MEDIA RELEASE

Minister for Housing and Public Works
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Minister declares unsafe accommodation un-Australian

The Queensland Government is investigating 33 properties in relation to unregistered boarding house laws.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said his department had received 11 new inquiries about 14 houses as part of the government’s three-month targeted investigations of unregistered boarding houses which were announced last month.

“My department’s Regulatory Services has begun investigating the properties which are in suburban Brisbane, Caboolture, Ipswich, Bundaberg and on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“In addition to these investigations, Regulatory Services was already conducting seven inquiries that involve up to 19 properties prior to the announcement of the targeted investigations. These inquiries are all ongoing.”

Minister de Brenni said the department’s investigations into unregistered boarding houses were to make sure people are living in safe and secure accommodation.

“Exploitation and unsafe practices have too often been common place in unregistered accommodation.

“As an example, last year my Department investigated an unregistered boarding housing operating on a property stacked in with up to forty adults at one time.

“They identified a lack of adequate training of staff and volunteers, as well as a lack of safety procedures and support for people with medical or mental health conditions. Concerns were also raised about overcharging for rent and meals. 

“These types of arrangements put people at risk, which is why it’s important that registration and standards are in place.”

Mr de Brenni said that his Department would use all of its powers to make sure that people were doing the right thing.

“The idea that those who need shelter are exploited is as far from the spirit of mateship as you can get. But I’m prepared to show people a fair go, which is why the investigation includes an amnesty.

“If people volunteer to become a registered provider during the investigation, which is due to finish at the end of March, my department will offer them every assistance to make that happen.”

Mr de Brenni said that if a member of the public wants to report a suspected unregistered boarding house they can contact the Department of Housing and Public Works Regulatory Services on 07 3008 3450, or email the department at residentialservices@hpw.qld.gov.au.

Tell tale signs of an unregistered boarding housing include too many residents, regularly changing tenants and the continual advertising of vacancies. Information about the targeted investigation can be found at www.hpw.qld.gov.au/reportillegalboardinghouseactivity.

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Media Contact – Tristan Douglas 0447 164 197