Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Queensland Premier should restore tenancy services funding

A year after the Queensland Government cut funding to the state’s Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services (TAAS), the Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Julie Collins has called on State Premier Campbell Newman to restore funding as part of his commitment to tackle homelessness under the transitional National Partnership on Homelessness.

In July 2012 when the Newman Government announced it would no longer fund the tenancy services, the Australian Government stepped in with $3.3 million to allow TAAS to continue operating. In June, the Government provided an additional $2.5 million to fund TAAS for a further six months.

Minister Collins said the injection of emergency funding had kept the organisation’s doors open and helped around 80,000 people.

“The most effective way to reduce homelessness is to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, and services like these are critical to keep vulnerable people falling into the cycle of homelessness.

“By investing early to make sure people can keep their home rather than end up on the street, we not only give people a better chance at getting back on their feet, we reduce the need to invest more once people become homeless,” she said.

Minister Collins said it was time the Queensland premier gave the dedicated workers at TAAS, who every day helped tenants keep a roof over their heads, certainty about what their own future held.

“Premier Campbell owes it to these workers to provide funding certainty. He can do this by honouring his commitment to the transitional National Partnership Agreement for 2013-14, which will deliver $320 million in joint funding between the Commonwealth and states and territories to tackle homelessness.

“The Australian Government is steadfast in its commitment to halve the rate of homelessness and provide supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

“We have invested a record $31 billion to help make housing more affordable and assist people to move out of homelessness.

“Through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, we are working with the states and territories, business and community organisations to jointly reduce homelessness.

“This will enable critical services to continue, while all parties work toward a longer-term response to homelessness, and support capital and development projects to help people move out of homelessness into safe and sustainable housing.”