WIN FOR THE BATTLERS: Maryborough’s Jack Burke, 78, fought to change what he felt were unfair regulations aimed at people in public housing.
WIN FOR THE BATTLERS: Maryborough’s Jack Burke, 78, fought to change what he felt were unfair regulations aimed at people in public housing. Robyne Cuerel

Win for the battlers on the Fraser Coast

MARYBOROUGH'S Jack Burke has won a fight for battlers everywhere with the help of Maryborough member Bruce Saunders.

Just before Christmas in 2014, he was threatened with eviction from his public housing unit after he spent more than four weeks away from his home while travelling and visiting family that year.

Under regulations introduced by Campbell Newman's government, no one in public housing was allowed to spend more than a month away from their home unless a request was made and permission had to be gained from the Department of Housing to spend more than a week away.

"I felt like a prisoner in my own home," Mr Burke said.

"This is fairer.

"I don't have to worry anymore."

Before the State Government election in 2015, Mr Burke contacted Bruce Saunders, who was running for the ALP.

Mr Saunders promised that if he became the local member, which he did later that year, he would fight to change the regulations, which he described as "draconian".

Thanks to Mr Burke and Mr Saunders, the regulations have now been changed and those in public housing across the state are now entitled to spend eight weeks away from their homes without requesting permission.

Mr Saunders said people could have more time away by contacting the Department of Housing.

He said safeguards were still in place to ensure units couldn't be sub-let or be left empty for extended periods.

He said the new regulations were much fairer for people like Jack, who almost had to miss out on Christmas with his daughter when he was threatened with eviction in 2014.

Mr Saunders said the LNP government had taken the regulations too far by restricting tenants in public housing to four weeks away a year.

"People in public housing were being treated like second class citizens," Mr Saunders said.

"This is all thanks to people like Jack Burke.

"People can effect change."


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