Community housing data collection 2012–13 Data Quality Statement

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Quality Statement
METeOR identifier:578512
Registration status:AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 05/06/2015

Data quality

Quality statement summary:
  • All states and territories provide the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) with community housing data from their administrative systems. The AIHW compiles this data for reporting in the Report on Government Services (RoGS), the COAG Reform Council’s National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) Report and internal publications and bulletins.
  • Additionally, unit record community housing data is collected from Community housing organisations via a survey tool managed by the AIHW. Coverage varies, from 95 per cent of the dwelling portfolio in Tasmania to 100 per cent coverage in the ACT and SA. Three jurisdictions (NSW, Qld and NT) do not use the AIHW-managed survey.
  • Care should be taken when comparing data across jurisdictions or between years as data are sourced via a survey of community housing organisations and are subject to variations in response rate.
  • National outputs and indicators were calculated using only those jurisdictions where complete information was available and valid.


Data are provided annually to the AIHW by jurisdictions and are sourced from community housing organisations via survey and from the jurisdiction’s administrative systems. The annual data collection captures information about community housing organisations, the dwellings they manage and the tenants assisted. Limited financial information from the financial year is also collected.

Institutional environment:

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority established in 1987, governed by a management Board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health and Ageing portfolio.

The AIHW aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. It collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.

The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to these standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.

One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national datasets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse these datasets and disseminate information and statistics.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with compliance to the Privacy Act 1988, (Cth) ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions with respect to privacy and confidentiality.

For further information see the AIHW website

Data for 2012–13 were provided to the AIHW as part of the Housing and Homelessness Ministers’ Advisory Committee work program. The AIHW receives, compiles, edits and verifies the data in collaboration with jurisdictions, who retain ownership of the data and must approve any jurisdiction-level output before it is released. The finalised data sets were used by the AIHW for collation, reporting and analysis for all jurisdictions except New South Wales and Queensland, who have calculated their figures using their own data collection processes.


Data are collected annually. The reference period for this collection is the 2012–13 financial year and is mostly a 30 June 2013 snapshot, but also captures 2012–13 household activity. Limited financial information from the 2012–13 financial year is also collected.

Data was due to be supplied to AIHW on 23 August 2013. Four jurisdictions had supplied by that date and the lastest data supply was obtained on 16 September 2013. Following data cleaning and validation, finalised data was signed off by jurisdictions and made available for publishing on 5 November 2012.


Annual data are reported in Housing Assistance in Australia, which will be available publicly on the AIHW website; the Report on Government Services 2014 and the COAG Reform Council’s NAHA Report

Users can request additional disaggregations of data which are not available online or in reports (subject to jurisdiction approval) via the online AIHW data request form or via Housing Unit, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on (02) 6244 1000. Requests that take longer than half an hour to compile are charged for on a cost-recovery basis. General enquiries about AIHW publications can be made to the Communications, Media and Marketing Unit on (02) 6244 1032 or via email to


Metadata and definitions relating to this data source can be found in the National Housing Assistance Data Dictionary (AIHW Cat no. HOU147)

Supplementary information can be found in the housing collection data manuals available at


Community housing, for the purpose of this collection, includes all tenancy (rental) units under management of a community housing organisation (excluding Indigenous community housing organisations). Dwellings are excluded where the tenancy management is by the State Housing Authority or by specialist homelessness services agencies. Additional jurisdiction-specific inclusions and exclusions also apply. These jurisdiction-specific inclusions and exclusions reflect a number of factors including differences in the definition of community housing across jurisdictional legislation, difficulties in identifying some organisations such as those that are not registered or funded by the state/territory housing authority and inconsistencies in reporting such as the inclusion of transitional housing and National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) dwellings owned or managed by community housing organisations.

Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory supply unit record level data.  These data include details on individuals, organisations, dwellings and associated tenancies of the organisations that responded to the survey. New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory submit finalised aggregate data, which includes dwelling- and organisational-level data, but not information on individual tenancies or persons. New South Wales and Queensland provide aggregated household data for most indicators, while the Northern Territory does not provide any household data.

The data are highly relevant for monitoring trends in the number of households assisted in community housing. The data are used for many purposes, including by policy-makers to evaluate both the living conditions of tenants in community housing dwellings, the amount of rent paid by tenants relative to their income, and to assess the efficiency of community housing organisations in providing dwellings.


Data are incomplete for some jurisdictions due to non-reporting or under reporting by community housing organisations. The information was sourced from community housing organisations via a survey tool and/or from administrative records held by state/territory housing authorities. The coverage  differs between jurisdictions – as outlined below.



New South Wales

Of the 126 community housing organisations, 32 completed the survey tool accounting for 98% of the total dwelling portfolio. Data for NSW are weighted to account for non-response.


Of the 105 community housing organisations, 93 completed the survey tool accounting for 99% of the total dwelling portfolio.


Of the 271 community housing organisations, administrative data was provided for 92, accounting for 75% of the total dwelling portfolio.

Western Australia

Of the 33 registered community housing organisations, 26 completed the survey tool accounting for 95% of the total dwelling portfolio.

South Australia

Of the 86 community housing organisations, 85 completed the survey tool accounting for 100% of the total dwelling portfolio.


Of the 77 community housing organisations, 48 completed the survey tool accounting for 93% of the total dwelling portfolio.

Australian Capital Territory

All of the 5 community housing organisations completed the survey tool.

As in previous years, the Northern Territory did not survey its community housing sector but provided administrative data only for all 34 community housing organisations.

There are some known accuracy issues with the data collected:

  • the community housing organisation and state/territory housing authority administrative systems from which this collection is drawn have inaccuracies to varying degrees including missing data, inconsistent data, out-of-date data and data coding or recording errors;
  • not all organisations capture and report all data items – data may not be collected and reported in a manner consistent with national data definitions;
  • for some organisations, some information may be self-identified and not mandatory to report under program eligibility requirements e.g. Indigenous status and disability information;
  • data for ‘tenancy rental units by remoteness’ may differ to data for ‘total tenancy rental units’ due to postcode information being unavailable for some tenancy rental units and data cleaning to treat for missing data;
  • disaggregation can lead to small cell sizes which are volatile - very small cells are suppressed to protect confidentiality; and
  • there are inconsistencies across jurisdictions in the reporting of National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) properties managed by community housing organisations. Data for these properties was unavailable for New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory.

Specific state/territory issues:

New South Wales

  • Occupancy data was unavailable from a large organisation.


  • There were a large number of records with unresolved inconsistencies in the data reported by community housing organisations.
  • Waitlist data reflect the integrated waitlist for all social housing, not just community housing.


  • Waitlist data reflect the integrated waitlist for all social housing, not just community housing. 

 Western Australia

  • Gross income was reported by two organisations rather than accessible income.
  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance was included in rent figures for five organisations.

 South Australia

  • Waitlist data was reported as at 10 October 2013.
  • The maximum amount of Commonwealth Rent Assistance that could be received was reported by one organisation rather than the actual amount of Commonwealth Rent Assistance received.
  • For one community housing organisation, the reported rent charged was reduced by the maximum amount of Commonwealth Rent Assistance that could be received rather than the actual amount of Commonwealth Rent Assistance received.
  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance was included in the reported rent charged by one community housing organisation.

Northern Territory

  • There were some records with inconsistencies in the data held and reported by providers.

Caution is advised when comparing data across reporting periods and with other social housing sectors due to variability in the state and territory government programs reported in the community housing data collection, survey response rates, completeness rates and other data quality issues.
There were changes in the methodology used from 2010–11 for collecting data on community housing waiting lists in all jurisdictions. In May 2009, Housing Ministers agreed to integrate public and community housing waiting lists in all jurisdictions by July 2011. New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory, each have integrated waiting lists. South Australia has a register that integrates multiple community housing waiting lists into a single housing register and Tasmania uses a manual integrated system. In Victoria, community housing organisations may fill some vacancies using the public housing waiting list.

Specific known State/Territory issues are:


  • There were changes in methodology in 2012–13 to manage inconsistencies in data reported by community housing organisations.


  • Properties managed under the NRAS and the Nation Building and Jobs Program were included from 2010–11.
  • There were changes in methodology from 2010–11 for reporting net recurrent costs.
  • Changes in methodology in 2012–13 have resulted in improvements in the identification of households containing a member identifying as Indigenous, with a disability and with a non-English speaking background.
  • From 2011–12, data for new tenancies are captured through administrative systems, resulting in improvements in coverage and data quality.

Western Australia

  • From 2011–12, unregistered providers and registered providers who only managed crisis accommodation properties were excluded. These exclusions did not apply for previous years.

South Australia

  • A centralised community housing waitlist was implemented in March 2010. Category 1 need is used as a proxy for greatest need for the centralised waitlist. Category 1 need includes those who are deemed to be in urgent housing need with long term barriers to accessing or maintaining private housing options.
  • NRAS waitlist applicants were reported for the first time in the 2012–13 collection. Applicants registered on the Community Housing Customer Register continue to be reported in the 2012–13 collection.
  • Total untenantable tenancy rental units in 2009–10 included work in progress properties that were nearly completed. Work in progress properties that were nearly completed were not included from 2010–11.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:

Supersedes Community housing data collection 2011–12 Data Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 25/07/2014

Has been superseded by Community housing data collection 2013-14 Data Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 31/05/2016