Jack Burke, 78, received a notice stating he could be evicted from his home by December 6, unless he gave reasonable cause as to why he had been absent from his apartment.
Jack Burke, 78, received a notice stating he could be evicted from his home by December 6, unless he gave reasonable cause as to why he had been absent from his apartment. Robyne Cuerel

Eviction threat for terminally ill public housing tenant

CHRISTMAS has come early for a terminally ill man after he was threatened with eviction from his public housing unit.

Maryborough's Jack Burke, 78, received a notice stating he could be evicted from his home by December 6, unless he gave reasonable cause as to why he had been absent from his apartment for more than four weeks this year.

Mr Burke, who has been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, said he had been caring for his daughter and had been doing volunteer work for two weeks in Cambodia earlier in the year.

He has also been in and out of hospital receiving treatment for his condition.

A spokesman from the Department of Housing and Public Works said Mr Burke had been away from his property for almost two months so far this year, but "as he has since returned to the property he has been advised no action would be taken".

"Should he require further time away, he will need to apply as per the policy," the spokesman said.

The State Government's temporary absence policy, introduced earlier this year, restricts public housing tenants to four weeks away from their units each year, while longer absences can be approved on a case-by-case basis for health issues, family crises and other relevant reasons.

Mr Burke, who says he pays his rent on time and maintains a clean unit, said he felt like a prisoner in his own home because of the policy.