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Indigenous Community Housing Collection, 2019–20; Quality Statement

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
METeOR identifier:Help on this term731023
Registration status:Help on this termAIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 28/04/2021

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term


Data are provided annually to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) by jurisdictions and are sourced from Indigenous Community Housing Organisations (ICHOs) and jurisdictions’ administrative systems and audits.

An ICHO is any organisation that is responsible for managing medium- to long-term housing for Indigenous people. This includes community organisations such as resource agencies and land councils, which have a range of functions, provided that they manage housing for Indigenous people. Where a state or territory housing authority is responsible for managing Indigenous Community Housing tenancies for Indigenous people, they are classified as an ICHO.

The annual data collection captures information about ICHOs, the dwellings they manage and the households assisted at 30 June 2020. Financial information is for the year ending 30 June 2020.


  • All states and territories, except the Australian Capital Territory (which does not have Indigenous community housing), provide the AIHW with Indigenous Community Housing (ICH) data from their administrative systems. The AIHW compiles these data for national reporting in the Report on government services (RoGS). The data are also published in AIHW reports.
  • Additionally, unit record Indigenous community housing data are collected from ICHOs via data collection tools managed by the AIHW.
  • In many cases complete data were not available for all dwellings or ICHOs in a given jurisdiction.
  • Care is required when comparing outputs across states and territories. Differences in the data collected, including which records are included or excluded from a calculation can affect the coherence of the outputs. Coherence over time has been affected by changes in methodology (see ‘coherence’ section for details).
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 (AIHW Act) to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority, which is governed by a management board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Australian Government 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 AIHW also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work helps improve the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The AIHW 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 data sets and disseminate information and statistics.

Compliance with the provisions of both the AIHW Act and 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 states and territories. The finalised data sets are signed off by the states and territories and used by the AIHW for reporting, analysis and approved ad hoc data requests. Requests for jurisdiction-level data releases must be signed off by the relevant state or territory.

Timeliness:Help on this term

Data are collected annually. The reference period for this collection is the 2019–20 financial year and is mostly a 30 June 2020 snapshot.

Accessibility:Help on this term

Data are reported in the AIHW’s annual Housing assistance in Australia reports.

Users can request additional disaggregation of data which are not available online or in reports (subject to the AIHW’s confidentiality policy and state and territory approval) via the AIHW’s online data request system at Depending on the nature of the request, requests for access to unpublished data may also incur costs or require approval from the AIHW Ethics Committee.

General enquiries about AIHW publications can be made to

Interpretability:Help on this term

Metadata and definitions relating to this data source can be found in the Indigenous Community Housing data set specification 2018-.

Supplementary information can be found in the housing collection data manuals which are available upon request.

Relevance:Help on this term

The scope of Indigenous community housing, for the purpose of this collection, only includes information about ICHOs that received government funding for the provision of housing assistance within the financial year, with the exception of counts of known unfunded ICHOs and the number of permanent dwellings managed by these unfunded ICHOs.

The data collected are from states and territories and comprise information from administrative systems, dwelling audits conducted by states and territories and from ICHOs through data collection tools. The data conform well in terms of scope and reference period, but vary considerably in terms of coverage as data in a number of jurisdictions are not complete for all dwellings or ICHOs.

Classifications used are not always consistent across the states and territories. For example, total recurrent costs and net recurrent costs are meant to exclude depreciation but do not in all jurisdictions or all ICHOs within a jurisdiction.

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

Accuracy:Help on this term

The information is sourced via jurisdiction administrative systems, dwelling audits conducted by states and territories and from ICHOs through data collection tools. Data are incomplete for some states and territories due to non-reporting or under-reporting by ICHOs.

There are known accuracy issues with the data collected:

  • The ICHO and state/territory housing authority administrative systems 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.
  • Information on Indigenous status is not collected. All households are assumed to include at least one Indigenous member.

State and territory-specific issues:

New South Wales

  • Depreciation included in ‘total recurrent costs’ is underreported by ICHOs in New South Wales on the dwellings they own. Furthermore, ICHOs manage a large number of state-owned dwellings that are reported under ICH, on which depreciation is incurred by the responsible government agency, rather than the managing ICHO.
  • Transfers of the management of dwellings occur between ICHOs, between NSW Government agency (Aboriginal Housing Office) and ICHOs or vice versa, quite regularly. The Aboriginal Housing Office manages dwellings in the interim period while a suitable ICHO to manage the dwelling is sourced. This means that dwellings reported in one year as managed by the state/territory housing authority may be reported as managed by an ICHO in the following year.
  • Financial data relating to approximately 38% of dwellings managed by funded organisations were not reported, reducing the values of financial activity such as rent and expenditure.


  • Expenditure and rent data are available predominantly for dwellings and tenancies funded and managed by the Queensland housing authority. Relatively little expenditure and rent data are available for properties managed by ICH organisations.

Western Australia

  • ‘Total recurrent costs’ excludes depreciation. This is consistent with previous years.
  • In 2018–19 and 2019–20, Western Australia was unable to distinguish between net and recurrent costs.

South Australia

  • Data quality may be affected by the following factors:
    • From March 2020, SA Housing Authority (SAHA) staff were unable to visit remote Aboriginal areas due to COVID-19 restrictions.
    • In April 2020, dwelling and person data for ICH were migrated into SAHA's new data system to better align with public housing (PH) and state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) data.
    • A tenancy audit was not undertaken in 2019–20.


  • Some information on households, including the number of additional bedrooms required, is not reported by ICHOs. Therefore, this information is not available for national reporting. In 2018–19 and 2019–20, one ICHO reported the number of households while the other did not.
  • In 2018–19 and 2019–20, person level information is missing for one ICHO and incomplete for the other ICHO.

Northern Territory

  • Information is supplied only about dwellings that are occupied. NT only contributes funds to occupied dwellings.
Coherence:Help on this term

States and territories may publish their own analysis of Indigenous community housing data which may vary in scope from this collection.

Variation over time is in part due to fluctuations in collection coverage (such as the number of organisations supplying data) and the completeness of data provided.

Data for individual states and territories may not be comparable to previous years as accuracy of the data can vary over time. These differences include the data collection source and the completeness of reporting—in regards to ICHOs, the data and instances of unknown values recorded for data items. Data quality issues have varied over the years. For specific caveats on previous years’ data, consult the footnotes and data quality statements in the relevant edition of the Housing assistance in Australia report.

From 2009–10, the scope of most data items within the ICH collection was restricted to ICHOs that received funding within the financial year. This is consistent with the scope of the 2006–07 and earlier collections. In comparison, in the 2007–08 and 2008–09 collections, more data items reflected the performance of both funded and unfunded ICHOs.

Previously, the Australian Government had administrative responsibility for some ICHOs in Victoria and Queensland, and all ICHOs in Tasmania. Data for these dwellings were reported collectively under the jurisdiction ‘Australian Government’. In 2009, responsibility for these ICHOs was transferred to the respective state or territory. Data for these dwellings are now reported under the relevant state or territory.

State and territory-specific issues:

New South Wales

  • From 2012–13, New South Wales reported information about funded ICHOs, the dwellings they managed and the households they assisted. Prior to 2012–13, New South Wales reported proxy information about providers that were actively registered with the Aboriginal Housing Office. Some of these registered providers were not funded. This change in the population reported within the data collection may have contributed to the reported decrease in the number of funded ICHOs in 2012–13 and the reported changes across a number of descriptive data and performance indicators. Therefore, data from 2012–13 may not be comparable with earlier reporting periods.
  • Improved coverage from 2013–14 resulted in increased rental data compared with previous years.
  • Complete data for capital expenditure at the organisation level was unavailable in 2013–14. Thus, capital expenditure data for permanent dwellings in 2013–14 may not be comparable to that of other years.
  • ICHOs provided more complete data in 2015–16 and 2016–17 than in previous years meaning there are increases in rent charged to (and collected from) tenants. Collection of arrears also contributed to an increase in rent collected.
  • In 2016–17, New South Wales, for the first time, included 207 ICH dwellings that are managed by mainstream community housing providers. These properties were not previously reported under any other social housing program. Thus, caution is advised when comparing data from 2016–17 onwards with that of previous years.
  • Unit record information at the household level was reported for 2018–19 only.


  • From 2009–10, both Aboriginal Housing Victoria activity and ICHO activity are reported by Victoria, since they assumed administrative responsibility for the former Community Housing and Infrastructure Program (CHIP), previously managed by the Commonwealth. For the 2 years prior to 2009–10, Victoria reported Aboriginal Housing Victoria activity only.


  • Queensland provided data collected from ICHOs for the first time in 2015–16. Prior to 2015–16, data were sourced only from Queensland’s administrative systems. 
  • From 2017–18, apportioned indirect costs were included in total and net recurrent costs. Indirect costs have not been included in previous years.
  • In 2018–19, there was a substantial increase in reporting of households from a small number of ICHOs. This reflects an increase in coverage and therefore an increase in quality but it is still unclear how complete household data are.
  • In 2019–20, there was a decrease in reporting from ICHOs and subsequently a decrease in coverage.
  • Changes in methodology over time affect coherence of these data.

Western Australia

  • Historically, where only partial information was known when calculating overcrowding, Western Australia imputed the remaining information. This change in methodology contributed to the reported increase in the number of households included in the calculation of overcrowding and may have contributed to the reported decrease in overcrowding from 2013–14 onwards.

South Australia

  • From 2012–13, data are only reported for tenancies managed by the state housing authority (with the exception of an estimated count of permanent dwellings managed by funded ICHOs). Prior to 2012–13, all dwelling and household data were based on tenancy and asset audit data.
  • Data for rates of overcrowding cannot be compared with those from 2012–13 and 2013–14, as unexpected data quality issues contributed to a lack of availability of overcrowding data for these two reporting periods.
  • Approximately 24 dwellings previously reported were excluded from the collection in 2018–19. They are out of scope and incorrectly included in previous years.


  • A new arrears policy was implemented in 2012–13. This has contributed to improvements in data quality for rent since 2013–14.
  • In 2012–13, data for net recurrent costs included costs for depreciation on rental housing which resulted in identical information for total and net recurrent costs. This has been excluded from 2013–14 onwards. Thus, care is advised when comparing data from 2013–14 onwards with previous years.
  • Due to data quality issues, household data are not comparable from 2014–15 onwards with previous years.
  • Improved data submissions from ICHOs from 2016–17 onwards resulted in increases in rent collected and charged from tenants, compared with 2015–16.
  • In 2017–18, only one organisation provided capital expenditure. Care is advised when comparing capital expenditure with that of other years.
  • In years prior to 2018–19, one ICHO included depreciation in the calculation of net expenditure while the other did not.

Northern Territory

  • Around 5,000 social housing dwellings in the Northern Territory have been excluded from administrative data collections since being transferred from Indigenous community housing to remote public housing between 2008 and 2010. From 2016–17, these data are included in the State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing data collection.
  • From 2014–15, data relate to permanently occupied dwellings. No distinction is made between permanent and improvised dwellings, due to a change in the funding methodology with permanent occupied dwellings being funded regardless of their construction type. Thus, caution is advised when comparing data from 2014–15 onwards with that of previous years.
  • In 2018–19, one organisation was unable to finalise their annual rent collected information in time for data submission, so provided half-yearly rent collected information instead.
  • In the Northern Territory, rent is not charged. The dwellings on homelands are privately owned and ICHOs do not have ownership of them. They may ask for a voluntary service delivery contribution (reported as rent collected) but have no jurisdiction to charge rent.

Variations in rent collected include, but are not limited to:

  • the transient nature of residents
  • staff turnover of service providers impacting on reporting quality
  • the change in service provider's internal procedures
  • residents no longer wanting to pay a contribution
  • the number of dwellings and homelands that are funded under the program.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this term

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Supersedes Indigenous Community Housing Collection, 2018-19; Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Archived 28/04/2021

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