Reprinted. Read directly from The Bulletin here. (April 12)
Help will be harder to get for CQ renters come July
HELP for Rocky’s battlers could get harder if funding of their rental advocacy group is stopped in June.
“The Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service got short-term relief money from the Federal Government after the Queensland Government pulled the funding last year,” CQ Consumers’ Association chairman Dan McIntyre said.
“The federal funding kept the service going but that expires on June 30.”
An average of 180 people a month sought help from the tenancy service last year, most of them from the Rockhampton Regional Council area, and a small number from the Central Highlands and Central West areas.
The detailed figures for 2011 are:
- Service contacted 6189 times
- 1178 face-to-face meetings
- 195 QCAT applications
- 516 households seen each month.
Housing and Public Works Minister Tim Mander said yesterday the Residential Tenancies Authority already processed more than three times the number of tenant inquiries as all 23 TAAS providers combined and would continue to provide renters in Rockhampton with free information about their rights on issues such as rent disputes, property repairs, entry and privacy and getting a bond refund.
But Mr McIntyre said: “It’s no surprise the RTA handles more than three times the number of inquiries, as it receives more than six times the funding of TAAS, and is the central contact point to obtain tenancy forms.
“Also, The RTA does not provide unique advice on queries regarding tenancy law, merely what the legislation is and where to access the forms.
“There is no TAAS-like help in breaking down tenancy law into plain everyday English.”
Mr McIntyre said the Central Queensland Consumers’ Association signed a three-year deal in 2011 to assist Central Queenslanders with tenancy matters.
“But last year the Queensland Government ripped up the agreement and caused many services to close their doors,” he said.
“CQ Consumers received $141,805.62 in core funding in our last year of operation.
“There is no guarantee this money – from the interest on tenants’ bonds – will not be taken by the Queensland Government to be used in projects in other areas of the State, meaning a real financial and job loss to our region.
“TAAS is a free service which helps people keep a roof over their heads and the Queensland Government’s own statements say they would put people on a waiting list rather than helping them here and now.”
Mr McIntyre said tenants had always paid for TAAS with their bond interest, not the taxpayer.
“Now the Queensland Government is double-dipping by ripping this money from tenants,” he said.
“It’s better to have people with a roof over their head now, rather than wait for the Queensland Government to provide a bedsit, maybe years down the track.”
However, Mr Mander said funds were “needed elsewhere”.
“The State Government announced, last year, it would be redirecting funds from TAAS in order to provide additional social housing for our neediest Queenslanders,” he said.
“The services provided by TAAS are available through other government agencies such as the Residential Tenancies Authority and through government-funded programs like RentConnect.
“In the face of so much unmet need, it is important our scarce resources are directed towards those who need them most.
“That means putting roofs over needy people’s heads, rather than duplicating services that are available elsewhere. ”
He said the RTA also provided a free conciliation service.
RENTAL SNAP SHOT
People wanting to rent an average three-bedroom home will pay weekly:
And for three-bedroom units: