State Housing Minister Mander yesterday released a his 2020 Housing Strategy (see the media release below) which in part says the government will be looking to move people out, or through, social housing and into the private rental market. But who will help to keep tenants more safely and securely housed in that market given the absense of an independent program of tenant advice in Queensland? Tenant advice services have only beeen able to remain open due to the Federal government’s second commitment of emergency funding. However, that runs out at the end of the calendar year.
Media Release Thursday July 25
The Hon Tim Mander Minister for Housing and Public Works
The Newman Government has announced sweeping reforms to the social housing system under what Housing Minister Tim Mander has described as the biggest shakeup in decades.
Mr Mander said the new Housing 2020 Strategy would establish a flexible, regionally based, integrated system that will deliver at least 12,000 additional social and affordable housing dwellings and see at least 90 per cent of all social housing managed by community housing providers by 2020.
“This Strategy is about bringing Queensland’s social housing system into the 21st Century,” he said.
“Over the past 20 years the composition of households seeking social housing has changed almost beyond recognition. These days, tenants are far more likely to be singles or single parents and more than half have at least one household member with a disability.
“Unfortunately, while the needs of our tenants have changed, the system hasn’t.
“For many years, previous governments have continued to build large numbers of detached three and four bedroom houses, clustered into dense suburban enclaves with little regard to the social consequences for tenants or the community at large.
“Those days are at an end. Housing 2020 will see the delivery of five major urban renewal projects, in Logan, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Mt Isa and Gladstone to revitalise areas which have a high-concentration of social housing.”
As well as new homes and a bigger role for community housing providers, Mr Mander said the sweeping reforms would focus on making housing assistance transitional rather than permanent.
“While there are those who will always require ongoing social housing, there are others whose barriers to the private market could be overcome with the right support,” he said.
“Housing 2020 is about acknowledging and overcoming those barriers and providing real pathways into the private market.
“Unfortunately, under the old system, there was a lack of alternatives which created a ‘social housing or bust’ mentality.