We evaluated Round 5 of the Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF), a $480m infrastructure grants program, for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). HAF funds critical infrastructure such as water, road and community infrastructure, where it supports unlocking housing in identified growth areas.
The purpose of the evaluation was to:
- Assess the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the program in delivering its intended outcomes
- To build an evidence base to support future planning
The evaluation focused on the 26 projects funded under round 5 of the program. The evaluation included a literature review, qualitative and quantitative data collection, and a review of program data. The policy and literature scan considered academic and grey literature, including Australian, international and state government policy.
Qualitative data collection included a series of interviews, which were conducted in June 2021 and were recorded and transcribed for analysis. Interviews were conducted with stakeholders involved in the design, management, and delivery of the HAF5 programs and projects, including:
- government stakeholders, including representatives of DPIE and INSW
- delivery agencies, including local councils
- other relevant stakeholders involved in project delivery
Quantitative data collection comprised of an online survey of delivery agencies and project representatives to capture their perspectives on the outcomes of their projects.
The document review considered program design and management documentation, as well as other program documentation including the Strategic Business Case, project prioritisation framework, and INSW Health Checks. An analysis session was conducted to triangulate the findings from the research activities.
A key focus of the evaluation was to build an evidence base to support future planning and inform funding decisions.
We have found that:
- HAF5 appears to be a well-managed program that should accelerate infrastructure to unlock nearly 100,000 new dwellings across NSW
- The design and management of the HAF program aligns with best practice
- HAF5 appears on track to achieve its expected outcomes, but evidence of benefit realisation is not yet available
- Program design is mostly appropriate and reasonably effective, but outcomes measurement and the granting process can be improved
We provided the recommendation to improve achievement of program objectives to the Department to review the business case process, project reporting and evaluation.