Greens force rent freeze on to National Cabinet agenda


After sustained pressure from the Greens including the threat of using balance of power in the Senate, the Prime Minister has today been forced to concede that rents are skyrocketing, and has confirmed that the National Cabinet is now scoping a rent freeze and rent caps as part of a stronger national approach to renters rights.

The Greens have been calling on the government to put a two-year freeze on rent increases to allow wages to catch up, followed by a limit on the amount and frequency of legal rent increases that a tenant can receive.

The Greens will now continue our campaign to force action from the Prime Minister and the States on implementing a rent freeze and rent caps, as well as doubling rent assistance in the Budget and  increased funding for building affordable and public housing funded by ending tax breaks for wealthy property investors.

Lines attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP

“The Prime Minister has finally admitted the Greens are right. Labor can freeze rents.

“Only weeks ago the Prime Minister was calling a rent freeze ‘pixie dust’, but now it’s being discussed at the highest levels, just as the Greens have been pushing for.

Labor now has no excuse for not freezing rent increases for 2 years and capping any rent rises thereafter.”

Lines attributable to Greens Housing and Homelessness spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather MP

Now the Prime Minister has finally admitted the National Cabinet can freeze rent increases and cap rents he and the Premiers must act.

Because of months of campaigning and pressure we are one step closer to a national freeze on rent increases and the Greens won’t stop until the National Cabinet signs off on a concrete plan to stop rent increases and give renters real relief. 

There are millions of renters across the country staring down the barrel of another massive rent increase, and every week Labor fails to take action another family will be shoved onto the streets because of an unfair rent hike.

Transcript - National Cabinet press conference

Q: You mentioned strengthening renters before rights across the country? Obviously they're different across the jurisdictions, is the report about reform on national settings?

ALBANESE: There's a range of measures that each of the state and territory jurisdictions have different provisions. And so what we're not seeking to do is to have absolutely uniform because different states will have different circumstances. But there are measures and commitments every state and territory is doing something in this area. So what will occur over coming months is looking at the different programs that are in place. Some of those are around the frequency of any rent increase that can occur in at least one jurisdiction's case, it's also over the amount that can occur of any increase. There are a range of measures that will be considered by state and territory governments to strengthen the system of renters' rights, agreement on that. There will - it's up to states and territories - this is within their power to determine. So I doubt whether you'll have a completely uniform system coming out. What you will have is that exchange and housing ministers working together over coming months.

Earlier this week at the National Press Club, Mr Bandt said:

“Many state governments already limit rent rises to once a year, and if they simply extended that to two years, there would be a two year rent freeze.

It is unacceptable and irresponsible for the Prime Minister to throw his hands up and put the Greens’ rent freeze proposal in the too hard basket when Labor holds almost every seat around the National Cabinet table.

With wall to wall Labor State governments on the mainland, Labor can’t pass the buck on the rental crisis anymore.”