Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP

Newman Government to leave tenants out in the cold

If there was any doubt about the callous approach of the Newman Government to vulnerable Queenslanders, those doubts have dissipated today as they cancelled funding agreements with organisations supporting vulnerable housing tenants like the elderly and people living in caravan parks.

Despite the Federal Government increasing funding for Queensland services under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, the Newman Government have written to 23 tenant advice and advocacy services to cancel their funding agreements.

Currently, tenant advice and advocacy services are recognised as core state responsibilities and earlier this month all states and territories agreed in principal to continue providing these services.

Mr Butler said he was completely bewildered by the move saying that tenant advice and advocacy services were critical to keeping people out of homelessness.

“The most effective way to reduce homelessness is to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place and services such as these help to do exactly that,” Mr Butler said.

“Every other state and territory in Australia funds tenant advice and advocacy services.”

“The Newman Government simply don’t get it – if you pull your investment in this area, it’s going to pop up somewhere else with people ending up homeless and out in the cold.”

Mr Butler said in contrast, the Gillard Labor Government was increasing funding to Queensland for services that keep people out of homelessness.

“We’re increasing funding to Queensland next year and we want a prevention based approach but the Newman Government seems intent on playing politics instead of policy.”

“I think these newest Newman cuts will hurt most for people in caravan parks, older Australians and people with a disability who are most vulnerable to being taken advantage of – basically people who need someone to stand up for them like the tenant service.”

“We’ve been working with all the states on a new way forward for homelessness and Mr Newman is the only Premier in Australia who has turned around and said – we’d rather leave them out in the cold.”

Mr Butler said service providers are furious at the Newman Government but he’s gagged them from saying anything publicly.

“Mr Newman is so scared of the poor old tenant services that he’s bound and gagged them from speaking up for themselves.”

Mr Butler said the Gillard Labor Government had invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services since coming to Government.

“We can’t do all the heavy lifting ourselves – at some point the Newman Government who are actually responsible for delivering these services have to stand up and do something.”