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Campbell Newman fails renters in Budget - Federal Government to step in and save tenant service



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Mark Butler

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER

Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP

Campbell Newman fails renters in Budget - Federal Government to step in and save tenant service 11 June 2013

Joint Media Release with:

 The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP Attorney-General

The Hon Shayne Neumann MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General

The Gillard Labor Government today announced it would provide $2.5 million to fund the

Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service of Queensland (TAAS) for the continued operation of

vital homeless prevention services across Queensland.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said the six-month funding agreement would enable 23

local advice and advocacy services to continue supporting Queensland renters and protect

local jobs, while the TAAS seeks a long-term funding agreement with the Queensland

Government.

“Community legal centres play an invaluable role in delivering legal services to vulnerable

members of the community,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Premier Newman cannot cut funding to organisations like TAAS and expect community

legal centres to simply add their work load to the already significant work they do.”

Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler said the State Government had

failed homeless Queenslanders and vulnerable tenants in their 2013/14 Budget and called on

the Premier to reverse the decision to de-fund the TAAS.

“Campbell Newman had an opportunity to man-up, admit he was wrong and commit funds to

the tenant service with funding in the budget, but he has stubbornly refused to shift which is

very disappointing,” Mr Butler said.

“The Queensland Government is clinging to the false notion that other organisations already

provide this service but every time they identify which organisation they’re talking about,

that organisation says they don’t.

“First they claimed it was the Residential Tenancies Association, but they are an impartial

body which cannot provide advocacy. Then they claimed it was the Salvation Army who say

they don’t provide this type of service. And finally they pointed their finger at community

legal centres, but they don’t have the capacity to fill the void left by TAAS.

“Does Campbell Newman seriously think these ‘other services’ can just absorb the 80,000

clients TAAS supports each year without a cent in additional funding?

“The fact is the Queensland Government is wrong about this and they should be big enough

to admit the policy rationale is false and change their position.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General and Federal Queensland MP Shayne

Neumann said Queensland simply couldn’t do without this vital service which supports

around 80,000 renting households each year.

“This is a critical homelessness prevention service for tens of thousands of Queenslanders

across our great state, from Cairns to Ipswich and from Mount Isa to Brisbane,” Mr Neumann

said.

“Every other state government in Australia recognises the importance of this service and

funds it appropriately and the Costello audit recommends more investment in prevention

programs like this one.

“It seems Campbell Newman is the only person in Australia who thinks proper advice and

advocacy for people at risk of homelessness is not necessary.

“This service costs Campbell Newman nothing, with funding coming from the interest earned

on tenants’ bonds.

“The Federal Government is now funding these providers - something every other state and

territory Government does - while Campbell Newman keeps the interest earned and

abandons disadvantaged Queenslanders.”

“I’m pleased the people working in these important TAAS offices are able to continue doing

the good work they do with this Federal Government funding.”

Mr Butler said this is strictly a six month agreement, to allow the Queensland Government to

come back to the table and fund TAAS into the future.

The Gillard Labor Government has invested an unprecedented $26 billion in housing and

homelessness since coming to government.