In the lead up to the release of the Palaszczuk Government’s new housing strategy, it has been revealed that major reforms may be included regarding welfare payments and social housing.
The Sunday Mail revealed that Housing Minister Mick de Brenni is pursuing 'radical proposals' for Queensland's new housing strategy, which could assist social housing tenants to stay on top of their living payments, and even provide the opportunity to buy their homes.
The method of these proposals is to automatically deduct rent from welfare payments before social housing tenants could access the money. They also introduce a home ownership scheme and would change income rules to allow youths who live at home to still learn a trade while receiving an apprentice wage.
The proposed reforms would ensure payments go directly from the Commonwealth to the Queensland Government, if approved.
The Sunday Mail reported that Mr de Brenni said the mix of options being considered would improve pathways to homeownership for social housing tenants.
“The Government is currently investigating what role automatic rent deduction might play in assisting vulnerable people in high risk situations to sustain their tenancies and meet their obligations,” he said.
The proposals incorporate a shared-equity model and include a rent-to-buy system, and under the model tenants can acquire their house while the state retains ownership of the land and programs, which could 'make saving for a deposit easier'.
“Shared equity and rent-to-buy schemes have been used effectively in other jurisdictions in Australia and around the world. Proposals being considered by Government will take into account our state’s particular needs,” Mr de Brenni told The Sunday Mail.
There has been political opposition with claims that there had been no consultation on the proposed reforms, but Mr de Brenni said he wanted to remove barriers which prevent young people in social housing from getting into the workforce.
The Sunday Mail reported that some social housing tenants can already purchase their home, but the current scheme is limited to areas that are not in high demand – which rules out large parts of the state – and a rent-to-buy program was ended in 1996.
The housing strategy is is expected to be released in the coming months, pending Cabinet approval.