A Brisbane tenant group is working with the Department of Housing to improve the lives of all who live in their urban apartment complex.
The group formed in September 2005 because the tenants were concerned about the surface of the children's playground. The department responded to the tenants' concerns and arranged for the necessary work to be completed.
Since achieving this, the group has been working with the department to make other improvements, including a new drainage channel along the front of the building, and some repairs to the building's exterior.
Tenant John McCallum claims the best changes have been in attitude. "People are really pulling together and that's what makes it good."
"Some tenants are buying plants to improve their gardens. Others are sweeping paths and picking up dropped junk mail, and more people are taking out their recycling bins since the group formed."
Mr McCallum says it is a great example of tenants working together to achieve a common goal. "It's not an I or me thing: it's an us thing now. We have improved our community and our relationships with each other, as well as with the Department of Housing."
Helen Johnson has been living in the complex for 10 years, and has seen the change as the tenant group brought everyone together. "Everyone's attitude and outlook is so different since the group formed," she said.
The tenant group has held three sausage sizzles, numerous morning and afternoon teas, two Garden Awards parties and a Christmas party and barbecue. Margaret McCallum gathered the complex's children together last year to make Christmas decorations. "We had lots of fun," she said, "and the kids play beautifully together."
Mrs McCallum reported that, since the tenant group formed, there has been a wonderful change: a better community spirit. "Like any family, we have our differences, but issues between tenants are resolved quickly, and the Department of Housing can more easily respond to our requests because we act together.
"We can't imagine life without our tenant group."