Housing and Homelessness
Ensuring that all Australians have access to affordable housing has become a broad policy priority across all levels of government. Access to secure, safe, affordable housing, and a place to call ‘home’, is an essential foundation to the health and wellbeing of individuals, children and families.
Meeting the complex challenge of housing affordability in Queensland requires a partnership approach involving all levels of government, cross departments, the corporate and business sectors, the community services industry and the broader community. There are a range of strategies, reforms and policies currently influencing and impacting housing and homelessness in Queensland.
National Regulatory System Community Housing (NRSCH)
The vision for Australia’s new National Regulatory System for Community Housing aims to ensure a well governed, well managed and viable national community housing sector that meets the housing needs of tenants and provides assurance for government and investors. Queensland is unique to other states and territories in that local government is a provider of Community Housing along with the Community Services sector.
Applying for registration under the Queensland State Regulatory System for Community Housing
Local government councils and prescribed state providers who are funded by Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) to provide community housing are required to apply for registration under the Queensland State Regulatory System for Community Housing (QSRSCH). The QSRSCH is administered by the Queensland Registrar.
The Queensland state regulatory framework is established under the Queensland Housing Act 2003 (the Act).
The differences between QSRSCH and NRSCH
The QSRSCH was implemented to regulate local government councils and prescribed State providers as opposed to the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH), which was implemented specifically to regulate non-government organisations. The QSRSCH aligns itself with applicable code provisions of the NRSCH and requirements of the Housing Act 2003 (QLD).
Who is required to register under the QSRSCH?
All local government councils and prescribed state providers funded by Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) to provide community housing in Queensland are required to apply for and successfully attain registration under the QSRSCH, in order to continue their funding relationship with DHPW.
The QSRSCH registration timeframes
On 1 October 2014, the Office of the Registrar invited local government councils (who are funded by DHPW to provide community housing), to commence the registration process under the QSRSCH. The deadline for councils to submit their intention and application for registration under the QSRSCH was 31 December 2014.
Transition period (timeframes)
The transition period refers to the length of time a provider has to successfully achieve registration or to discontinue their funding relationship with Housing Services, Department of Housing and Public Works.
Transition period for local government councils
The transition period for local government councils was recently extended by two years to 30 June 2017, to allow sufficient time for providers to have their registration application assessed and receive a registration determination from the Queensland Registrar.
This means that:
- Local government councils who applied for registration by 31 December 2014 may be provided additional time to address identified evidence gaps in their application; and
- Local government councils choosing to exit the one social housing system, will have additional time to negotiate an exit strategy with Housing Services, Department of Housing and Public Works.
Transition period for Indigenous councils
The transitional period for local Indigenous councils has been extended by four years to 30 June 2019 to allow sufficient time for providers to have their application for registration assessed and receive a registration determination from the Queensland Registrar. Indigenous councils have been provided additional time due to the complexities surrounding land tenure and Indigenous housing.
Queensland Regulatory Information Community Housing (QRICH)
The QRICH database is the web portal established for local government councils and prescribed state providers to submit their formal application and associated evidence when applying for registration under QSRSCH.
QRICH was developed in house using Microsoft’s SharePoint. SharePoint is a web application platform. It provides a secure place to access information and upload, organise and store evidence documents against the relevant performance requirements.
Local government councils and prescribed state providers can access the QRICH database using a web browser e.g. Internet Explorer, Google, or Firefox.
Q Shelter provides a range of resources and services to assist local government councils and community housing providers. Tools and resources, including training webinars, are available on the Q Shelter website.
Phone Q Shelter: 3831 5900
NRSCH Registration Resources and Support
A suite of documents detailed below will form the regulatory principles and guide the registration process.
The Evidence Guidelines describe the performance indicators and evidence sources that must be met by local governments and prescribed state providers of community housing in Queensland that wish to register on the State Register.
Evidence sources are divided into two categories:
- evidence sources to demonstrate the provider’s capacity to meet the principles of NRSCH in accordance with the Act at the time of registration
- evidence sources to demonstrate the provider’s ongoing compliance with performance indicators.
The Performance Outcomes 1-6 Workbook is used to collect evidence from the provider.
Community Housing Asset Summary Report is used to collect asset information and evidence from the provider.
Financial Performance Report is used to collect and report financial information from the provider.
Contact the Office of the Registrar
Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
Address mail to:
The Office of the Registrar
National Regulatory System for Community Housing
PO Box 690, Brisbane, Qld 4001
In Queensland the registration period has been extended to 30 June 2017 for all local governments and non-government providers.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils and specified Indigenous Community Housing Organisations have a transitional extension until 30 June 2019. This is to reflect the additional complexity in these communities around land tenure, registration and Indigenous Housing.
Many councils have historical arrangements with the Queensland government to manage and deliver social housing on behalf of the state. The NRSCH has provided an opportunity for local councils to assess whether or not they are best placed to continue managing community housing.
The LGAQ has been working with the Office of the Registrar and the Department of Housing and Public Works to ensure local councils are supported in the transition process.
The assessment and registration process is currently still underway for local governments applying for registration under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing. The LGAQ will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.
LGAQ has compiled some Frequently Asked Questions to the Department of Housing and Public Works and an information booklet to assist councils in the decision making processes.
Additional information can be accessed at National Regulatory System Community Housing (NRSCH) and the Queensland Office of the Registrar.
National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA)
The National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) aims to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes to social and economic participation.
The NAHA is an agreement by the Council of Australian Governments that commenced on 1 January 2009, initiating a whole-of-government approach in tackling the problem of housing affordability.
In the 2015/16 budget, the Australian government committed $1.3 billion to social and affordable housing, with $266.4 million of that committed to Queensland.
National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH)
The new National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) commenced on 1 July 2015. Under the 2015-17 NPAH, the Commonwealth Government is providing $230 million over two years, matched by states and territories, to fund frontline homelessness services.
Services given a priority focus over the next two years are those providing support to women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and homeless youth.
Under the 2015-17 NPAH, states and territories submitted a Project Plan to the Commonwealth for approval. Project Plans are intended to give a strategic overview of the delivery of the NPAH in each state and territory (Queensland Implementation Plan), as well as providing a detailed indication of how funding under the NPAH will be allocated, and how the NPAH outcomes will be achieved.
National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH)
The 2015-16 Federal Budget announced that NPARIH will be replaced with NPRH for the final three years (2015-16 to 2017-18). Queensland’s 2015-16 to 2017-18 budget allocation under the new agreement of $404 million is expected to be reduced to $377 million as a result. The $27 million reduction will be sourced from the property and tenancy management (PTM) funding component.
NPRH negotiations are continuing with the Commonwealth. It is expected that NPARIH will cease on 30 June 2016, and NPRH will commence from 1 July 2016 should Queensland sign the NPRH.
Critical issues on future sustainability of these communities, particularly where no further funding commitments are made beyond 2017-18 include:
- who will take on the role and responsibilities for property and tenancy management for social housing in remote Indigenous communities in the future, and what is required to develop the capacity and capabilities of such an organisation or organisations to achieve NRSCH registration
- opportunities for establishing Indigenous business enterprises, particularly in housing repairs and maintenance, along with employment and skills development
- home ownership aspirations, including exploring new pathways that is appropriate to specific circumstances of each community and various land tenure arrangements.
Senate Enquiry into affordable housing
In December 2013 the Australian Senate referred an inquiry into affordable housing to the Senate Economics Reference Committee for inquiry and report. The terms of reference of the enquiry included an extensive range of factors covering the role of government and government policy, home ownership, social housing, sustainability and financing, homelessness, and innovation undertaken internationally.
The LGAQ provided a submission to the enquiry with a focus on the contribution of and impact on local government and communities.
The final report was delivered by the committee in June 2015 and made significant recommendations for action. Subsequent to this, the Australian government announced the Affordable Housing Working Group 2016.
On the seventh of January 2016, the Australian government announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Working group to undergo further work on housing affordability. The working group has a particular focus on improving the supply of affordable housing through the introduction of innovative, transformative and implementable financing models. The working group is seeking submissions from interested parties. The closing date for submission is Friday 11 March 2016. There is an issues paper to highlight the scope and some different models to consider.
Reform of the Federation
The Commonwealth Government has committed to produce in collaboration with the States and Territories, a White Paper on the Reform of the Federation. The White Paper will seek to clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure that, as far as possible, the States and Territories are sovereign in their own sphere. The White Paper’s Terms of Reference outline the objectives in detail.
The White Paper will focus on specific areas and, in particular, consider ways to:
- reduce and end, as far as possible, the waste, duplication and second guessing between different levels of government;
- achieve a more efficient and effective federation, and in so doing, improve national productivity;
- make interacting with government simpler for citizens;
- ensure our federal system:
- is better understood and valued by Australians (and the case for reform supported);
- has clearer allocation of roles and responsibilities;
- enhances governments’ autonomy, flexibility and political accountability; and
- supports Australia’s economic growth and international competitiveness.
This paper looks specifically at the roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the States and Territories in relation to housing assistance and homelessness services. The paper has three parts. The evolution of government involvement in housing and homelessness is set out in Part One. Part Two examines pressures on current government housing assistance and homelessness arrangements.
In March of 2015, a stakeholder consultation roundtable was held in Brisbane to provide an opportunity for key issues to be raised in response to the issues papers. The LGAQ was in attendance.
New Queensland Housing Strategy
The Queensland government has committed to the development of a new ten-year Housing Strategy for Queensland. The Strategy will set out the ten year vision and strategic direction to remove housing stress, end homelessness and improve housing affordability in Queensland.
A discussion paper ‘Working together for better housing and sustainable communities’ has been released to stimulate ideas, feedback and innovation on a broad spectrum of housing issues; from homelessness and social housing, to home ownership, an affordable rental system, and retirement living.
The LGAQ is undertaking some specific consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Councils on housing in remote communities to provide feedback on the housing strategy, and will also be providing a written submission.
If you would like to provide any feedback directly to us, please contact Brett Johnson
Five year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing and Homelessness Strategy
The Queensland government committed in the 2015 budget to a Five Year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Strategy. This is currently under development and consultation will begin with communities and key stakeholders in mid-2016.
The purpose of the strategy is to articulate a vision, principles, objectives and implementation plans for achieving sustainable and enduring improvement in homelessness and housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders over the five years from January 2017.
The strategy, while it may have an overall common vision, will include community-specific approaches, acknowledging the regional and cultural diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Queensland.
This strategy sits alongside the broader Housing Strategy.
Industry Development and Engagement Project (IDEP)
The Department of Housing and Public Works has been working in partnership with the LGAQ and the housing assistance industry, which includes housing and homelessness service providers, to build a stronger and more sustainable social housing system in Queensland. The LGAQ is a member of the IDEP reference group.
Industry development is a way for the department to support the housing assistance industry build the necessary skills and capabilities to respond to the increase in need for housing assistance services.
The Industry Development and Engagement Project (the project) will support housing and homelessness service providers expand as a whole. The ultimate aim of the project is to build the necessary skills and capabilities to respond to the increase in demand for housing and homelessness services and to assist the industry take ownership of its ongoing development.
The project will be rolled out in three phases:
- engage and consult with industry stakeholders to determine needs, generate ideas and identify opportunities (this stage is now complete);
- build capacity and capability by delivering initiatives;
- support industry-led capacity development.
With phase one complete, the information gathered throughout the project is currently informing the development of an Industry Development Framework and Action Plan which will be finalized in early 2016.
Links for additional information