2023 Annual Report

What a massive year it has been! It’s been a busy year leading the National Housing campaign, serving over 10,000 meals at our free school breakfasts and dinners, and kickstarting a bunch of other different local projects.


By Max Chandler Mather
Member for Griffith

Housing & Homelessness

Over the last eight months we have been fighting hard to secure a plan from the Federal Government that will at least start to tackle the scale of the housing crisis.

Labor still needs the Greens support to pass the Housing Australia Future Fund through the Senate, but as it stands the HAFF will see the housing crisis get much worse and Labor has still refused to do anything for renters. As a result the Greens voted to defer consideration of the HAFF until October 16 to ensure enough time for negotiations. Right now we are pushing for a guaranteed $2.5 billion of direct investment in public housing every year, and $1 billion to help incentivise a 2 year freeze and ongoing cap on rent increases through National Cabinet.

In order to build pressure on Labor to make real concessions on rents and housing funding, we have organised a large national campaign, mobilising volunteers to doorknock and campaign in a way usually only seen during election campaigns. This has involved a series of mass online-town hall meetings, thousands of doorknock conversations across the country, national online doorknock trainings, market stalls, letterboxing, and recently a large rally out the front of Labor’s National Conference in Brisbane.

I can’t stress enough how useful and powerful this has been, proving to Labor and to voters our commitment to this issue, helping refine and validate our message and bringing the community along with us through tense parliamentary negotiation. Every day I hear from renters who are hearing our message, many of them expressing support for the Greens for the first time, and just so grateful that someone is fighting for them. I’m extremely grateful to everybody taking part in this massive effort - the success of this campaign belongs to you!

If you want to read more about why we are pushing so hard in this article I wrote for Jacobin.

As a result of this pressure we have been able to secure a one off $2 billion of direct immediate funding for public and community housing, through the Social Housing Accelerator. That is four times the maximum amount Labor proposes to spend through the Housing Australia Future Fund every year.

We have also been able to secure Australia’s first ever national inquiry into the rental crisis, with hearings around the country. So far the inquiry has received over 13,000 submissions. If you haven’t already, you can make a submission. Submissions close September 1st.

Over the course of this campaign we have seen the emergence of a broad national consensus on the support of rent caps. We now know for instance that 3 in 4 Australians now support a cap or freeze on rent increases. Despite this broad support, last week National Cabinet (the body chaired by the Prime Minister and entirely dominated by Labor Premiers) decided to do next to nothing for renters.

Despite previously committing to use this forum to review renters rights, Labor refused to apply any cap on rent increases at all, and then tried to dress up the status quo as something new.

Their top announcement for renters? ‘Limiting’ rent increases to once every 12 months, (a rule that already exists or has already been announced in every state and territory other than the NT), but putting no limit on how high rents can go.

Of course, any renter on a 12 month lease will tell you it’s the size of the rent increase that’s the problem.

Labor couldn’t even commit to a national end to no-grounds evictions. They couldn’t even tell renters when they would get a guarantee for hot and cold running water, or a working stove top. Labor had the opportunity to cap rent increases, and they have refused, which means from here on in, every rent increase is Labor’s fault.

In fact we know that rents are rising at their fastest rate in 35 years, and will cost Australians an extra $4.9 billion in the next 12 months, or $2,261 per household.

That’s why we will keep fighting to secure a freeze and cap on rent increases.

Free Meals, Mutual Aid & Community Support

After launching our first free school breakfast program at a local public school in Griffith, I’m incredibly proud to say that my team and I have significantly expanded our program and have now served over 10,000 free meals. Every week my team serves up three free breakfasts in local public schools and two free dinners in public parks. We serve our dinners in a community park slated to be destroyed by the Olympics development as well as serving food to rough sleepers in our community. In the coming weeks we’ll be expanding our breakfast program into a fourth school.

At the start of my term, we set a target to serve 20,000 free school breakfasts and 10,000 free lunches or dinners. It’s safe to say that we’re firmly on track to achieve those goals!

We’ve also been hard at work building our volunteer community to support our community in times of need. So far this looks like organising working bees for local schools and kindergartens to help out with projects like fixing up their gardens, planting trees and helping to maintain equipment. We’ve also mobilised our volunteers to get out and assist elderly residents with mowing their lawns and fixing up their gardens, who are struggling to access their Aged Care service providers. It’s really brilliant to be able to use the resources of a Federal office to support our community in such a meaningful way.

Trialling a small grants program

In addition to the federal stronger communities and volunteer grants program, our office kicked off its very first small grants program, funded through our office. We were able to support heaps of different local initiatives from new community gardens, supporting First Nations sporting teams, and supporting groups who do brilliant work to welcome and support refugees in our community.

Other local projects

I’ve massively enjoyed being involved with the local community, and supporting resident groups to run different campaigns. Our campaign to stop unsustainable flight noise pollution co-organised a hugely successful rally of more than 1000 people marching on Brisbane Airport Corporation. While our campaign to establish a new public park in a flood prone area of the electorate has garnered well over 1,100 petition signatures. We’re looking forward to kickstarting a few more local campaigns.

– Max

2023 Annual Reports