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Community housing data collection 2013-14 Data Quality Statement

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
METeOR identifier:Help on this term598524
Registration status:Help on this termAIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 31/05/2016

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term


Data are provided annually to the AIHW by jurisdictions and are sourced from Community Housing Organisations (CHOs) via a survey and from the jurisdiction’s administrative systems. The annual data collection captures information about CHOs, the dwellings and tenancy rental units they manage, households on the waiting list, and the tenants and households assisted. Limited financial information from the previous financial year is also collected.


  • All states and territories provide the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) with community housing data from their administrative systems. The AIHW compiles their data for national reporting in the Report on Government Services (RoGS). The data are published in AIHW reports.
  • Additionally, unit record community housing data are collected from Community housing organisations via a survey tool managed by the AIHW. Two jurisdictions (Qld and NT) do not use the AIHW-managed survey.
  • National outputs and indicators are calculated using data from only those jurisdictions where complete information was available and valid.
Institutional environment:Help on this term

The 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 corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1987, governed by a management Board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health 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 data sets based on data sets from each jurisdiction, to analyse these data sets 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

The AIHW receives, compiles, edits and verifies the data in collaboration with jurisdictions. The finalised data sets are signed off by the jurisdictions and used by the AIHW for reporting and analysis.

Timeliness:Help on this term

Data are collected annually. The reference period for this collection is the 2013–14 financial year. The collection is mostly a 30 June 2014 snapshot, but also captures 2013–14 household activity. Limited financial information from the 2012–13 financial year is also collected.

Accessibility:Help on this term

Annual data are reported in Housing Assistance in Australia, which is available publicly on the AIHW website and the Report on Government Services 2015.

Users can request additional disaggregations of data which are not available online or in reports (subject to jurisdiction approval) via the AIHW’s online data request system at 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 Digital & Media Communications Unit on (02) 6244 1032 or via email to

Interpretability:Help on this term

Metadata and definitions relating to this data source can be found in the National Housing Assistance Data Dictionary (AIHW Cat no. HOU269)

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

Relevance:Help on this term

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 are managed by the State Housing Authority or by a specialist homelessness services agency. 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 among those that are not registered or funded by the state/territory housing authority, and some inconsistencies in reporting such as the inclusion of transitional housing and National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) dwellings owned or managed by CHO’s.

New South Wales, 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. Queensland and the Northern Territory submit finalised aggregate data, which includes dwelling and organisational level data, but not information on individual tenancies or persons. 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.

Accuracy:Help on this term

The information was sourced via a survey of community housing organisations conducted by state/territory housing authorities and/or from administrative records held by them. Data are incomplete for some jurisdictions due to non-reporting or under reporting by CHO’s. The response rate differs between jurisdictions



New South Wales

Of the 120 community housing organisations, 32 completed the survey tool accounting for 98% of the total dwelling portfolio.


Of the 102 community housing organisations, 80 completed the survey tool accounting for 99% of the total dwelling portfolio.


Of the 265 community housing organisations, administrative data was provided for 101, accounting for 70% of the total dwelling portfolio.

Western Australia

Of the 34 registered community housing organisations, 28 completed the survey tool accounting for 97% of the total dwelling portfolio.

South Australia

Of the 80 community housing organisations, 79 completed the survey tool accounting for 100% of the total dwelling portfolio.


Of the 72 community housing organisations, 43 completed the survey tool accounting for 100% of the total dwelling portfolio.

Australian Capital Territory

All of the 5 community housing organisations completed the survey tool accounting for 100% of the total dwelling portfolio.

Northern Territory

Did not survey its community housing sector but provided administrative data only for all 37 community housing organisations.

There are some accuracy issues with the data collected:

  • the community housing organisation and state/territory housing authority administrative systems from which this collection are 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;
  • 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; and
  • waitlist data are reported separately for each social housing program. Where jurisdictions have an integrated waitlist (ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, WA,), applicants may be counted for each program for which they are applying. In some jurisdictions, CHO’s may additionally maintain and allocate housing to households on their own waiting list.

Specific state/territory issues:

New South Wales

  • Data from 2012-13 and earlier reporting periods may not be comparable due to a change in reporting methods. Previously an organisation aggregated unit record data and provided the aggregated figures to the State Housing Authority. From 2013-14 onwards, CHOs provide unit record data. Over time this will result in improved data quality, however, as 2013-14 is the first time under the new system, some data quality issues have arisen. These will be addressed during 2014-15.


  • In 2013-14, there continues to be a large number of records with inconsistencies in the data reported by community housing organisations. The jurisdiction are working with organisations to identify and resolve these inconsistencies and improve data.

 South Australia

  • Updated accredited social housing management software has allowed organisations to separate out financial data that was previously reported together.  This has led to the improved collection of rent data.


  • Unit level data contained a large number of records with unknown responses which may affect the reliability of results.
Coherence:Help on this term

Data for individual jurisdictions may not be comparable across reporting periods, nor with other social housing sectors due to variability in the state and territory government programs reported in the community housing data collection, coverage and completeness rates and other data quality issues. Differences between jurisdictions concerning incomplete or missing information, out-of-date information and coding errors can affect the coherence of the outputs

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. Comparisons of waitlist data from years prior to 2010-11 should not be made with data from subsequent years due to the implementation of integrated waitlists with the potential for applicants to be counted in waitlist data across more than one social housing collection.

Specific known State/Territory issues are:


  • Affordable Housing Program data has been included for the first time in 2013-14 data. These data were not available in prior years. As rent setting policies under this program are based on a discount to market, and not as a proportion of income, the inclusion of these data would tend to increase the proportion of income allocated to rent.

  • Improvements have been made in the identification of households containing a member identifying as Indigenous, with a disability and/or from a non-English speaking background.

  • From 2011-12, system improvements have led to better data capture for new tenancies resulting in improved coverage and data quality.

South Australia

  • Improvement in reporting methods has led to increased data provision and decrease in missing data.

  • In previous years the waitlist data was reported based solely on the Community Housing Customer Register. Applicants for NRAS properties were registered on a separate waitlist. Since 2012-13, wait list data has been reported together for applicants for community housing and applicants for NRAS housing. As NRAS housing rent setting policies are based on a discount to market, and not as a proportion of income (the norm for community housing), the inclusion of this data would tend to increase the proportion of income allocated to rent.


  • Tenancy management of 2,188 Public Housing and 34 SOMIH properties was transferred to the Community Housing sector, under the Better Housing Futures program in 2013-14. This has led to a doubling of in-scope dwellings.  This has increased the total tenancy rental units and affected related performance indicators. Due to relatively short transfer period before reporting, some data (particularly financial data) related to these transfers was not available. Indicators relying on such data that are reported as proportions may not have moved in line with the increase in tenancy rental units.  

Northern Territory

  • Changes to stock holdings have altered breakdowns of the total number of tenancy rental units by remoteness.


Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this termAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Has been superseded by Community Housing Data Collection, 2014-15; Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 06/01/2017

Supersedes Community housing data collection 2012–13 Data Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 05/06/2015

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