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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > About us > Our history > 2003


From the early 2000s, greater inequity in the income and wealth of Australians saw declining levels of home ownership, increasing numbers of long-term private renters and greater numbers of households experiencing housing stress. This placed governments and housing providers under greater pressure.
All states and territories renewed calls for the Commonwealth Government to take an integrated, national approach to housing policy and address housing and related issues such as health, education and employment.
Changes to the Commonwealth Government's funding preferences through the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement increasingly directed funds away from the construction of new public housing and into programs to assist low-income earners rent accommodation in the private market.
The demand for housing in Queensland had never been higher. The State's population grew by more than 634,000 persons from 1991 to 2001, mainly due to interstate migration. In 2003, the Queensland population reached 3.7 million.
Australia's population continued to age and diversify. A growing number of people with specialised housing needs were not being catered for by the private housing market.
House prices continued to rise and young professionals and retirees in particular flocked to embrace inner-city living. Burgeoning residential developments and gentrification saw older residential and former industrial areas turned into bustling new communities, further reducing the amount of affordable inner-city housing.
Many people with lower incomes were moving to areas with cheaper housing and often worse access to employment and other services.
As a result, the Department of Housing took a more sophisticated approach to developing sustainable housing options to meet Queensland's housing needs in the 21st century. Research, client participation and consultation, cross-government collaboration and partnerships with the private sector became standard business practice for the department.
Housing design became more innovative with economic, social and environmental sustainability high on the agenda.
With these changes it became apparent that the legislation that provided the legal basis for all of the Commission's activity since its inception, had begun to inhibit rather than embrace the development of innovative housing solutions. Many aspects of the State Housing Act 1945, which was written at a time when the Queensland Government's focus was on assisting families into home ownership immediately after World War II, were no longer relevant to address Queensland's housing needs in the 21st century.
So in 2003, after many years of development and consultation, new housing legislation was tabled in Parliament to replace the obsolete State Housing Act 1945 and to provide a modern basis for the Department of Housing's activities. In January 2004, the Housing Act 2003 took effect and officially marked the end of 58 years of the Queensland Housing Commission.
The legislation was a turning point that provided an opportunity to reflect on close to 60 years of hard work, innovation and commitment to meeting housing need in Queensland, through times of hardship and prosperity. It also allowed the department to embrace the changing direction its activities had taken and to pursue new partnerships and solutions.

William McCormack Place, Five-star energy rating, Cairns

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