Vica Bayley MP | Greens Housing spokesperson
After years of the Liberals denying the Greens' calls for reforms to rental laws, today the Premier will have a seat at the table as National Cabinet discuss this crucial issue. For the sake of tens of thousands of Tasmanian renters, we hope Jeremy Rockliff will get on board and finally support reform that will make a real difference.
Rents have skyrocketed in recent years, and rent hikes of hundreds of dollars a month are common. Renters have no protection against being booted out of ther home for no reason.
It's no wonder the last census showed Tasmania had the largest increase in homelessness in the nation, or that our public housing waiting list has more than doubled in size under this government.
The Liberals have insisted the only thing that should be done on housing is to increase housing supply. Of course this is crucial - but after a decade of underinvestment by the Liberals, it will take many years for the state to catch up. In the meantime, tens of thousands of Tasmanian renters are suffering unnecessary hardship due to unfair, weak rental laws - and short stay accommodation continues to expand without limit.
Renters and social services organisations are crying out for limits on frequent and unreasonable rent increases, and for an end to no-cause evictions. These are basic, common-sense reforms the Greens have proposed, that already exist in other parts of Australia. These would make a real difference to the lives of Tasmanian renters.
It was encouraging to see Housing Minister Nic Street seem to keep an open mind to rental reform of some kind when we asked him about this issue in Parliament, but ultimately it's up to the Premier and Cabinet to accept the need for change.
It's time the Liberals finally recognised the needs of renters by supporting the national push for changes to rental laws, and by taking action at a state level. We need to see real change for people who are struggling to find a secure and affordable place to call home.