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Residential Tenancy Act Cabinet Decision


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 24 September 2020

Tags: Tenant Rights, Housing Tasmania, Misleading Parliament, Ministerial Accountability

Residential Tenancy Act Cabinet Decision, Cassy O'Connor, 24 September 2020

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Mr JAENSCH

During the pandemic, and thanks in part to a Greens amendment, a freeze has been put on evictions in both the private rental market and for public housing tenants. It is a very different picture from last year, when the Supreme Court found against Housing Tasmania in the case of Gregory Parsons, a 55 year old with an intellectual disability who was evicted without genuine or just reason. Can you confirm in response to that judgment that a decision was made by you and the Government you are part of to change the Residential Tenancy Act to make it easier to evict tenants without genuine or just reason?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question. I am not aware of any changes proposed or undertaken regarding making it more difficult -

Ms O'Connor - The question was whether a decision was made to change the law.

Mr JAENSCH - I do not know what decision Ms O'Connor might be referring to. What I do know is that decisions were taken early on in the coronavirus response period to ensure people had security of tenure in their housing.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, this is very important - relevance. It is not about the pandemic response, it is about a decision made by Government to change the law to make it easier to evict tenants.

Madam SPEAKER - I do not think that is a point of order.

Mr JAENSCH - Madam Speaker, to change the law the Government needs to bring the law to the parliament and argue its case. We have not done that. I do not know what else Ms O'Connor is referring to. What I do know is that as we moved into the COVID-19 response, one of the things we did early was to ensure people who were facing uncertainty and maybe facing financial and housing stress had the certainty of their tenure so that people could not be evicted during that period from social housing and in the broader market. We have continued to monitor and update that policy as we have gone on in response to people's needs.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under Standing Order 45. First of all the minister said he was not aware of any decision and then started dissembling and talking about the COVID-19 response. The question is was he part of the Government decision to make it easier to evict tenants before the pandemic? Be careful with your answer, minister.

Madam SPEAKER - Sorry, but it is not a point of order.

Mr JAENSCH - Madam Speaker, there has been no change to the law. Any change to the law needs to happen through this parliament.

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Mr JAENSCH

In response to our previous question, you said -

I am not aware of any changes proposed or undertaken. I do not know what decision Ms O'Connor might be referring to.

Minister, that is untrue. Here is the Cabinet decision, which says -

That Cabinet agrees to vacate the previous Cabinet decision in regard to the Director of Housing v Parsons , and not proceed with the proposed amendment to remove the genuine or just requirement in the context of an order for vacant possession.

Your integrity is in question. You have misled the House. How do you explain yourself?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I would be happy to review the Cabinet record and the decision referred to, and take further advice on the matter.