Late last month new Housing Minister Tim Mander responded to the parliamentary e-petition regarding the funding cut to the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Program. In what is the first public statement we’ve seen the new Minister make, he reiterates the claims of the previous Minister. At least, however, he continues to express the value of the TAAS sector.
Dear Mr Laurie
Thank you for your letter of 1 November 2012 to former Minister Bruce Flegg MP regarding petition 1951-12 which raises concerns about the cessation of funding to the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (Queensland) (TAASQ). As you would be aware, I have recently been sworn in as the Minister for Housing and Public Works.
The Federal Government has recently announced that it will fund the continuation of the service until the end of June 2013. The Queensland Government has welcomed this decision as TAASQ is recognised as a valuable service. We would also welcome increased funding from the Federal Government to help provide more affordable housing.
The government’s decision to cease funding for TAASQ was one of a number of difficult decisions that has had to be made. Unfortunately, the former government left Queensland with a debt heading towards $100 billion by 2018-19, and a public housing system with no money to build houses.
With around 25 000 families on the Housing Register waiting for social housing assistance, the primary focus has to be on the core business of putting a roof over people’s heads. The money saved from TAASQ is being directed towards providing more houses for Queenslanders. The government is committed to addressing the public housing crisis.
I trust this information addresses your enquiry. If I can be of assistance with other matters within my portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact my office on telephone 07 3237 1832.
Tim Mander MP
Minister for Housing and Public Works