The Newman Government and all LNP MPs are treating Queensland’s public housing tenants as second-class citizens and its temporary absence policy infringes their right to free movement, says Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt.
In State Parliament this week LNP MPs voted down an Opposition motion calling for the government to abandon its controversial policy which limits the time public housing tenants can spend away from their homes to just four weeks in a calendar year.
Mr Pitt said LNP MPs such as the Members for Cairns, Barron River, and Cook had failed to speak out against a policy that demanded tenants to request permission every time they want to be away from their home for any period of time.
“Public housing tenants are ordinary Queenslanders who pay their rent on time, maintain their properties, who take pride in their homes by spending their savings on gardens, water tanks and even solar panels. They are not second class citizens,” he said.
“Public housing tenants are not pieces on a chessboard. They are not playthings of the LNP.
“They are ordinary Queenslanders who deserve respect and do not deserve to be treated the way that they have been by this arrogant government.”
Mr Pitt and other Opposition MPs said they had been contacted by distressed public housing tenants who feared being booted out of their homes if they answered a call to help out in a family crisis or went abroad to visit close relatives.
“What would happen,” said Mr Pitt, “if we came into Parliament and changed the legislation to empower landlords in the private rental market to insert into a tenant’s tenancy agreement that they could only go away from their premises, which they legally pay rent for, for a maximum of four weeks in calendar year and that they had to seek approval by them at every request?
“There would be outrage right across Queensland and this would not happen. What the government is doing by this policy is in effect creating a two-class rental market, with those who have to apply to leave their premises and those that are able to come and go as they please without the need to request leave,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the LNP was patently incapable of treating public housing tenants with the respect they deserved.
After every LNP MP present voted against the Opposition’s motion Mr Pitt said they had been given the chance to stand up for fairness and equality but chose instead to show their approval for a mean and divisive policy that is causing fear in the community.
“All fair-minded people recognise that just because you can’t afford to buy your own home or rent from a private landlord you still deserve to be treated with respect,” he said.
“Members of the Newman Government should be ashamed that they believe that some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society deserve to be treated differently.”
The Opposition has organised a petition against the temporary absence policy. It is available to sign in person at the electorate offices of all Labor MPs and online at