State and territory housing authorities managed 336,464 public rental housing dwellings at 30 June 2009, of which approximately 98% were occupied.

In total, 328,736 households lived in public rental dwellings at 30 June 2009 including 25,115 Indigenous households, which represented 8% of all households.

Of all households, 88% paid less than market rent for the dwelling, with the remaining households paying market rent. On average, households paying a reduced rent in public rental housing paid about $121 per week less than the market rent for their dwelling.

During the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, 20,753 households were newly allocated to public rental housing. Of these households, two-thirds were classified as being in ‘greatest need’. 1 There were 3,346 Indigenous households allocated public rental housing during 2007–08, representing 16% of all new allocations for the period.

Figure 1 represents the proportion of new allocations by time since application for greatest need households and all households. The figure shows that 60% of greatest need households were assisted within 6 months of application.

Figure 1: New allocations of public rental housing to households in greatest need and all households, by time to allocation, 2008–09  

A total of 177,652 households were on waiting lists for public rental housing at 30 June 2009, with 8% of these households classified as being in ‘greatest need’.

Of the 302,371 households occupying public rental dwellings for which household composition and dwelling details were known, over 20,200 were moderately overcrowded in their allocated dwelling and over 5,200 were living in an overcrowded dwelling. Nearly 36,000 households were living in a dwelling that was underutilised, where there were two or more additional bedrooms to the standard. 2