Federal Housing Minister Brendan O'Connor.
Federal Housing Minister Brendan O'Connor. Tom Huntley

Qld housing service saved for now

A TENANCY service specialising in resolving housing crises before they turn into homelessness has been saved - until June.

The Federal Government has stepped in to provide $3.3 million for the Queensland Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service which was scrapped by the Newman Government in July with an October end date.

Federal Housing Minister Brendan O'Connor said the 29 services offered essential advice and advocacy services to tenants across Queensland.

He said the service was "critical to preventing homelessness" and the State Government had given "no thought for the long-term repercussions".

"This was a devastating blow to the services and their staff, and to the 80,000 households that would no longer have access to this important help," he said.

"This short-sighted grab for tenants' cash could end up costing Queenslanders more, with increased demand for public housing and crisis accommodation."

Mr O'Connor said the funding was committed until June next year and he called on Premier Campbell Newman to reinstate the services thereafter.

Homelessness Australia said the decision would restore vital homelessness and housing crisis prevention services to around 100,000 Queenslanders living in rental accommodation.

Chairwoman Narelle Clay said the service helped people resolve housing crises "before they reach the tipping point into homelessness".

"Well funded tenancy support programs are a vital component of our overall homelessness strategy," she said.
"In a country as prosperous as ours no one should be allowed to fall into homelessness.

"The restoration of vital homelessness prevention services such as this will ensure that the risk of homelessness is mitigated for tens of thousands of people struggling in the Queensland rental market."

Housing Minister Bruce Flegg welcomed the move and said the State Government would continue to administer the service in its "current format" if the funds were available before the end of October.

But he expressed concerns about the Federal Government's ability to fund the service, arguing it already committed more than $20 billion worth in unfunded promises for NDIS, Gonski and dental care.

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