You are here

State Development, Construction and Housing – Rental Affordability

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tags: Housing Crisis, Tenant Rights

Ms O'CONNOR - That would be an amazing achievement, minister, if you could pull that off, particularly given the track record. Minister, the rental affordability snapshot issued by Anglicare Tasmania this year makes a number of recommendations to government. I am sure you are aware of this document. There are four key recommendations to the state, which I will not go through in detail, but the first is the set targets for affordable rental housing, and to continue to increase the supply in order to meet that target. The third recommendation speaks to tenants who are in increasingly insecure tenancies.

The call from the Tenants Union of Tasmania and Anglicare Tasmania is to review and reform the Residential Tenancy Act to ensure a)

tenants are not evicted into homelessness; and b)

prospective tenants are not discriminated against on the basis of parenthood, unemployment or pet ownership.

We know that people are discriminated against on those levels. While I understand that the legislation is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice, because I have history here I know that the Justice department would be working very closely with Housing Tasmania, with your agency, were there to be any changes flagged to the Residential Tenancy Act to strengthen the rights of tenants. Is any of this work taking place? I will just remind you we have a bill on the table which seeks to strengthen these rights. It is very well drafted. I encourage you to have a good look at it.

Mr BARNETT - Thank you very much for the observations, reflections and question. The answer is yes, I am well aware of the Anglicare rental affordability report. I met with Chris Jones and Noel Mundy about a week or so ago. I appreciated their feedback and contribution, and acknowledge their great work all around Tasmania. I met with Anglicare again just on the weekend, on Saturday, at Thyne House. They manage that facility and do a great job. I want to say thanks to them. The recommendations and the report are being considered by my department, as it is by Elise Archer's department, particularly with respect to recommendation 3.

I cannot speak for and on behalf of the Attorney-General who is responsible for residential tenancy legislation. But of course all these matters are being taken very seriously by my department. We will continue to deliberate on the best way forward. We absolutely acknowledge rental affordability as a very big challenge with increased property prices around the country. It's not just Tasmania. I think we all acknowledge that.

Ms O'CONNOR - Tenants' rights, as well, are a big issue.

Mr BARNETT - Yes. So rental affordability is acknowledged as an issue and a challenge so that's something that we are doing everything we can to address including through the Private Rental Incentive Scheme which is a $9.5 million commitment in the Budget -

Ms O'CONNOR - Well you're not, because the ACT has a much stronger framework in place -

Mr CHAIR - Sorry Ms O'Connor, the time being 3.30 p.m., I did promise a comfort break for five minutes. If we can return in five minutes that would be great. Mr Wood will have the call when we return.