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About us

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is a statutory authority, established under the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (DHA Act), and is one of Australia’s most successful Government Business Enterprises (GBE).

We provide housing and related services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families in accordance with the DHA Act and service agreements with the Department of Defence. In doing so, we contribute to ADF recruitment, retention and operational goals.

We are required to maintain a strong balance sheet and to meet shareholder return obligations, including the payment of dividends to Government based on 60 per cent of net profit after tax.
We do not receive funding directly from the Federal budget. We fund our operations through the receipt of fees and charges from Defence and lessors for our services and the sale of:

  • property through our Sale and Leaseback (SLB) program
  • land and property from our developments that are surplus to our provisioning requirements
  • disposal of properties that no longer meet Department of Defence minimum specifications or operational requirements.

Our role and responsibilities

Housing solutions for ADF members and their families

We provide housing solutions to ADF Members with Dependants (MWD) in accordance with the Services Agreement and to ADF Members without Dependants (MWOD) or single ADF members in accordance with the MWOD Choice Accommodation (MCA) Agreement.

Property, tenancy and lessor management

We provide housing allocations and tenancy management services to ADF members and their families, and property management services to lessors. We establish leases through our Sale and Leaseback (SLB) and direct leasing programs, and extend existing leases and/or negotiate new leases to meet provisioning requirements.

Property sourcing

We manage a multi-billion dollar capital program to meet our provisioning obligations to the Department of Defence and maintain the currency and quality of our property portfolio. We buy land, construct houses and, as required, purchase and/or lease new and established houses. We also provide on-base and regional and/or remote housing services to the Department of Defence.

Portfolio management

We generate capital through our SLB program, where we sell property on long term leaseback arrangements. In addition, we sell excess land and properties from our developments and surplus properties that no longer meet Defence minimum standards or requirements. We also retain ownership of and manage a portfolio of housing in strategic locations around Australia.

Generate shareholder value

We deliver value-for-money services to the Department of Defence and seek to generate sufficient revenue to enable us to continue achieving our mandated role on a commercially sustainable basis. We do this while continuing to maintain an operational service delivery model, sound governance practices, a skilled and productive workforce, and a safe workplace that delivers high quality and professional outcomes.


We operate within a governance structure to inform decision making and to produce accountable business outcomes and sound organisational performance.

Our legislative framework

The legislative framework we operate in largely informs our governance structure. The most influential pieces of legislation are the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (DHA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Defence Housing Australia Act

The Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 established DHA as a statutory authority1 and sets out our functions and powers, corporate structure, and delegations. Section 5 of the Act prescribes our main function:

  1. The main function of DHA is to provide adequate and suitable housing for, and housing-related services to:

in order to meet the operational needs of the Defence Force and the requirements of the Department.

In 1992, we became a Government Business Enterprise2 to undertake commercial business activities on behalf of the Australian Government.

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act

Under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, DHA is both a corporate Commonwealth entity3 and Government Business Enterprise (GBE). This Act sets the standards of governance, performance and accountability for all GBEs and imposes specific duties on our Board of Directors and Executive Group relating to the use and management of resources.

The Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines (GBE Guidelines) provide additional guidance on board and corporate governance, financial governance and planning and reporting.
A principle objective is that we add to shareholder value by making commercial returns and paying commercial dividends. We must deliver on these requirements whilst also fulfilling our functions under the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (DHA Act).

Other applicable legislation

As a Government Business Enterprise, we also operate within the following Commonwealth legislation:

As an Australian Government employer, we also adhere to the provisions and statutes of various employment-related legislation, including but not limited to, the Public Service Act 1999 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Governance structure

Shareholder Ministers

DHA sits within the Defence portfolio and, through our Board, reports to the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Finance as Shareholder Ministers. Responsibility for operational matters is typically delegated to an Assistant Minister.
As at 19 July 2016, our Shareholder Ministers were:

Board of Directors

A Board of Directors is the accountable authority for DHA under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and is responsible for the proper and efficient performance of our functions.

Executive Group

An Executive Group comprising the most senior staff in the organisation, supports the Managing Director in fulfilling our role.

Our subsidiary

DHA Investment Management Limited (DHA IML) was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of DHA in 2012 and holds an Australian Financial Services License to conduct a financial services business.  DHA IML has its own governance and financial structure.

Our planning framework

We prepare numerous corporate and performance reports in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines (GBE Guidelines).

Corporate Plan

Our four-year Corporate Plan sets the strategic direction of the business, including corporate objectives, KPIs and a long-term outlook of future priorities. We review and update the plan annually, in line with our service agreements with Defence and in consultation with our shareholder departments.

Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI)

We prepare a Statement of Corporate Intent (PDF 1509 KB) annually based on the Corporate Plan. The SCI is a high level, plain English overview of our key objectives and priorities for the financial year. The SCI is published on our website.

Corporate social responsibility statement

DHA’s Corporate social responsibility statement outlines our commitment to deliver, in a socially and environmentally responsible way, our annual Corporate Plan.

Business plans

Each division develops a business plan that incorporates all relevant responsibilities from the Corporate Plan, together with extra activities and measures linked to budget. Within divisions, some teams may also develop plans specific to program delivery. Staff use this information to develop their performance development agreements.

Quarterly performance report

Each quarter, we provide our Shareholder Ministers with a report on our operations, including progress against KPIs, an update on key programs and projects and any material changes and risk affecting the business.

Annual report

At the end of each financial year, we prepare an Annual Report for Parliament in accordance with legislation. The report sets out our performance in delivering the stated objectives and strategies in our Corporate Plan and our audited financial statements. It is tabled in Parliament and published on our website.

1 A body created by the Parliament for a specific purpose.
2 A body created when Government wishes to conduct some form of commercial enterprise at arm’s length from usual departmental structures and processes.
3 A corporate body, established by a law of the Commonwealth but legally separated from it. Corporate Commonwealth entities can act in their own right and exercise certain legal rights such as entering into contracts and owning property.