I know that the Housing and Public Works portfolio is at the heart of delivering a progressive Labor agenda in our state.
Every Queenslander understands the importance of a place to call home. Shelter is our most basic need. Without a roof over your head, little else matters.
Undoing the damage caused by the LNP in housing in just three years will likely take multiples of that. It is a reminder that when you change the government you really do change the state. It’s a demonstration of how quickly our political opponents can impact the lives of the most vulnerable.
When i visit our homes, and construction sites, it reminds me of the importance of a campaigning, compassionate Labor party. We can’t rely on having the best ideas, we need to be able to campaign and win. Because the people who get hurt by our failure to win, are the people that can least afford it.
Already we have removed the Newman Government’s brutal three strikes policy. Instead, we have policies guided by a new Fairness Charter. This charter gives our Housing Service Centre staff the ability to make compassionate decisions. It lets public servants do their jobs in a way that is more responsive to the needs of people in our houses.
We are reviewing income limits for all social and private housing assistance products. Unbelievably, these limits have not changed since 2005. This government has excluded a range of allowances from the calculation of rent for our social housing tenants. This makes housing fairer and more affordable.
Sometimes it is the smallest decision that makes the biggest difference. We are making good on our election commitment to return fairness to our public housing system.
We will put an end to the LNP policy that takes 25% of pensioner’s pharmaceutical allowances,. We will quarantine low income workers meal allowances. These reforms aren’t just an election commitment – they are the right thing to do.
When you listen, you hear things.
This was driven home to me when I visited Dave, a veteran living in a community housing complex who had been homeless. He told me that Government’s need to do more for homeless veterans. As a result of that single conversation we have changed eligibility criteria for Bond Loans and Rental Grants for veterans.
Our government has delivered veterans access to stable, secure housing. And they can thank Dave for it.
We are committed to reforming the way we think about and deliver housing in our state. Queensland expects new and progressive thinking on housing.
I would like to hear what you’ve got to say about housing. Homelessness, social housing, renting, buying a home. It’s about retirement living, about sustainability in household and communities. There’s options for feedback right here: www.hpw.qld.gov.au to make a submission.
But it isn’t just in housing where we are making a difference, we are doing it across the whole department. I know that one of the things we as unionists value most is the fundamental Labor belief that if you do the work, you should expect to get paid for it. Sadly this is often not the case in the construction industry.
Too often subbies and suppliers get left out in the cold. I’ve traveled around the state meeting with subbies and tradies. The stories are heartbreaking. Mums and Dads losing their home. Families splitting up. Young blokes taking their own lives. Simply because they’ve been bankrupted by a system that doesn’t work.
That’s why I get up every day to work on a plan to make sure that subbies get paid on-time and in full, every time.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve got at least some level of interest in important policy like housing and construction. Please let me know what you think via email@example.com or learn more at qld.gov.au/housing.
The progressive reforms that your Government is delivering in Housing and Public Works, are something that I’m proud of. I look forward to working with you to build a stronger housing future for our state.
By the Hon. Mick de Brenni MP, Minister for Housing and Public Works