For taxpayers in Western Australia, recent media reports that tenants of some public housing tenants had allegedly used their premises to operate illegal brothels and to conduct other unlawful activities such as firearm offenses, receipt of stolen property and the manufacturing of narcotics called into question the nature of what was going on at facilities which they fund.

Yet isolated examples of such behaviour mask what a growing number feel is a far more important issue in terms of deep seated structural problems in public housing which see a system which is financially unsustainable and failing to deliver services which are appropriate to meet the needs of modern…