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Who is poorer – the deserving or the undeserving?

[PShift (4zzz fm102.1 fridays at noon) 12 noon Friday 30 Aug]

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

– Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 Article 25 (1)

Excerpt from PShift interview with Tim Mander, Minister for Housing & Public Works (National Rugby League referee & Scripture Union CEO):-

PShift: Please introduce yourself?

Tim Mander: My name is Tim Mander, I am the Minister for Housing & Public Works and was National Rugby League referee & I am also CEO of the Scripture Union.

PShift: Who is poorer – the deserving or the undeserving?

Tim Mander: A few riff-raff out there keep wrecking public housing. I intend to introduce legislation in the parliament as early as Monday – be warned one strike and they’re out! We need to house the humble and the genuinely needy.

PShift: Who are the wretched of the earth? Dr Bruce Flegg?

Tim Mander: I’ve learned very quickly in my short time in politics that a day is a long time in politics, and I’m just delighted to be able to take up the challenge.

PShift: The Courier-Mail published emails from Dr Flegg’s lobbyist son Jonathon whom Flegg wished to promote to a senior public service position.

Tim Mander: We are going to restore that faith. We are open for business but we are also open and accountable…

PShift: Who are the deserving poor?

Tim Mander: An applicant for public housing must receive an independent income amount of $199.84 per week and have received this income for at least four weeks immediately before applying for housing assistance. The household’s combined gross weekly assessable income must be less than: $609 for single person, no children and there is a sliding scale for families with children.

PShift: What about homeless people?

Tim Mander:  People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may qualify;

PShift: How many people are homeless?

 

Tim Mander: Currently 107,000 in Australia are homeless and Queensland has a big share of that homelessness especially in winter.

PShift: What if you have a disability or mental illness and need to establish an independent household?

 

Tim Mander: These people may apply to the local housing services centre and have their claim assessed.

PShift: Aren’t rents currently unaffordable especially in the inner city where people pay $700 for a three bedroom unit?

Tim Mander: That is why we have social housing, to provide affordable accommodation?

PShift: Did your government build the 600 place social housing project in Hope Street South Brisbane called Common Ground?

Tim Mander: My predecessor Dr Bruce Flegg opened that project only last year.

PShift: But did your government build it?

Tim Mander: Well no, but the Liberal National Party Federal Member for Brisbane donated the land so that this social housing initiative could be built.

PShift: But, at the same time, didn’t the Gambaro family receive approval from Campbell Newman led city council to develop their land in Caxton Street making it worth millions more?

Tim Mander: I do not know anything about that.

PShift: Where did the money come from?

Tim Mander: The money to re-develop Gambaros in Caxton Street Petrie Terrace?

PShift: No the money to house the homeless at Common Ground.

Tim Mander: Oh … sorry … that came from the federal government.

 PShift: PShift knows of a person who was put onto very high need, was pregnant and aboriginal and did not have stable housing, she had a family, with low income and your department said it would be approx. 6 months to a year before she would get a house.

Tim Mander: The Federal government has refused to provide adequate funding. It is called vertical fiscal imbalance.

PShift: Will that be your excuse after the 7 September Federal election?

Tim Mander: Don’t get smart with me young woman, Labor governments both state and federal have left us with a legacy of debt.

PShift: Is that why you have been selling affordable housing to developers at Cannon Hill, the Sunshine Coast and Caboolture?

Tim Mander: If you are referring to Monte Carlo, Woombye and Lazy Acres Caravan Parks, in January, I announced a win-win situation so that not-for-profit housing providers can express interest in taking possession of those sites in exchange for an agreement to build new social housing in key target areas. The new owners can add additional mobile home accommodation on the site in future.

PShift: But there are currently more than 25,000 households on the social housing waiting list in Queensland.

Tim Mander: Governments are not particularly good at running those sorts of operations, it would be better run by someone else. I would have thought after the controversy that we’ve given people security and piece of mind.

PShift: Like the peace of mind that the young aboriginal mother of five that your department is kicking out of her housing commission home because she was the victim of domestic violence and the neighbours’ complained.

Tim Mander: I couldn’t possibly comment on individual cases – there are privacy rules about that.

PShift: Are you concerned that the very same housing services centre also evicted her mother and her six grannies from her home in a racist neighbourhood near the Enoggera Army Barracks?

Tim Mander: How dare you defame the integrity of our soldiers, 19 of whom have given their lives in Afghanistan!

PShift: No more than officers of your department denigrate the lives of aboriginal people when they refuse to allow them to make their case for why they should not be kicked out on the street and are refused a private room with an aboriginal liaison officer.

Tim Mander: Which office are you speaking of?

PShift: Fortitude Valley state housing services centre.

Tim Mander: They do not have aboriginal liaison officers.

PShift: Why not?

Tim Mander: Because we have consolidated that function into an Indigenous Services Unit in the city and they provide support for aboriginal families having difficulties with housing.

We meet our cultural obligations; Child Safety needs to gain access to children to give the family informal support.

PShift: A door is not a door when it is ajar.

Tim Mander: Sorry, I don’t follow you.

PShift: A house is not a house when it is a place where child safety officers can intrude or housing officers can pin eviction notices on the front door without any reference to aboriginal culture.

Tim Mander: Our department is only a landlord; we do not evict clients; that can only be done through an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative tribunal.

PShift: I think we should leave it there.

Kooii plays ‘Hold it up’

Written by Ian Curr, 30 Aug 2013

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