This research reviewed Australia’s COVID-19 housing policy responses to better understand their intervention approach, underlying logic, short and long term goals, target groups and level of success. It considered literature and policy from Australia and a small number of international comparator policies; conducted online surveys of landlords and of economists; and consulted key stake holders.
Given Australia’s federated system of government, considerable differences quickly emerged between intervention approaches across states and territories. This was also driven by the extent to which different jurisdictions were impacted by the spread of the virus, the extent and frequency of lockdowns, and damage to state/local economies.
The national and state policy measures implemented to support home ownership achieved the desired goal of providing short-term stimulus to the residential building sector and support to the broader economy. However, a range of anticipated and unforeseen consequences have precipitated as a result of concentrated demand-side subsidies, low interest rates and flexible lending conditions.
The establishment of an agile infrastructure to support information sharing will support more effective and innovative housing policy development in the future. The state-to-state infrastructure and approaches that were developed rapidly and which supported jurisdictional responses to COVID-19 provide a template for a shelf-ready policy-sharing practice that warrants supported development across governments. This could usefully include local government as well as state and territory and national tiers of governance.