CANDIDATE Q&A: Addressing local housing situation
THE NewsMail asked all candidates running in the state election for Bundaberg and Burnett about their stance on housing.
All candidates have been sent the questions. The candidates who feature below have responded.
The Bundaberg region has a low rental availability and numerous reports have suggested we are in dire need of more social housing. What would you do, as a state representative, to help facilitate more living spaces?
BUNDABERG (in ballot order)
David Batt (LNP incumbent)
As a result of my questioning in parliament, in 2019 the Housing Minister revealed the number of Bundaberg households on the public housing register had skyrocketed by nearly double in just two years.
As at 30 June 2019, the total number of households on Bundaberg's register had jumped from 255 in 2017 to 488 - that's a colossal 91 per cent increase.
These aren't numbers on a spreadsheet, they are Bundaberg residents who are desperately searching for a roof over their head - with the vast majority of households classified as 'very high need'.
It's so important to each of these 'households' could be anywhere from one person to an extended family needing this support.
If this isn't damming evidence that the cost of living is too high, then I don't know what is. It's also a shocking indictment on Labor's record of creating new public housing.
Bundaberg residents are being hit with ever-increasing costs of electricity, fuel, and car rego on top of Labor's nine new or higher taxes.
To help with the cost of living and help reboot the economy, an LNP Government will give all Queenslanders who pay car registration a $300 rego refund before Christmas.
The rebate will be $300 per car and will apply to all car owners regardless of when they last paid their registration.
Tom Smith (Labor)
Labor has a comprehensive social housing program already delivering affordable solutions. But beyond that, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has assisted 247 families and individuals into social housing this year.
We have also helped 928 families and individuals to find a suitable rental property through RentConnect and helped 1,219 into the private rental market through our bond loans and rental grants.
As part of the Palaszczuk Government's plan to support jobs and accelerate our economic recovery, we are investing more than $500 million in social housing and capital infrastructure. That's employing tradies to refurbish and maintain the 70,000 state-owned social housing properties in this state.
We're supporting 600 jobs this year to commence construction on 685 homes as part of our $100 million Housing Construction Jobs Program and our Works for Tradies boost.
BURNETT (in ballot order)
Ric Glass (independent)
We had NRAS which supplemented Private Rentals to the cost of Public Rentals.
Labor ended that scheme.
I would ask The State Government Lib/Lab to introduce a QRAS.
That would immediately make rentals affordable.
The State Lib/Lab needs to address public housing and start investing in Aussies kids' futures, what chance do the kids have living in poverty in substandard accommodation because demand is high and rentals in private sector are beyond them causing dysfunctional families and poverty?
We all know the related social issues.
To build "ghettos" however where people who get a Government home think it is theirs to trash and do as they like is the wrong direction.
The new construction needs to be integrated with private housing and "no clusters".
Not one in each different street but one in each different block of streets.
Stephen Bennett (LNP incumbent)
As the full impacts of COVID-19 continue to emerge, investment in social and affordable housing will play a critical role in our economic recovery.
Disappointingly, the social housing waiting list has blown out under the Palaszczuk Labor Government to 25,613 applicants needing social housing.
Even prior to COVID-19 there were 21,671 people experiencing homelessness.
Labor rental reforms and property taxes have negatively impacted the housing sector by discouraging investment in residential property.
The LNP's economic plan will create a decade of secure jobs and lead our state out of this recession.
It will help Queenslanders afford their rent or buy their own home.
The LNP will also work with key stakeholders including Tenants Queensland and the REIQ to explore models for improving the affordability and supply of housing across Queensland.
The LNP will develop innovative funding solutions with community housing providers, who are well placed for transitioning people from government-provided emergency housing to affordable housing.
We have just announced a new scheme that will slash land tax by 75 per cent and provide exemptions on international investor taxes on eligible build-to-rent housing projects.
The plan is expected to secure $2 billion worth of investment, create 4,600 jobs and 4,000 new homes over the coming years.