Australasian Housing Institute

Affordable and Social Housing Professional Practice Seminar

Exploring the relationship of affordable housing and social housing

Recommend course:


While affordable housing may not be conventionally the same as social housing, the interconnection and interchange between the terminology and these models of housing is ever-present and strengthening. 

Renewed interest in affordable housing funding and movement in the policy realm in this space means social housing practitioners need to engage in the broader discussion of affordable housing.

This seminar offers social housing practitioners the opportunity to hear and learn from affordable housing specialists and participate in discussion about the current state of play in the affordable housing space and relationship of affordable and social housing including new ways social housing providers are contributing to the availability of affordable housing.

Past Events

Sydney, 9th June 2016

A good crowd of community housing practitioners, Team Leaders CEOs, COOs from around Australia and New Zealand braved the post-deluge traffic and public transport to be regaled by an erudite collections of practitioners, academics and consultants.

Dr Vivienne Milligan and Professor Peter Phibbs set the scene with their in-depth research overview of the Australian affordable housing industry, its highpoints and some low points – mostly around short sighted objectives and lack of recurrent funding hampering investor confidence in the industry. In terms of the shift in Australia towards unaffordable housing Peter mentioned the affordability purchase gap is so impossibly wide he felt  a political party founded by baby boomers for their children may not be long off and extremely successful in an election!

John Nicolades in his talk ‘The coming wave of globalisation’ spoke too of the shifts in the housing market, ageing, and funding supply. His terrific graph of the 5000 year span of interest rates and the trillions of dollars in private investment funds showed clearly now is the time for innovative investment approaches. JVs rock!

‘Rethinking the home in the shared economy – affordable alternatives to traditional approaches to private housing’ was the title of Giovanni Cirello’s after lunch thought-provoking and iconoclastic talk. His views on nuclear family-based housing and the current Apartment Design Guides showed housing typologies need to evolve, as do the planning controls. Housing is expensive because there is little room to move with so much regulation whereas his boarding house models was well worth listening to for its simplicity and economy.

Then Brian Haratsis talked on ‘Destructive Cities – A Paradigm shift in building to deliver low cost housing’ was just the best mind-blowing analysis of the opportunities in the affordable housing space. Cities are here to stay, and attract talent-rich economy-generating jobs. Industry Super funds may be coaxed into this industry considering CHPs  underlying stability and yields slip towards 3% - and their members will require housing!

The final part of the day was a lively panel discussion on ‘Affordable Housing – a wicked problem or wicked policy.’ After a ‘sound bite’ from each of the panellists (keeping with  an election theme),  questions  were directed at the panellists (Rebecca Richardson, Brian Haratsis, Giovanni Cirello and John Nicolades) on whether the affordable housing sector can survive without continued government support, whether affordable housing and social mix plays a part in the new economy (free land helps!) and the role Regional communities can play by specialising and attracting talented workers to their region-specific industries.


Confirmed speakers for the Sydney event on 9th June 2016 included:

  • Giovanni Cirillo - Consultant Urban Planner at Planning Lab
  • Brian Haratsis - Executive Chairman at MacroPlan Dimasi
  • Dr Vivienne Milligan - Associate Professor at City Futures Research Centre, University of NSW
  • Professor Peter Phibbs - Head of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy at Sydney University
  • John Nicolades - Chief Executive Officer at Bridge Housing Limited
  • Tina Perinotto - Publisher and Managing Editor at The Fifth Estate

Panel convenor:

  • Nicholas Loder - Senior Project Officer at NSW Land and Housing Corporation


Feedback from participants included:

  • For me, this was a fantastic introduction to some of the key issues and themes affecting affordable housing within Australia.  Thank you very much
  • Really enjoyed the planning and economic speakers perspectives, in addition to the research-based information and CHP perspective
  • Seminar had an excellent group of speakers, all relevant and credible

CHP Points