Surging demand for social housing in Queensland has come under fire as the Palaszczuk government remains under pressure over accommodation shortages.
New Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon faced intense questioning on the final day of a parliamentary budget hearings on Thursday.
It is a hot-button issue for the government with more than 41,400 people from 25,364 households and 7050 families on a waiting list for social housing.
Demand has continued to surge in a cost-of-living crisis, with another 6600 applications added to the waiting list in the past financial year while 5000 homes were allocated to people struggling to find a permanent place to live.
Department director-general Mark Cridland told the hearing 6603 applications were added to the register in 2022/23.
“Some of those will go on multiple times,” Mr Cridland said.
“They may go on (the list) their circumstances change and the same person may come back onto the register again.
“We count distinct applications – not the people that might apply multiple times during that one year.”
During the same period, 5000 homes were allocated to people and families while more than 7300 applicants were removed from the register.
“So for last financial year, there were 3620 applications removed through being non-contactable, 2066 that were not eligible, 1297 who no longer needed housing and 370 for other reasons, for example they might not have shown up for their housing interview,” the director general admitted.
Liberal National housing spokesman Tim Mander queried the accuracy of the figures.
“Can you just confirm there were more people culled or removed from the Social Housing Register last year than were actually allocated houses?” Mr Mander asked.
The director-general conceded there was a notable deficit to housing supply and demand.
“So yes, there were more applications removed from the register than added,” Mr Cridland said.
“There were also 5000 households assisted in, so it’s a very dynamic and responsive register that changes every day.”
Ms Scanlon insisted recent data showed there were fewer people on the register.
“I would like to see the Social Housing Register number reduced because that means by helping more families and individuals … I am committed to making sure that we deliver more houses to help more people on the register,” the minister said.
She said the department was committed to delivering 13,500 more homes while the Housing Investment Fund was bolstered in 2022 to $2 billion to provide subsidies, one-off capital grants and other support to encourage more housing.
“That is a significant investment, particularly in contrast to the reduction in housing that we saw under the former Liberal National Party government,” Ms Scanlon said.
“We’re very clear on trying to build and add more stock to the social housing portfolio so we can help more people quickly.” -AAP