Accommodating Australians: Commonwealth Government Involvement in Housing
Accommodating Australians explores the rise and fall of public housing during a prolonged period of generous Government support for home ownership while forcing the poor to pay more for their accommodation. The book discusses the way in which Commonwealth initiative led to the States adopting town planning processes that due to State departure from historic approaches to the provision of urban infrastructure services has helped fuel a massive rise in dwelling prices. This book explores the response of the Australian Government during the bleakest years of WWII when it took stock of the situation facing the housing of the people and the way it developed a housing program in the post war period to improve the way they were accommodated. The ambitions of those who witnessed the extremes of housing deprivation during the Depression and resolved to improve the quality of housing, to make it more affordable and the nation fairer are outlined. It is a story about the rise and fall of public housing and helps explain why Australian housing has now become one of the most expensive in the developed world. It is also about the way Commonwealth initiatives built on the reforming agendas of critics within the States of the prevailing mode of and approach to urban development led to the introduction of town planning in Australia. It is also a sad tale about the way principle and mature consideration of the rational way to develop our cities gave way to pre-occupation with accommodating the short term wishes of developers. This history is an important aspect of Commonwealth-State relations over the last 70 years and explores the way interpretations of the Constitution have evolved to result in the Commonwealth gradually assuming greater authority over the States in the development and management of our accommodation (as in other areas). It in, large measure, documents the fragile and limited nature of the idea of the Federation and the few opportunities taken to see things as a nation rather than a loose coalition of States.