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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Bruce Flegg

    Brisbane hosts National Housing Conference

    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Bruce Flegg

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Brisbane hosts National Housing Conference

    Australian and international delegates will convene in Brisbane today for the official start of the 7th National Housing Conference.

    Minister for Housing and Public Works Dr Bruce Flegg said the Queensland Government was proud to be co-hosting the important event with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

    “The housing industry has undergone significant changes since the last conference was held in 2009,” Dr Flegg said. 

    “People are struggling in a range of areas including finding affordable housing options, maintaining rental tenancies and moving from homelessness to stable housing.

    “This has increased the demand for social housing assistance with the numbers on the Queensland waiting list increasing from around 21,000 to more than 30,000 between 2008 and 2011.

    “That’s an increase of almost 50 percent in just three years.”

    Dr Flegg said the Newman Government would ensure taxpayers money was protected and valued in creating essential social housing stock by cracking down on those who abuse the system.  

    “The overwhelming majority of public housing tenants do the right thing, however there is a minority whose anti-social behaviour can affect the lives of those around them,” Dr Flegg said.

    “I am proposing to crack down on these unruly tenants by asking them to leave if they receive three strikes within 12 months for disruptive behaviour like noisy parties, vandalism or destroying property.

    “If tenants have engaged in assault, acts of violence or drug manufacturing, the department would immediately initiate legal action to evict them. 

    “The Newman Government wants to send a clear message to this minority that if they don’t appreciate their homes, there are plenty of others who will.

    “We will need to include measures to ensure people don’t become homeless as a result, however initial evidence from a similar policy in Western Australia indicates people are modifying their behaviour after one or two strikes.”  

    Dr Flegg said the Conference will bring together the government, non-government and private sectors to identify and develop innovative responses to the range of challenges the housing industry faces.

    The Conference program includes 95 national and international experts, discussing a range of topics including changes in demographics and housing design, finding and providing affordable and appropriate housing, setting rent policy and increasing the role of community housing providers. 

    International guests include:

    •         David Cowans – Group Chief Executive, Places for People, United Kingdom
    •         Magnus Hammer – Secretary General, International Union of Tenants, Sweden
    •         Valerie D. White – Senior Director, Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, America

     “The three-day Conference will be attended by more than 700 delegates who will represent all segments of the housing industry,” Dr Flegg said.

    “It will also include a Business Breakfast discussing the future prospects for the Queensland housing industry and a debate to determine if liveable, affordable and sustainable housing is really achievable.

    “Coming together to hear, learn and debate the issues gives us the opportunity to go away and implement change for the benefit of those struggling in the housing market.”

     [ENDS] 31 October 2012

     Media Contact Graeme Hallett 0408 763 671