Closure of TAAS is "Maggie Thatcherism on steroids" policy
THE State Government's decision to close Ipswich's Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) has been slammed by Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller as typical of the LNP's "Maggie Thatcherism on steroids" policies.
Ms Miller said two full-time staff would be sacked and that tenants would now have "nowhere to go to get advice" when the service closes on June 30.
But Minister for Housing and Public Works Tim Mander disputed Ms Miller's claims and said the government would be "redirecting funds from TAAS in order to provide additional social housing for our neediest Queenslanders".
"The services provided by TAAS are available through other government agencies like the Residential Tenancies Authority, through government-funded programs like RentConnect and other community organisations," he said.
"There are currently more than 23,000 households waiting for social housing assistance in Queensland, 833 in Ipswich alone.
"In the face of so much unmet need, it is important that our scarce resources are directed towards those who need them most. That means putting roofs over needy people's heads, rather than duplicating services that are available elsewhere.
"The RTA already processes more than three times the number of tenant inquiries as all TAAS providers combined, and will continue to provide renters with free information about their rights on issues like rent disputes, property repairs, entry and privacy and getting a bond refund.
"The RTA also provides a free conciliation service to help tenants and landlords resolve disputes."
RentConnect is a free service that helps Queenslanders find and secure a tenancy in the private rental market.
Ms Miller said 22 other TAAS offices would be shut down in the state and "more people thrown on the unemployment queue".
"The Ipswich TAAS provides an extremely worthwhile service for those that rent in our society, in relation to helping people find rental properties as well as taking people to court who have ripped off tenants," she said.
"They normally deal with 80 enquiries per week and they have been running for over 20 years.
"The Federal Government had come in with emergency funding of $3.3 million but it is a state responsibility."
Blair MP Shayne Neumann said the LNP decision now meant that "80,000 Queenslanders won't get access to proper advice on housing and homelessness".