers since 1945
Bibliography and References
Notes on Sources

Published 14 June 2012
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862878747
Australian RRP $59.95
International Price $55.00
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Urban Planning
Australian History / Studies
Social Studies

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