Queensland’s high-stakes public housing drug nightmare
Hundreds of thousands of dollars has been forked out on contracts that involve drug remediation works and treatment in Queensland's public housing.
The state's Housing Department spent more than $300,000 on at least 24 contracts that involved drug remediation works in the 6 months to December 31 last year.
The department has confirmed all of the contracts related to remediation works for "drug use residue", and that some included swab testing to identify chemical staining following notifications from police.
The contracts ranged in value from about $10,300 to over $17,000, with a department spokeswoman saying remediation work - including drug remediation work - was sometimes required to maintain a "safe property".
"The department is unable to confirm the exact dollar value for drug remediation within each contract, as other works may have been completed as part of the same work order," she said.
"When illegal drug activity is found, the cost of remediation work is passed onto the tenant responsible.
"That will be the case for all of the listed contracts. The department has processes to manage recovery of costs associated with remediation works deemed outside fair wear and tear."
The spokeswoman said the department took "appropriate action" when necessary, including issuing a notice to leave or taking action through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
"The majority of Queenslanders in public housing do the right thing and are good neighbours," she said.
"As is standard practice across the private rental market, the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy conducts regular property inspections and investigates complaints.
"When a property becomes vacant, the department follows a standard protocol for maintenance to ensure it is ready for the next tenant."
It has previously been revealed that the total damages bill for wilful or malicious damage identified in Queensland public housing in 2019-20 was $61,770.
The department spokeswoman said Queensland Police Service data showed there were two drug labs identified in public housing last financial year - compared to 66 in the private market.
Originally published as Thousands spent on drug cleaning bill