CANDIDATE Q&A: What would you do about homelessness?
THE NewsMail asked all candidates running in the state election for Bundaberg and Burnett what they would do to alleviate the homelessness issue in the region.
All candidates have been sent the questions. The candidates who feature below have responded.
This is the question posed to candidates:
What is your understanding of the unique issues around homelessness in our region, and if elected, what will you do to help improve the situation?
BUNDABERG (candidates in ballot order)
David Batt (LNP incumbent)
Here in Bundy we are lucky to have a housing and homelessness committee with representatives from various local not-for-profit organisations and government agencies working together.
A few years ago I was proud to chair the Bundaberg Ecumenical Committee which worked with the Housing and Homelessness Committee and other community members to raise money to establish the laundry and shower facility which now operates at the Bundaberg Anglican Christ Church and allows people to have a shower and wash and dry their clothes.
Homelessness is a complex social problem, and there is no single solution.
We need to grow the economy, so fewer people are forced out of their homes and there is hope for a future with a job.
The LNP is also committed to a major build-to-rent policy - which is aimed at stimulating both the construction industry and providing low-cost housing for renters.
Under the LNP's new scheme, land tax would be slashed by 75 per cent and exemptions on international investor taxes would be provided on eligible build-to-rent projects.
The plan is expected to secure $2 billion worth of investment, create 4600 construction jobs and 4000 new homes over the next 10 years.
Tom Smith (Labor)
Labor is committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our community by providing them a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home.
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.
In the Wide Bay Burnett, we're commencing construction on 24 new homes this year on top of the 38 we've built since 2015.
As your local member, I will ensure we continue these measures and support those sleeping rough by working closely with local support services and shelters.
BURNETT (candidates in ballot order)
Ric Glass (independent)
I have worked on Outreach Bus in Rockhampton for a while.
We would feed, clothe and keep homeless warm with blankets and warm clothes in winter. There are various types of homeless, there are those on a journey like long grassers and those who just want to camp outside and gather their thoughts, reflect, to get their life back on track, we helped with that on outreach.
There are those who have been thrown out by a DVO, lost their jobs, kids, disconnected to family and sleep rough.
There are some who chose to do this but when it rains it is difficult for all.
Then there is mental illness and that is difficult because the longer men who are derailed and debased from family stay in those circumstances, they ruminate and get sicker and sicker.
What would I do? Get the Outreach Bus Program (we had two) going like in Rockhampton, it requires a Hi Ace at least with a barbecue and urn, gas to keep water hot and people to gather donations from bread and cake shops after end of day, when the stuff gets tossed out, because our day is a long way from finished.
You have to go place to place to find them, they are not in a bunch somewhere but if you went to different locations regularly (we had two vans and five locations), they would gravitate to those spots for a meal and a prayer.
I know how to organise this; I also ran the kitchen from time to time and collected donations. Eventually mental health and police call around and move them on.
Outreach also sought accommodation and I have put some in housing on priority list for families.
This requires volunteers and a big kitchen like in a hall or church, church is best as a base.
Stephen Bennett (LNP incumbent)
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is failing Queensland's homeless and they don't have a plan to reverse the trend.
1. Many people who find themselves homeless have complex social problems including
addiction issues, financial pressures and long-term health problems.
And in the Wide Bay we have the worst unemployment figures in the state, especially among our young people.
We need to support the wonderful not-for-profit groups that do such great work in
supporting these people, and the best way we can do that is by growing the economy.
That way we are increasing the revenue that is available to community groups.
We also have a plan to boost health spending, including on mental health.
2. The LNP has a bold plan to cut land tax for new build-to-rent housing projects as part of a plan to create thousands of construction jobs and secure investment in Queensland.
3. Many of these homes would be available for low income renters.
4. Under the LNP's new scheme, land tax would be slashed by 75 per cent and exemptions on
international investor taxes would be provided on eligible build-to-rent projects.
The plan is expected to secure $2 billion worth of investment, create 4600 construction jobs and 4000 new homes over the next ten years.
I'm very proud to be doing everything I can at a local level which is why I'm Camping Out for A Cause after we managed to raise money for over 100 Backpack Beds.
These beds provide lifesaving emergency beds for those who are sleeping on the street without shelter around Australia.
A big thanks to everyone who donated, homelessness does not discriminate and it's now more important than ever we do everything we can to help those in need.
Paul Hudson (Katters Australian Party)
It's tragic that in a rich, first world country like Australia, we have people who are homeless.
I would like to educate myself more regarding the situation and the causes of homelessness, before making suggestions about solutions to this important problem.