Community Law Australia today commended Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor’s announcement of $3.3 million in emergency funding for the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service Queensland (TAASQ) program, which was cut in July by the Queensland Government.
Campaign spokesperson Hugh de Kretser said that the 23 services across the state would now be able to help tens of thousands of Queenslanders until mid next year, thanks to Federal Minister O’Connor’s intervention. Funding for the services was due to end on 31 October.
“This is fantastic news for Queenslanders. These are vital services that help vulnerable Queenslanders protect their tenancy rights. These services help people at risk of homelessness to maintain private rentals.
“The emergency Federal funding will help to prevent homelessness, and ensure that the vital housing advice and advocacy services can keep assisting those in need.
“All Queenslanders are entitled to a roof over their heads and given that Queensland has the second highest rental accommodation rate in Australia, at 33.3 per cent, it is clear that tenancy advice services are a vital support network.
“For the 23 tenancy services, who were already starting to wind up programs, today’s announcement is very welcome and positive news. More importantly, it will be a big relief for their clients, many of whom would have had nowhere else to go for proper assistance.
“Whilst today’s announcement is welcome, the future of the TAAS program is still uncertain. Community Law Australia calls on the Queensland Government to reinstate the funding of this vital program to continue to provide valuable services beyond mid next year,” said Mr de Kretser.
The TAASQ services had been funded from the interest earned on rental bonds. The Queensland Government announced this funding would be cut effective 31 October.
The services help around 80,000 households each year deal with issues including repairs, rent arrears, rent increases, bonds and eviction notices.
As well as providing face to face and telephone advice, they also help renters with tribunal hearings. The Tenants Union of Queensland estimates that 1 in 7 of its advice clients last year were at risk of homelessness.