Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has got the details wrong on rent controls across the country, telling Parliament - incorrectly - that Territory Ministers weren’t backing the Greens’ push for a 2 year rent freeze followed by caps on rental increases of 2% a year.
In his increasingly desperate resistance to any form of rent caps, which he has previously labelled ‘pixie dust’, the Prime Minister claimed in Question Time that this policy was not supported at the state or territory level, including by ACT Greens Ministers. However, Minister and Leader of the ACT Greens, Shane Rattenbury, has called for rents to be frozen in the ACT, writing to Chief Minister Andrew Barr seeking a two year rent freeze and rent caps thereafter.
Further, the ACT Greens Housing Spokesperson Rebecca Vassorotti MLA was a signatory to a joint letter to federal, state and territory housing ministers ahead of National Cabinet, urging Labor states and territories to work together with the Federal Government on a rent freeze.
The ACT, where the Greens are in government with Labor, currently has controls to assist renters: rent increases are limited to CPI gains plus ten percent. Canberra is the place with the lowest rates of rental stress in the country.
The Greens are calling for Labor to immediately push for a freeze on rent increases through National Cabinet, by offering $1 billion a year in extra funding which states could use to purchase affordable homes right away, with ongoing rent caps after.
Lines attributable to Adam Bandt MP:
“The Prime Minister has got the facts wrong about a rent freeze,” Mr Bandt said.
“The ACT already limits rent increases and now Ministers are pushing for a two year rent freeze, followed by caps on rent increases thereafter.
“With nearly two thirds of renters in financial stress, Labor must limit rent increases when National Cabinet discusses renters rights.
“On the mainland, Labor has every seat at National Cabinet and it is within Labor’s power to stop rents soaring.”
Lines attributable to Max Chandler-Mather, Greens Housing spokesperson:
“The Greens want to see a two year freeze on rent increases followed by ongoing caps limiting rent increases to 2% every two years,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.
“Today we’ve found out that 62% of renters are in financial stress and that is only going to get worse unless the Prime Minister stops playing dumb and pretending the Federal Government can’t coordinate caps and a freeze on rent increases, when it absolutely can.
“Right now Labor supports unlimited rent increases across the country and that is a slap in the face to the millions of renters crying out for protection.
“What does it say about the Federal Labor party that they were happy to coordinate national caps on energy prices but refuse to do the same on caps on rents?”