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Housing Tasmania - Eviction of Tenants

11 June 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HOUSING, Mr JAENSCH

Last week the Full Bench of Tasmania's Supreme Court found your department, Housing Tasmania, was wrong to evict a long-term tenant, Gregory Parsons, a man with a disability, due solely to the expiry of his lease. The court found Housing Tasmania tenants are entitled to natural justice, which they are not being afforded by your Government. In Estimates last week, under questioning from Dr Woodruff, you flagged using public funds to appeal against the court's decision. In the middle of a deepening housing crisis you persist in wanting to make it easier to evict public housing tenants into homelessness. Do you believe Housing Tasmania tenants are entitled to natural justice? Will you now rule out an appeal, aimed at weakening their protections?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. As I said in Estimates last week, Housing Tasmania will take some time now to consider the implications of the court decision. Housing Tasmania manages its tenancies in line with the Residential Tenancy Act, as it always has, and as it did under previous governments, and works closely with its tenants to maintain their tenancies.

Eviction is only an action of last resort and only occurs if a tenant seriously and repeatedly breaches their tenancy agreement and defaults on arrangements that are made to ensure they comply with their lease, including to refusing to engage with support providers.

If a tenant takes reasonable steps to remedy breaches, such as entering into arrangements -

 

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Relevance. I asked the minister whether he will rule out using public funds to appeal the Full Bench of the Supreme Court's decision and now he is just reading from a brief.

 

Madam SPEAKER - I hear your question. As you understand I cannot predict what the minister is going to say. It is not a point of order. Minister, please proceed.

 

Mr JAENSCH - As I have said Housing Tasmania will be considering the implications of the court decision and provide advice to me on the matter.