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Labor Needs to Stand with Tenants

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 14 January 2021

Tags: Social and Affordable Housing, Housing, Housing Crisis, COVID-19, Rent Caps

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson

Tasmanian Labor needs to take a position on the looming expiry of COVID-19 emergency tenancy protections on 31 January.

While key community sector stakeholders are calling on the Gutwein Government to extend the restrictions on rent increases and evictions, Labor’s shadow housing spokesperson has said, ‘The jury is still out.’ It’s not.

In acknowledgement of the ongoing social and economic cost of the pandemic, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and the ACT have all extended tenant protections until the end of March.

On behalf of the Tasmanian Greens, today I have written to Labor leader Rebecca White to ask her to join social sector organisations and the Greens in calling for the Premier to extend COVID-19 rental protections until at least 31 March.

With almost 50,000 Tasmanians out of work or underemployed, Scott Morrison continuing to cut income support, and the housing market under intense pressure, now is the wrong time to be pulling the rug out from under struggling tenants.

Yet, going on his statement from yesterday, that’s exactly what Premier Peter Gutwein intends to do. 

There’s still time to change his mind. That’s why today we have written to Labor Leader, Rebecca White, to request she joins the push to protect Tasmanian tenants from being pushed into extreme financial stress and towards homelessness. 

This is not a hypothetical. The Greens are already being contacted by tenants facing threats of significant rent increases or eviction.

While the current evictions moratorium and rent freeze are not solutions to the housing crisis, they play a crucial role in protecting Tasmanian tenants during a global health emergency. To end these measures too early will be throwing thousands of people on to the mercy of a wildly overheating rental market, with rents rising and vacancy rates the lowest in Australia.

If Labor stands with social sector organisations and the Greens in speaking up for Tasmanian tenants, the Premier will find it far more difficult to not to act.


Letter to Rebecca White - Residential Tenancy Protections