In December 1988 the Queensland Housing Commission offered to make available to Community Organisations participating in Mortgage and Rent Relief schemes a one-off grant to employ a Housing Referral Worker.
The expected duties of the Worker were:
- To assist people locate suitable accommodation in the private rental market;
- To assist people obtain Commission bond guarantees, rent relief and long term accommodation;
- To assist with tenancy law advice;
- To assist those in crisis with practical support.
Our first Housing Referral Worker was Ron Leeks with the then auspicing organisation of Rockhampton Family Emergency Accommodation Programme (FEAP).
In July 1991 the Housing Referral Worker Programme became the Housing Resource Worker Programme with the newly formed Department of Housing and Local Government. When Ron moved on to greener pastures he was replaced with Keith Mansfield and around 1996-97 the programme auspice was transferred to CQ Consumers Association at the request of the SAAP service, FEAP.
I joined in 1998 as Keith’s relief worker and did my first block of training in tenancy law at the Tenants Union of Queensland offices in Teneriffe, and what trendy offices they were
Over the years I’ve gone from relief work to part time work to full time, guess I always was a sucker for punishment. It is with great sadness that I have to oversee the closure of a service that has worked tirelessly for almost 25 years, I’ve had to bin and shred documents almost as old as I am.
From all the past workers who have championed the cause of a fair go for tenants in Central Queensland; Ron Leeks, Keith Mansfield, Margaret Whitton, Craig Jackson, Maureen Neal, Leonie Lane, Lyn & Alex Gartlan, Debbie Willebrand and Katelyn Clements; we say…
Fare thee well and good fortune smile upon your future endeavours, the axe is falling and we will cease to be in just over two hours at 12:30 pm local time.
(Editor’s note: the service had to close a month early because Craig found a new job. After 14 years he was made redundant but has no access or right to a redundancy payout. It is a far cry from the Premier’s comments last year the all public service redundancies were voluntary and everyone got big payout. Wrong on both counts in this case)