Minister reassures tenants
MINISTER of Housing and Public Works Bruce Flegg has moved to allay the fears of public housing tenants like Gympie's Andrew Excell and his wife Rita.
Last week the couple told The Gympie Times they felt like their modest home of four years was under threat because of a review of public housing instigated by the State Government.
The couple were afraid they would be moved into smaller accommodation or forced to share their two-bedroom unit.
But in an extensive interview with The Gympie Times sister publication, the Sunshine Coast Daily, Dr Flegg pledged no one would be forced to move or share their homes.
He did say the government might consider a crackdown on those not declaring extra household members in properties they were renting.
These tenants have been given an amnesty until July 27 to come forward and declare themselves. After that they might have to "back-pay rent at a rate of 25% of household income", he said.
Dr Flegg said more and more people were looking for affordable homes.
"The (previous government) hasn't left any new property in the cupboard," Dr Flegg said.
"The Newman government wants to make tenants with a spare bedroom move to smaller properties, pay a higher rent, or share with strangers on the waiting list," Opposition leader Anna Palaszczuk said.
Dr Flegg said house sharing "will only ever be optional".
"It's reasonable to put the suggestions forward," he said. "I shared my house during the natural disasters in Brisbane."
He said the government was going through the state "region by region looking for vacant land, trying to leverage up new accommodation".
Dr Flegg also said about 50 or 60 homes with elderly tenants in south-east Queensland would receive a letter in the few weeks, offering alternative accommodation.
"They will be offered the opportunity to move to more modern complexes," he said. "Their properties would then be redeveloped or sold.
"There is a lot of old property that needs to be redeveloped.
"This program is under way, but we will do it in a compassionate way."