November 14, 2016 | Graham

How is that “Fair Expectations of Behaviour” policy going?

Yesterday I wrote about the Department of Housings boast of having a more efficient system, labelled “Fair Expectations of Behaviour” for managing poorly behaved social welfare housing tenants than the Newman government’s “Three strikes” policy.

My criticism was based on their own figures, but there is nothing like some anecdotal evidence to round things out, which the Courier Mail has now provided today.

Neighbours of notorious Townsville home fed up after another explosive incident

NEIGHBOURS of a notorious housing commission property in Kirwan say they are fed up after another explosive incident at the Thuringowa Drive home on Saturday.

Residents say the occupants constantly trespass and cause damage to neighbouring homes, are violent with each other and host loud parties that go on for days.

They aired frustrations after a 16-year-old boy at the home wanted for property crimes ran from police on Saturday, leading officers on a foot chase through backyards.

It seems to have been going on for a while.

Another resident said his family had tried to sell up but their proximity to the notorious property put buyers off.

“Police are there at least twice a week it never seems to stop,” he said.

“The lack of any (Housing Department) response is ­infuriating.

“It feels like I have had $50,000 just ripped from my pocket we can’t even get close to what we paid for our house and we don’t feel safe, but we can’t sell and move.”

No doubt Housing Department staff are still negotiating the details of the Tenancy Management Plans with the tenants.

A notice to quit would be likely to be more effective. Sounds like more than three swings at the ball, and some other things, have occurred here.

Posted by Graham at 8:29 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Housing

November 13, 2016 | Graham

De-Newmanisation not working #1

Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni’s determination to return welfare housing to its Soviet-style past provides the latest natural experiment into what public policy approaches work best.

The “iconoclasts” of the Queensland ALP seem determined to obliterate the three years of the Newman government, no matter that voters, including their own heartland, will be hurt.

In the social housing area, not only does this mean excluding the community housing sector all together, but reversing management reforms that kept the cost of managing social housing down, as well as dealing more effectively with the small segment of poorly behaved social housing tenants.

One of these reforms was the Newman government’s “three strikes” policy which clearly told tenants that after three breaches they were out of the system.

Apparently this system (a species of which applies to the private rental market) was inhumane and has now been replaced by the “Fair Expectations of Behaviour” policy which is described thus in the minister’s media release:

“One of the key tools we have given our hard working staff is the Fair Expectations of Behaviour policy.

“Over the first six months of the new policy, our staff have commenced 475 Tenancy Management Plans for tenants and 91 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements.

“We have also issued 800 warnings for less serious behaviour breaches as a preventative step to avoid issues escalating.

“We have issued 1013 Notice to Remedy Breaches for more serious tenancy matters.”

While these figures are correct, they actually achieve a worse outcome at more expense than the Newman government’s three strikes policy. The table below was supplied in the release.

First six months of Fair Expectations of Behaviour v “Three Strikes”

Fair Expectations of Behaviour policy Anti-social Behaviour Management policy (“Three Strikes”)
01/02/2016 – 31/08/2016 01/02/2014 – 31/08/2014
Warning 175 625 800 Warning 168 339 507
Acceptable Behaviour Agreement 27 64 91 Acceptable Behaviour Agreement  44 53 97
Tenancy Management Plan  328 147 475 Tenancy Management Plan 0 0 0
Notice to Remedy Breaches relating to behaviour 1013 Notice to Remedy Breaches relating to behaviour 976
Evictions due to behaviour 38 Evictions due to behaviour 39

So, what we see is that warnings have increased by 60%, there are slightly fewer Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, but there are now a large number of Tenancy Management Plans, while notices to remedy and evictions are also fairly similar.

What we can deduce from this is that tenants have decided that the system is going to be more lenient, leading to a loosening up of behaviour which then has to be managed at great expense.

Under the old system they worked it out for themselves. Under the new system public servants (presumably new hires) have to work it out for them.

It is only early days yet but one can see the system rapidly declining quickly as the word gets around the tenants that rather than a system of clear reward and punishment, the system has become “nurturing” and they can get away with a lot more before anyone does anything about it.

The cost of this system will be borne not by current social housing tenants, but those on the wait list, the invisible victims of this system, as the department’s resources are directed more towards running the system than building the housing.

Posted by Graham at 4:37 pm | Comments (1) |

November 07, 2016 | Graham

Turnbull starting to move in the right direction

The latest Morgan Gallup Poll shows Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating falling slightly, but a massive increase in the numbers preferring him as Prime Minister over Bill Shorten.

At last Turnbull is moving in the right direction. If he can maintain this he can win the next election.

What is most significant is the fall in Shorten’s support amongst Greens, Independents and non-Greens minor party voters.

Here are the figures including Morgan’s heading:

Analysis by Party – Turnbull leads among L-NP electors and Shorten well ahead with ALP electors

L-NP supporters: Turnbull 86% (unchanged) cf. Shorten 4% (down 8%). Lead to Mr. Turnbull 82% (up 8%);

ALP supporters: Turnbull 14% (down 4%) cf. Shorten 65% (down 16%). Lead to Mr. Shorten 51% (down 12%);

Greens supporters: Turnbull 22% (up 7%) cf. Shorten 54% (down 29%). Lead to Mr. Shorten 32% (down 36%);

Ind/Others supporters: Turnbull 51% (up 3%) cf. Shorten 25% (down 25%). Lead to Mr. Turnbull 26% (up 28%).

When people ask me to list the achievements of Malcolm Turnbull I reply that at least he has reset the political debate by having an election which he won, no matter how narrowly.

As a result of that election we are starting to see legislation being successfully put through the senate.

Turnbull has also taken stronger stances on refugees, and now human rights. This is going to cost him support on the left, but in the middle ground and the right it sharpens the distinction between him and Shorten, and that, as much as anything Shorten has done, is partially responsible for Shorten’s decline in the polls.

Were an election to be held tomorrow, and Turnbull to run on leadership, Shorten would lose decisively.

There also seems to have been a turn in Turnbull’s rhetoric. He is sounding stronger and more decisive. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, he is now taking some risks, and it appears to be paying off.

Listen to ABC’s AM from this morning to hear the new tone. It’s not quite three word slogans, but it is definitely not polly waffle either.

Another contributing factor could be the ABCC legislation. Voters generally give the ALP a pass on unions, in the same way they give the coalition a pass on big business, because they are both seen as core constintuencies.

Where the union issue resonates is when voters assess Bill Shorten’s character. At the back of their minds they know he did a bad deal for the workers at Cleanevent which had payoffs for him in terms of union representation in Labor forums, and ultimately support to become prime minister.

Voters don’t want to end up like the Cleanevent crew.

Yet another factor is likely to be gay marriage. If you are genuinely interested in seeing it legislated, and not using it as a political football, then you would support the government’s legislation, have the plebiscite, and have it over and done with.

Shorten is playing the issue for political advantage.

There are two constituencies that care about gay marriage, outside the LGBTIQ community. One is conservative Christians and the other is Greens/Left voters.

The Christians are not huge in numbers, but they distinguish between Shorten and Turnbull on this issue. At least Turnbull is going to give them a say in it, and if they are beaten, they can accept that.

Turnbull has held the line on this issue, and it is to his advantage with these voters. They could well desert him if he did anything else.

Those who are Greens/Left and not partisan warriors realise that a plebiscite is their best chance for at least the next three years. It must irk them that a man who three years ago was in favour of a plebiscite and against gay marriage, has now taken the opposite position, but to whose advantage? Not theirs – see Cleanevent above.

Labor is attempting to ape Tony Abbott’s oppositional tactics, but Abbott had something that Bill Shorten Labor hasn’t – he was seen as a conviction politician. He might have been brutally oppositional, and gained an advantage from it, but he believed in what he was saying, and the advantage was consequential.

Shorten comes up short on conviction, so opposition can easily be translated by voters as self-interested hypocrisy and gamesmanship. The political tide is running against that at the moment.

Turnbull however should not take this improvement for granted. The move away from Shorten hasn’t been directly to his benefit. The voters have parked themselves as “Neither/Can’t say”. If Turnbull shows any signs of stepping back from his new tougher direction, Shorten will be back in the game.

Posted by Graham at 2:32 pm | Comments (4) |