Reprinted from the Whitsunday Times 3-5-13. Read it directly here.
Photo from the Whitsunday Times
IT IS deja vu for staff at the Tenancy and Housing Information Service Whitsunday who have once again been told that due to a lack of funding their service is set to close.
Tenant advocate Julie Scanlon and service co-ordinator Rebecca Adamson first felt the effects of State Government funding cuts in July 2012, when it was announced that their service would close on October 30 that year.
After fighting a losing battle to see the service retained, Ms Scanlon and Ms Adamson packed their bags, sold the furniture, destroyed the records and moved out of their premises on Proserpine Main Street. Just days later the Federal Government came to their aid with funding to extend the service until June 30, 2013.
Ms Scanlon said it was hoped that the State Government would pick up the ball after that date but a recent letter from the Department of Housing and Public Works said this would not be the case.
“This service is going to close – I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, so what we need now is clarity so we can advise people where to go when we disappear – so that link is not totally lost,” she said.
Since the Whitsunday office was revived in October 2012, more than 750 tenancy matters have been passed through its doors, ranging from outright homelessness to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) support.
Ms Scanlon said it would be awful if the service was reduced to a phone call, when so often clients needed to see a friendly face.
She said plans to redirect funding from Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services (TAAS) towards the building of social housing in Queensland’s southeast would not help the people of the Whitsundays.
Nonetheless,Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said putting money into bricks and mortar would address the problem of homelessness and made sense.
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