Date: 07/02/2002

Australians can now look forward to better housing, improved building standards and hopefully fewer bankruptcies in the industry, thanks to a unique new Bachelor of Housing degree at the University of Western Sydney (UWS).

The new degree is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and is a collaborative program combining TAFE and University education. Students spend two years at TAFE then two years at University.

The degree will be launched by the Hon. John Watkins, NSW Minister for Education and Training, at the Carlton Hotel, 350 Church St, Parramatta on Thursday 7 February 2002 from 8am - 10am.

The Housing Industry Association welcomes the new degree saying it is 'much awaited'. "The new housing degree provides an integrated trade and university style development program which will dramatically boost the level of professionalism within the housing sector," said Elisabeth Crouch, Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association in NSW.

Head of the School of Construction, Property and Planning at the University of Western Sydney , Associate Professor Graham Miller believes "a tailor-made degree for the housing industry is long overdue. The Australian housing industry has a turnover of around $20 billion a year which equates to 5% of this nation's gross domestic product and employs around 350,000 people".

"While Australian housing construction costs are relatively low compared with many other westernized countries, unfortunately, the industry suffers from a large proportion of bankruptcies and consumer complaints about shoddy housing."

"The housing industry is evolving and this degree fulfills the need to educate construction professionals of the highest calibre, who will be the future leaders of the industry and who will improve the quality of housing in Australia. The new program provides this important industry with the professional standing and recognition it deserves," Associate Professor Miller said.

"Buying a house is probably the biggest single cost item for most Australians," said Robert Whittaker, Manager, Building Industry Skills Centre (BISC), TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute. "Working in close association with UWS and the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA), we have developed a program that will benefit the general public as well as current and potential building industry professionals."

The new degree has already been a hit with prospective students. So far UWS has received 56 applications for the 25 places in the course, which begins in March 2002.

Other speakers at the launch include: Director General for the Dept of Housing, Mr Andrew Cappie-Woods; UWS Chancellor Mr John Phillips; UWS Vice Chancellor Professor Janice Reid; and Director, TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute, Ms Gillian Shadwick.

Electronic pictures of the launch will be available after the event.

For more media information:

University of Western Sydney:
UWS Media Manager, Mikael Kjaerbye, Ph: 02 4736 0901;
mobile 040234 2326, email:

TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute, Marketing Manager Ruth Adams Ph: 02 9208 9208; mobile 0413 181833, email: