Almost one in five homes in the public housing system fails to meet minimum health and safety standards – lacking essential amenities that most households take for granted, The New Daily reports.
Minimum standards require homes to offer facilities for people to wash themselves and their clothes, to store and prepare food, and to remove sewage.
But, across the country, roughly one in five public housing tenants (19.7 per cent) are renting homes from the government that lack at least one of these basic essentials, or have two or more major structural defects.
Meanwhile, governments are failing to adequately support people experiencing homelessness.
And the amount of annual tax subsidies paid to property investors ($11.8 billion) is more than double the amount governments spend on housing and homelessness ($5 billion).
The shocking revelations are one of many unearthed in the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services.
Conducted by the commission’s steering committee, the report provides “information on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of government services in Australia” in an attempt to improve public-sector performance.
The first of four data sets focuses on community services (aged care, disability, child protection and youth justice) and housing and homelessness.
While it showed national access to public housing had improved, it also found that housing conditions had stagnated over the past five years and unmet needs among the homeless had risen.
Last financial year, 76.4 per cent of Australia’s public housing went to the “households in greatest need,” up from 73.7 per cent in 2014-2015.
(In the ACT, 100 per cent of public housing went to the most needy households. More than 90 per cent went to the most needy in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria, while less than 60 per cent went to the most needy in New South Wales and Northern Territory.)
But a significant share of this public housing failed to meet basic minimum standards.