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2709 Empty Homes During a Rental Crisis

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 12 February 2023

Tags: Housing

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

The Rockliff Government has been idle in tackling the rental crisis and is making it worse by the day.

Rents are soaring, the Housing wait list is a place of lost hope, short stay accommodation is out of control, there are too few homes, and according to TasWater data there are more than 2700 empty homes across the island.

In the 2021 calendar year, this included 907 homes in Hobart, 610 in Glenorchy and 1192 empty homes in Launceston. 

A collective of community organisations led by the Tenants Union of Tasmania has written to the Premier calling for the introduction of a vacant property levy to ease the crisis.

Vancouver, France, Ireland, Scotland and Melbourne have all introduced vacant property levies, incentivising vacant property owners to return homes to the rental market. 

It’s not enough for the Premier and his ministers to say 10 000 homes will be built within a decade. Tasmanians need rental relief and affordable housing today. 

Every Tasmanian has the right to a secure, affordable home but they are being priced and squeezed out of their own paradise. 

Continued inaction is not an option.

Skilled people are leaving the island and mainlanders are deciding not to come here because of the housing shortage and the nation’s tightest rental market.  Homelessness is also increasing. 

A fairly set vacant residence levy is demonstrated good policy.  In Tasmania it would return hundreds of homes to the rental market. 

Such a levy would be narrowly targeted and have zero impact on everyday Tasmanians.  It would deliver more homes and ease rental pressure. 

The Greens strongly support the community led push for a vacant residence levy.  We want to see more Tasmanians in secure, affordable housing. 

We call on the Premier to have the courage and compassion for battling families to pick up the phone to Premier Dan Andrew’s, ask him how the levy is successfully operating in Melbourne and get on with introducing the levy where it’s urgently needed, here in Tasmania