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Perhaps Minister Archer Should Talk to Tenants?

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 1 March 2021

Tags: Housing, Homelessness, Tenant Rights, Rent Caps

If my Clark colleague, Elise Archer MP, thinks everything is fine for renters in Tasmania, perhaps she should try talking to one of the thousands of Tasmanians struggling to afford their rent in a weekly struggle.
The rental protections put in place in response to COVID-19 were welcome, but the fact is the Gutwein Government has removed these protections against the advice of the Tenant’s Union and social welfare organisations. This decision is leaving people vulnerable to increased financial hardship and potentially, homelessness.
It seems rather heartless for Minister Archer to be spruiking a support fund that’s soon to be terminated, while people around the State are looking at their bank accounts and wondering how they are going to afford the massive rent increases being issued to them right now.
Clearly she’s out of touch – much like Premier Gutwein, who says rents are not too high, despite the data showing rents are soaring in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.
The fact that only four applications for unreasonable rent increases have come before the Residential Tenancy Commissioner since the 31st of January is not because there aren’t many cases of this occurring – it’s because so many tenants are desperate to hold onto a secure home, and don’t want to put that at risk by causing ‘trouble’.
We’ve had dozens of people contact our office about rent increases, including cases where the rate is going up over $100 per week. This is a real issue, and it’s only going to get worse when the Federal Government’s COVID support payments are axed at the end of March.
The Liberals inaction on housing has in large part created a crisis across Tasmania, and they continue to deny any need for action. Given this refusal to act, it’s time for the rest of the Parliament to work together to deliver real housing solutions for Tasmanian tenants.
In a finely balanced Parliament, we could have the numbers to drive real change.