Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson
With borders closed until at least December, and federal income support to soon be cut, thousands of Tasmanians will be in financial hardship due to COVID-19 for months to come.
That’s why this week the Greens have written to the Premier, urging him to extend the Rent Relief Fund period until at least December 31, and also to allow previous recipients of support to re-apply.
The Premier committed to establishing the Rent Relief Fund in May, in part in response to questions from the Greens in Parliament. The Fund was set up to provide once-off support up to $2000 for eligible applicants, and was originally planned to conclude on September 30.
The timeline for the Fund was designed before it was clear what would happen with the federal JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments. Now we know these payments will be slashed on September 30, pushing thousands of Tasmanians into even further financial hardship.
Those people whose incomes are cut due to federal government decisions or who have now run out of savings should not be overlooked for rent relief. It’s also likely many of those who have previously received support remain in very difficult circumstances, and will require additional support.
These Tasmanians have sacrificed so much to keep our community safe. They have been put into extreme hardship through no fault of their own. It’s our responsibility as a state to make sure they are looked after.
We hope the Premier, who has acted when he’s seen a clear need, will recognise the importance of this issue and take action to ensure Tasmanian renters continue to get the support they need.