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‘Policies that Fail – Words that Succeed’: The Politics of Accessible Housing in Australia

M. Ward, K. Jacobs,

Academic Literature


This paper seeks to contribute to the debate over the efficacy of voluntary agreements versus regulation, and uses a study of the Livable Housing Design initiative to deliver voluntarily new-built accessible housing in Australia. We first probe why regulation has become such a significant component of government policy making, and then ask why political campaigns focus on this issue as a strategy for reform. We refer to research by disability activists, which claims that the voluntary approach has failed and regulation is necessary. Amongst our conclusions are: (1) that the disjuncture between policy rhetoric and outcome can be attributed to the power of lobbyists, reliance on the private market to address inequality, and antipathy to regulatory enforcement; and (2) that there is a need for greater interrogation of the language deployed in policy texts to identify whether they are crafted to maintain the government's legitimacy or to deliver purposeful change. © 2016 Institute of Public Administration Australia

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Australian Journal of Public Administration

Domain/s: Housing and the built environment

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