Couple fear losing their home

ANDREW Excell and his wife Rita feel like their modest home of four years is under threat due to a review of public housing instigated by the Newman State Government.

On Tuesday, Mr and Mrs Excell, and every other public housing tenant, received a letter from Minister of Housing and Public Works Bruce Flegg outlining the current public housing crisis in Queensland.

The letter asked public housing tenants to fill in a feedback form and told of a large amount of unused public housing capacity.

It also told how public housing tenants with more rooms than they needed might be moved into smaller housing, asked to share with other tenants or pay extra rent.

Mr Excell said the letter made him feel like his small two-bedroom unit was at risk of being taken from him and feared he and his wife would have to move into a one-bedroom unit.

What complicated matters was that Mr Excell had spent more than $16,000 upgrading his home with air-conditioning, carpet, curtains, cupboards and solar panels.

"They told us we could stay here for the rest of our lives," Mr Excell said.

"Everything we bought, we bought with this place in mind."

He said if the government moved them out to a smaller unit they would have to pay him the $16,000 in compensation.

"They guaranteed us security of tenure, then they send us that (the letter)."

The couple said they wanted to stay on in their humble home.

"It can't be classed as salubrious accommodation. And why aren't we allowed to have a room for grandkids or visitors?" he said.

The couple paid $130 a week for the unit which contained a small kitchen, combined small lounge dining room, the two small bedrooms and a bathroom.

Mrs Excell said the government wanted to squash everyone in together.

"Two people in a two-bedroom house is reasonable, one person in a four-bedroom house is unreasonable," she said.

Mr Excell called the massive letter mail-out a waste of taxpayers' money. "It's not like housing doesn't already conduct reviews - they do."

Gympie Times


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