Calls for State Housing Inventory to be Tightened

Nov 21, 2022

Calls for State Housing Inventory to be Tightened

Nov 21, 2022

Mount Isa residents are expressing their frustrations regarding people crossing the border from Northern Territory and entering Queensland, moving into the beds of the Leichardt River to live, leaving residents wanting more to be done to remove them.


Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter advised that he has met with both the Queensland and Northern Territory housing ministers to discuss possible solutions to the issue.


We have our hands tied behind our back by government on dealing with the issue of itinerants, so we need to fully exploit those opportunities we have to deal with the issue within the bounds of the law.


The most practical way of dealing with this issue under the existing laws is by tightening visibility on just who is supposed to be living in what house with more focus on the NT then Queensland. 


You can’t be occupying two dwellings at the same time or take up a house and go off to Mount Isa to drink and leave a perfectly good house vacant where you come from.  The vacant house in a remote community can often cause as much tension as the overcrowding at the other end, based on reports to my office. 


“Police are aware of the issue, however their hands are tied”, said Mr Katter.


“They cannot tell people where they can and cannot live, and without any confirmation of the housing status or history the problem remains very difficult to deal with.


“We need an alternative solution here, which is why I have reached out to state Housing Ministers.


“I’ve met with both the Queensland Government housing Minister and former Northern Territory Housing Minister along with other related housing department representatives.  On the NT side, they were quite open about the fact that the data on itinerants was sketchy that could be improved.


“A lot of these people have housing allocated to them, whether that be in the Northern Territory or in Queensland, but for whatever reason they are opting not to utilise it.


“In the midst of a housing crisis across both states, where you have people begging for housing, I think more needs to be done.


“And we can start by tidying up the housing inventory.


Mr Katter said that it cannot be the case that all of these people do not have a house, and was concerned when discussing with the former Northern Territory Minister and respective housing department representatives discussed with him that they were unaware in a lot of cases who was in what house.


“It seems there is very poor visibility of itinerants who are moving back and forth”, said Mr Katter.


“I would like to call on the state government to step it up, and work collaboratively with other states to provide a forensic audit of tenancy which will allow monitoring of who is occupying what houses.


“By enabling a program or initiative that allows police to have access to housing records, it will enable them to assist in ensuring people are living in the houses assigned to them.


“Not crossing borders, and certainly not occupying riverbeds when they have somewhere else to stay.


Mr Katter advised that the State Minister for Communities and Housing, Hon Leeanne Enoch committed to raising the issue with her other state and territory counterparts at the recent national summit.


“I am hopeful this issue can be addressed, and states can work collaboratively to ensure the housing inventory across states is tidied.