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Housing Inquiry Report Confirms Need for Major Reform

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 14 February 2020

Tags: Social and Affordable Housing, Housing, Housing Crisis, Short Stay Accommodation, Rent Caps

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

A substantial increase in funding for social housing, rent reform and curbs on short stay accomodation are essential to tackling Tasmania’s deepening housing crisis.

As a member of the Parliamentary Committee that inquired into housing availability and affordability, I heard compelling evidence that the Liberals’ approach is failing and reform is urgently needed.

It says something about the strength of the evidence that Liberal, Labor and Green members of the inquiry all agreed on the need for decisive action to tackle the chronic housing shortage.

A key concern across the housing and homelessness sector is rising rents that are forcing people into homelessness.

The Inquiry heard rents are soaring and short stay accomodation is out of control.

Low income tenants face the triple whammy of too few homes, a continuing increase in homes going on to the short stay market, and annual increases in rent.

The Inquiry also heard the rights of tenants need far greater protection and that the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 needs reform as a priority.

Rent controls, similar to the regime in the ACT, to better protect tenants are essential.

We heard of households being slugged with rent increases of up to $70 or more in a year, with some landlords exploiting the scarcity of affordable homes for profit.

To date, the Liberal Government has shown no appetite for undertaking the reforms needed to prioritise and protect Tasmanians needing a home.

The evidence is overwhelming and reform desperately needed.

Business as usual in housing will only lead to higher rates of homelessness and tenants being pushed to the margins of society.

Given the tripartisanship evident in the housing inquiry report, the Premier and Minister Jaensch should adopt all the recommendations.

An increase in funding for social housing, rent controls and curbs on short stay accomodation should be their starting point.

Tasmanians struggling to find a home or to pay their rent need the Liberals to heed the evidence and recommendations of this inquiry, and act on them.