QUEENSLAND Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg last week unveiled major reforms that aim to address Queensland's social housing crisis.
Dr Flegg said the number of applications for social housing had increased as housing and rental costs rose, with 30,000 applications currently on the waiting list.
The Minister said the maintenance and upgrade costs of social housing stock were also increasing, while rent revenue was decreasing. It is estimated that the social housing system will record a $140 million deficit by 2015-2016.
Dr Flegg said the government is acting now to reverse this downward trend and developing a range of options to do this, including:
- Addressing under-occupancy of current housing stock;
- Changing and simplifying rent policy;
- Reducing administrative and maintenance costs;
- Introducing fixed-term tenancies;
- Leveraging our asset base; and
- Creating a stronger role for non-government housing providers.
In regards to under-occupancy, Dr Flegg said it is estimated that there are more than 8,700 public housing properties that have two or more additional bedrooms than needed by the occupants
"We are looking at ways to better match people with properties suited to their needs, and redeveloping ageing multi-bedroom stock to provide higher density, mixed-tenant solutions," Dr Flegg said, adding that under-occupancy will be the first issue to be addressed.
Dr Flegg said that the government had also been forced to take a tough stance on those who abuse the system, such as properties housing an undeclared household member.