Selasa, 24 Juli 2012

Three cents a day

The ABC used to remind us of the good value it represented by saying that it cost every Australian just eight cents a day

Here's more good value: Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services cost each renter household just three cents a day.

That's for New South Wales, and for Queensland, too, where the Queensland State Government has announced that the service is to be discontinued. Three cents a day.

Not every renter household uses a Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service every year, though a lot do – about 35 000 in New South Wales. But you never know when a tenancy problem will arise, and when you'll need some independent information and advice – and three cents a day for access to a Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service is good insurance.

The good value gets even better. The bill (tiny as it is) is not paid by the taxpayer. Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services are funded by tenants' money. In New South Wales, half the funds come from interest earned on tenants' bonds lodged with Renting Services, and the other half comes from interest earned on monies in real estate agents' statutory accounts (and, really, that's money that's been put in by tenants too. Mind you, just a tiny fraction of the interest gets spent this way; more goes to funding the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.)

It's similar in Queensland, too: the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services there have been funded by tenants' money.

The NSW State Government has twice reviewed the Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services in New South Wales, and twice found them to be good value services for tenants, but that funding has not kept up with the growth of the rental housing sector and the demand for service. The reviewers  recommended increased funding for Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services, particularly to improve tenants' access to duty advocates at the Tribunal, and to ease the stretch on the four Aboriginal services that between them cover the whole of the State... to a bit under five cents a day.

Five cents a day, for even better Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services. Better value, and still tenants' money.