AHURI Research Webinar Series

Housing policy responses to COVID-19

Friday 13 November at 12pm (AEDT)

View the video recording

View the presentation slides

The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented crisis facing the housing system and the people who depend upon it. So large was the potential risk arising from the crisis, that a comprehensive and coordinated, whole-of government response was required. In this new AHURI webinar, we presented the findings from two new research projects examining housing policy responses to COVID-19.

The first project — Responding to the pandemic, can building homes rebuild Australia? — led by Professor Steven Rowley of Curtin University examines the government stimulus measures that have have directed at the housing industry since the beginning of the pandemic. It finds stimulus responses have been largely demand side based, offering consumer incentives to build new dwellings with additional state level initiatives around social housing, planning and tax settings.

It also found that stimulating the housing industry is an effective way of boosting an economic recovery. This research demonstrates that non-residential construction, followed by residential construction, and then infrastructure spending has the highest multiplier effect to those industry sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

The second project — Policy coordination and housing outcomes during COVID-19 — led by Dr Chris Mason of Swinburne University of Technology analysed the scale and range of policy interventions in the housing system during the current pandemic—a critical first step for ongoing assessment of the outcomes and impacts of the initiatives deployed by governments.

It found that $4 billion dollars in new or expedited funding for 98 housing program initiatives were announced by Australian governments due to the coronavirus pandemic between March and June 2020 and that rapidly accommodating some of the most disadvantaged and at-risk groups in Australia is widely seen as one of the early ‘successes’ of governments’ response.

The webinar included two research presentations, followed by an industry response from Tanya Steinbeck from UDIA WA and an audience Q&A facilitated by AHURI’s Head of Development Dr Tom Alves.


RowleyProf Steven Rowley, Curtin University

Professor Steven Rowley is Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute’s Curtin Research Centre. Steven has been active in the areas of affordable housing and housing affordability for the last 20 years covering both the UK and Australia. He has delivered research for numerous organisations including the UK government, Irish Government, European Union, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Department of Housing, WACOSS and, of course, AHURI.

Steven is currently undertaking research in areas including urban regulation; housing affordability; subsidised private rental housing; land supply, and housing need. He has published widely in the fields of economics, planning and housing and teaches property development to final year undergraduates. Steven is a member of the WA Housing Industry Forecasting Group and Property Education Foundation


Assoc Prof Chis Mason, Swinburne University

Associate Professor Chris Mason is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact and Course Director for the PhD by Practice-based Research, at Swinburne University of Technology.

Chris is Australia’s research field leader in ethics, and recognised as a global leader in social enterprise research. He studies the complex relationships between entrepreneurs, organisations and policy-makers to understand how they foster and constrain social innovation. In his role as Course Director for the PhD by Practice-based Research, Chris leads the only transdisciplinary practice-focused PhD program in Australia. This ground-breaking program attracts senior leaders from across business, government and civil society, using an innovative model to support high-impact and practice-focused research.


Tanya Steinbeck

Tanya Steinbeck, Chief Executive Officer, UDIA WA

Tanya has a wealth of property development industry experience in WA across the private, government and peak body sectors. She has worked in various communications, project and management roles for over 20 years. Tanya currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at the Urban Development Institute of Australia in WA (UDIA WA) where she leads a strong team representing the development industry.

Tanya uses her expertise to focus on working collaboratively with government and other stakeholders to achieve a policy environment that enables industry to effectively deliver smart, sustainable and liveable communities. She was previously Executive Director of Regional Services Reform and Transformation at the Department of Communities. Prior to that, Tanya led the successful implementation of the $560 million Social Housing Investment Package. Tanya has also worked for over six years with large listed property developers, Stockland and Mirvac after seven years at the Property Council of Australia (WA).

In December 2016, Tanya was announced as the inaugural winner of the UDIA WA Women in Leadership Award. The award recognises her personal and professional contribution to the development industry over the last 20 years.


Tom AlvesDr Tom Alves, AHURI (facilitator)

Tom leads the Professional Services and Strategic Initiatives components of AHURI's business. As Head of Development, he works closely with AHURI’s University partners, Australian governments, industry, the community sector and other stakeholders to deliver responsive, high-quality professional services and to develop AHURI’s standing as an authoritative voice in international housing and urban policy discussion.

Tom has a PhD in Housing and Urban Studies and has held positions at RMIT University and The University of Melbourne in the disciplines of Property, Architecture and Urban Planning. He has substantial experience in policy and advisory work with the Victorian Government and fourteen years’ experience working in architectural practices in Melbourne and Sydney.