Housing minister defends decision to sell off Lazy Acres
QUEENSLAND'S housing boss has used an estimates hearing to defend selling off the Lazy Acres Caravan Park.
Public Works and Housing Minister Bruce Flegg announced earlier this year that the Lazy Acres and two other facilities would be sold to ease the social housing shortage.
The government says money used will be redirected to a housing fund to create much-needed state accommodation and reduce the public housing 30,000-plus waiting list.
But the move attracted vast controversy from local communities, including Hervey Bay.
Dr Flegg used an Estimates Committee hearing to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sale.
He said the former government spent $1.1 million to put in place an "artificial arrangement" so the parks did not appear to be state government owned.
"...so people can have an eligibility for Commonwealth rent assistance," he said.
"In private hands they will be profitable so those arrangements would not be necessary. "
Dr Flegg said the sites were not suitable for redevelopment anyway as the parks were either outside the urban footprint or not a "prime development site".
"I see very little prospect there will be change that affects those tenants," he said.
But in the case there was change, Dr Flegg said he would ensure each individual tenant was supported.
Dr Flegg was unclear on the exact circumstances of the letter delivery but said he would ask questions to his department about how it went down.
"I know it had to be done in some haste before the matter became a media matter."
According to departmental annual reports, Lazy Acres Caravan Park ran at a loss of $226,000 last financial year, worse than the $199,000 loss it returned the previous year. In the 2008-2009 financial year, the caravan park returned a $37,000 profit.