This paper advocates a multi-measure approach to Indigenous housing need for the purposes of public funding allocation. It has been developed from three reports examining Indigenous housing need undertaken in 1998 and 1999. The first part of the paper elaborates on the context in which those reports were undertaken, including the concerns of Indigenous people in southern/urban areas that some dimensions of their needs were not being captured by earlier exercises emphasising bedroom need measures. It outlines our multi-measure approach intended to pick up on some of these other dimensions of housing need.
The second section of the paper reports on homelessness, overcrowding, and affordability need measures in different parts of Australia, as estimated from the 1996 Census. It finds that these measures do have very different geographic distributions, thus vindicating the concerns of southern/urban Indigenous people. This section also costs the homelessness, overcrowding and affordability measures of housing need for Indigenous Australians in different parts of Australia in comparable terms.
The third section of the paper examines the incidence of these three need measures across different housing tenures, from owning and buying to private, public and community rental. These too are costed in comparable terms. The fourth section of the paper compares Indigenous and non-Indigenous housing need according to the homelessness, overcrowding and affordability measures using data from the 1996 Census. The fifth section examines Indigenous housing need as measured from the 1991 and 1996 Censuses.
The final section of this paper reflects on some limits and limitations of allocating Indigenous housing funding according to need, even with a multi-measure approach. It notes several other dimensions of housing need in which we have not yet been able to estimate nationwide measures. It notes the policy paradox that some measures of need may go up, while others, through policy intervention, go down. Also it notes that the standards used in this needs analysis are drawn from non-Indigenous social circumstances and may not reflect the aspirations or values of all Indigenous Australians. Finally it notes that to fund always on the basis of need may, over time, be to penalise those who are doing best at addressing need and reward those who are not. Some countervailing principle of public funding allocation on the basis of 'capacity to deliver' may also be required.
ISBN: 0 7315 2632 5