Targets – State MPs, Ministers – Housing, Treasurer, Premier Dear Please direct a small percentage of tenants’ bond interest to independent tenant advice services in Queensland. Last year your government withdrew funding for tenant advice services, leaving Queensland as the only state where tenants’ bond interest is not applied to the provision of independent advice services. These services are essential for Queensland tenants and I am asking you to re-establish such a program. Tenant advice services have existed in Queensland for over 20 years and predominantly assist people in the private rental market to express their tenancy rights, such as living in properties that are safe and in reasonable repair, and understand and meet their responsibilities. For some tenants, assistance from these services prevents them from becoming homeless. A campaign in the mid to late 1980s run by tenants and advocate bodies including the Tenants’ Union of Queensland, resulted in the centralised collection of bonds. The success of that early campaign means today around $40M of interest is generated annually on tenants’ bond money. An entire network of independent, locally based tenant advisory services can be funded from a small percentage, less than 15%, of that money. The generation and use of bond interest provides a means for tenant advice services to be funded without being a drain on taxpayers. Your government has stated that it will increasingly rely on the private rental market to house Queenslanders; it desires small government and outsourced services; and, it wishes to reduce reliance on government funding. Tenant advice services assist to meet these desired outcomes. Additionally they help to make the private rental market work better and become a more desirable place for people to live. I urge you to consider these matters.
Targets – Federal Ministers – Housing (Kevin Andrew), AG Brandis Dear I am writing to urge you to continue funding Queensland Tenant Advisory Services until a long term funding solution can be found with the Newman State government. Last year the Queensland government discontinued funding to these vital services. Funded from a small percentage of the interest generated on tenants’ bonds, the services were virtually self-funded and not a drain on taxpayers. Over $39M in bond interest was available in the 2011/12 year and less than 15% of those monies funded the entire statewide network of independent services. To keep tenant advisory services going in Queensland, the Commonwealth government committed emergency funding which runs out on December 31, 2013. If no further funding is committed, 16 regionally based services will cease to provide advisory service to Queensland tenants who, as a result, will be severely disadvantaged in regard to resolving their housing issues. Tenant advisory services are vital to ensure Queensland tenants get a fair go. Whilst the government’s Residential Tenancies Authority provides basic information to all parties, over 80% of rental properties are managed by professional management services such as real estate agents. The cost of these services as well as any legal advice can be offset against lessors’ rental income. Free tenant advice services level the playing field by providing tenants access to expert advice about their rights and responsibilities. Without them, tenants are disadvantaged in a system where disputes are ultimately decided in an adversarial manner and the lack of access by one party to independent advice or reduces their ability to participate in the process. A long term solution lies in the State government reviewing the use of tenant bond interest and its application to tenant advisory services. However, until a solution at that level can be found I urge you to continue to fund tenant advisory services, keeping Queensland in line with other jurisdictions.
State Pollie contacts
Minister for Housing and Public Works The Hon Tim Mander MP PO Box 2457 BRISBANE QLD 4001 Phone: (07) 3237 1832 Fax: (07) 3012 9017 Email: [email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimManderMpEverton Queensland Treasurer The Hon Tim Nicholls MP GPO Box 611 BRISBANE QLD 4001 Phone: 07 3224 6900 Fax: 07 3211 0122 Email: [email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimNichollsMP Queensland Premier The Hon Campbell Newman MP GPO Box 15185 CITY EAST QLD 4002 Phone: (07) 3224 4500 Fax: (07) 3221 1809 Email: [email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/campbell.newman Federal Pollies contact list Federal Minister for Social Services The Hon Kevin Andrews MP PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (02) 6277 7560 Fax: (02) 6273 4122 Email [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevinandrewsmp Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevinandrewsmp Federal Attorney-General Senator The Hon George Brandis QC PO Box 6100 Senate Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (02) 6277 7300 Fax: (02) 6273 4102 [email protected]