Some Housing Tasmania tenants lived in "enormous fear" and sold drugs to survive, House of Assembly speaker Sue Hickey has told an inquiry after admitting she put in an incorrect submission scathing of Housing Tasmania.
Ms Hickey, the Liberal member for Clark, made a last-minute submission to the inquiry into housing affordability, saying Housing Tasmania was "failing its clients" and needed to be "restructured and downsized".
She also accused Housing Tasmania of being prejudiced and having a culture of "compliance above humanity, compassion and solutions".
However, Ms Hickey fronted the committee early on Wednesday morning and said she was "mortified" her submission had been reported in the media when she had asked for it to be withdrawn an hour after it was wrongly sent to the committee.
In a question from Labor member for Lyons Jen Butler Ms Hickey denied she had been pressured to "tone down" her submission.
"Absolutely not," she said. "I toned it down to make it less directive.
"I don't want a whole lot of public servants fearing they are going to lose their jobs."
In her evidence to the committee, Ms Hickey was critical of tenancy selection for Housing Tasmania properties.
"The tenancy selection is so bad that everybody's sinking to the lowest common denominator," she said.
"People are living in enormous fear and some are pressured to sell drugs to survive in their properties. Something has to change."
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said it was unfair to "take a crack at Housing Tasmania" and asked where tenants who could not find a house should live.
Ms Hickey said ones who sold drugs should be in jail.
She also said some Housing Tasmania staff had been "very rude and threatening" to tenants at a complex at Sandy Bay.
In her critical submission, Ms Hickey said Housing Tasmania appeared to be a "top heavy, and non-responsive organisation".
Constituents tell me that on a regular basis that they are not treated as citizens in need, rather problems to be turned away often with a loss of dignity," she said. "Far from having a service mentality, the Housing Tasmania organisation has become remote and unconnected with their client base.
"Housing Tasmania appears to me to be an organisation failing its clients. The model may have worked 20 years ago, but in today's constricted and costly real estate market that is the new norm the current model does not work. In my opinion, the organisation needs to be completely restructured and downsized, as it does not deliver efficiently the services that it should provide.
"There are far too many boarded up houses that have not been repaired, and of course which cannot provide homes to those in need.
"Presently Tasmania's public housing system has failed the people that it was set up to support; has failed to deliver adequate housing in a timely fashion with good governance.
"From my perspective it has failed to have a culture of customers to be supported and helped, rather than tenants to be seen as nothing more than problem."