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Apparently this system (a species of which applies to the private rental market) was inhumane and has now been replaced by the “Fair Expectations of Behaviour” policy which is described thus in the minister’s media release: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

1 Comment

  1. 38-39 evictions through the length and breadth of Queensland, Wow! Clearly not a huge problem unless you live next door to one!

    These folk are recalcitrant incorrigible recidivists and invariably migrate into regional and rural Queensland, where rentals may be more affordable and the managing agents less fussy about where and how they and how “earn” their income?

    Particularly from otherwise unrentable, unsaleable, asbestos fibre lined shacks?

    Incidentally, even though this fibre was outlawed as a building material around 87, it seems some folk have inadvertently continued to use it? As fully imported fibre cement panels, shipped as low cost building material from china?

    If these structures were mandatorily condemned? Those penny pinching practitioners would take care to ensure their cement fibre building materials were at least locally sourced!

    The three strikes and you’re out policy, should have been continued, given it was working? And would be if the cabinet minister was made personally responsible for the damage these antisocial pimps whores dealers and low life do to public housing?

    i.e., A house used as a drug lab for cooking ice, may be so contaminated as to require complete stripping and relining, before it can be made safely inhabitable!

    And if all the repairs ad refurbishment had to come out of the minister’s own salary and or “ENTITLEMENTS”!? Three strikes and you’re out would likely continue, and be beefed up with mandatory interstate exile?

    And good strategy for every state finally able to put all the rotten eggs in a single basket?

    I can think of a few abandoned mining towns still connected to the grid that would suffice? Luina, Waratah, Queenstown and say Greenvale? And operated as an exchange, ours for yours program?

    Where they could wander around in their own personal nightmare making life hell for each other, rather than the law abiding folk of rural and regional Queensland! And or, if the new managers had to have one as a neighbor?

    And possible if the public service were thoroughly decentralised and completely gone from brisbane’s towers or leafy inner suburbs altogether?

    And give a completely new meaning to the term, outsourced, altogether?

    I’d include substantial cash rewards for dobbing in a drug lab, illegal brothel or backyard abortions, dealing, drug and grog running etc. And it’d save money in the long run!

    To ensure that the criminal element were weeded out as expeditiously as possible, where they could go to outsourced confinement in places like, PNG or Maunus or East Timor, but only to the local standard!

    Perhaps island paradise and really nice neighborhood, Palm Island, has a few empty habitable houses? Or has room for a really nice tent city? Three strikes could be replaced by a, look after it or lose it policy?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — November 14, 2016 @ 10:00 am

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