The Ipswich Regional Tenant Group has been representing the interests of local social housing tenants for more than 15 years.
As president of the group for the past 13 years, Ms Bernice Ralph has developed in-depth knowledge of social housing tenants' circumstances.
“I meet regularly with tenants to discuss a range of things that impact on their lives, including housing design, maintenance, upgrades, transfers and neighbourhood issues,” Bernice said.
“With the recent changes to energy distribution and retailing in Queensland, many tenants are concerned about how they can reduce their energy bills.”
In April last year, Bernice attended the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) Energy Affordability and Poverty workshop. Participants in the workshop learned that Queensland has high reliance on electricity for household use, a high disconnection rate and limited assistance for people experiencing hardship.
“I didn't think this was a fair deal for Queenslanders, so when QCOSS invited me to join their Energy Projects Advisory Group, I thought 'why not?',” Bernice said.
When the Parliamentary Enquiry into Energy Efficiency asked for submissions in June, Bernice believed it was an opportunity for tenants to be heard on this issue.
“Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call, inviting me to give evidence to the committee. I hope some of the suggestions for change that we put forward are taken up,” she said.
Contact your local Housing Services office or regional tenant group about how to get involved in Tenant Participation.