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Rental Tenants - Protections

Vica Bayley MP

Vica Bayley MP  -  Thursday, 17 August 2023

Tags: Rent Caps, Tenant Rights


As you are well aware, renters are doing it tough. The need for laws to protect renters' rights are well articulated, understood and overdue. Yesterday, you were at National Cabinet, where rental controls and protections were a key agenda item. Many Tasmanians are struggling, and they put a lot of hope in National Cabinet to agree to tangible actions that would improve their lives. Housing and tenancy advocates appear underwhelmed, concerned that what has been announced is simply a plan to deliver a plan to move towards protections for renters, with no commitment to cap the size of rental increases that can be imposed on tenants.

It is clear from the National Cabinet's statements that the responsibility for most of these reforms sit with you. Our state and our tenants need commitments from you. Before the next election, will you commit to passing legislation that protects renters from no-cause evictions, caps excessive and unfair rental increases, and regulates short-stay accommodation so more people can find a home, and keep it when they do?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I was pleased to be at National Cabinet yesterday, advocating for Tasmania, as all premiers do, and understand the complexity and the very real needs of Australians, including Tasmanians, when it comes to housing and housing supply.

Interestingly, I was standing not too far away from the Prime Minister in his press conference yesterday, where he spoke about supply, supply and supply, and what we are doing in terms of our $1.5 billion investment and 10 000 social and affordable homes by 2032. The National Cabinet reflects the position of the Tasmanian Government - they do not support caps on rent or freezes on rent, for very good reason. It would actually have a very counterproductive effect. Caps on rent, or rent control, creates scarcity and makes it difficult for people to get housing, and developers have less incentive to build new housing if there is a ceiling in place for what they can charge. If there is less supply, that of course drives up prices.

We are very committed. When I reflect on a number of the initiatives - nine initiatives, if memory serves me correctly - that were outlined yesterday for supporting renters, seven of those are being progressed very clearly within Tasmania. I understand the member's very real concerns about this matter, but we simply do not agree with the national and state Greens' policy with respect to capping or freezing rents. What we are concentrating on as a country, and also as a state, is increasing supply - but also reducing the red tape that constricts that supply, as well and other areas and incentives. This is exactly why planning reform, for example, is so very important.