Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson
Figures released today by the Tenants Union of Tasmania confirm there are at least 563 empty homes in the greater Hobart area alone. Their analysis estimates the number statewide is likely in the thousands.
That’s thousands of homes left empty while Tasmanians are being left out in the cold by soaring rents and a massive supply shortage.
Tasmania is in the grip of a severe housing crisis, with the number people in insecure housing or experiencing homelessness steadily increasing.
The State’s unoccupied houses should be homes, and used to generate revenue for housing.
A vacant residence tax incentivises property owners to put empty houses back on the rental market. Experience in other jurisdictions demonstrates it also helps to raise money for investment in housing.
It’s sensible policy that would make a difference - that’s why we took this policy to the last election and why we’ve included it in the Greens’ Alternative Budget.
It is revolting for Liberal Senator Eric Abetz to use homelessness as a way to attack Hobart City Council for offering aid to 30 refugees. He is the same individual who lobbied against forgiving Tasmania’s housing debt, and investing the subsequent proceeds back into housing.
Instead of using Tasmania’s housing crisis to dog whistle against some of our most vulnerable people, Mr Abetz should be lobbying his State and Federal colleagues to introduce measures like a vacant residence tax.
The State’s housing crisis desperately needs a circuit breaker. A vacant resident tax, along with curbs on short stay accommodation, have the potential to bring thousands of homes into the market.