Mr BAYLEY question to MINISTER for HOUSING and CONSTRUCTION, Mr STREET
Amid skyrocketing rents and devastating stories of hardship from so many Tasmanians, the Greens have consistently fought for critical reforms to the state's rental laws. The organisations working on the frontline of the housing crisis have called for key measures such as banning no-cause evictions and putting a stop to unreasonable rent increases. At every turn your Government and the Labor Party have teamed up to block the Greens' moves for these reforms, leaving tens of thousands of renters worse off.
We were surprised and cautiously pleased to see that your newly released Housing Strategy recognised the need to modernise tenancy laws to deliver, and I quote, 'affordability, stability and security for renters'. Those are nice words but it is action that is important. Is your Government finally open to legislating stronger limits on rent increases and a ban on no-cause evictions at the end of leases? Given the urgency of the housing crisis, will you commit to tabling a strengthened Residential Tenancy Act in parliament on the first day back next year?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. The first point I will make is that I am not responsible for the legislation you are talking about, Mr Bayley, but I am more than happy to talk about the Government's commitment in this area.
The Government remains committed to a residential tenancy system that is both fair and meets the needs of tenants and owners. This commitment was demonstrated during the pandemic. The Government also acknowledges that housing costs, including rents, have increased. We recognise more needs to be done to improve housing affordability, which is a challenge for all Australian states and territories. To respond to this challenge, we are looking to increase the supply of social and affordable housing by 10 000 by 2032.
In mid-2023 an agreement was made at National Cabinet to a nationwide approach to support the growth of our cities, towns and suburbs, and the Tasmanian Government looks forward to working with other states and territories on potential solutions. A nine-point better deal for renters was agreed to by National Cabinet. We also need to point out that Tasmania largely already delivers on seven of those nine measures.
The Government will continue to work towards further improvements to our framework where appropriate. Tasmania's Residential Tenancy Act 1997 already provides robust protection for tenants, which importantly includes limits on the frequency of rent increases to no more than once per 12-month period. A tenant can also apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner if they believe their rent increase is unreasonable.
We are committed to work across all sectors of the housing sector, from private rentals and private purchases to social and affordable housing to a better deal for renters as well and we will continue to work towards that.