Greens pressure has so far forced the government to spend an additional $2b on housing and has put renters rights on the national agenda, but Labor’s announcements today largely enshrine the status quo, leaving millions of renters exposed to unlimited rent increases.
Changes announced today are not a significant shift, as rental increases are already limited to once per year in every state and territory except the Northern Territory and Western Australia, with Western Australia announcing a change to limiting rental increases to every twelve months earlier this year. Today’s changes refuse to adopt even the ACT’s model of limiting the amount of rent increases, meaning Labor has endorsed a policy of unlimited rent rises.
80 housing organisations including tenant unions, housing providers and domestic violence services have supported the Greens’ call for limits on rent increases as key to tackling the rental and homelessness crisis.
Comment attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP
“From now on, every unfair rent increase is Labor’s fault.
“Labor has every seat bar one at National Cabinet, and it’s now clear Labor’s policy is for unlimited rent increases.
“Pressure from the Greens has put renters on the national agenda and secured $2b in new funding for public and affordable housing. However, Labor is not spending nearly enough to address the massive public housing shortfall, and with a $20b surplus up his sleeve, I call on the Prime Minister to deliver more at Labor’s national conference.
“80 organisations representing renters and people facing homelessness agree we need to limit rent increases. We need to keep the pressure on Federal Labor and every Premier around the country to make unlimited rent increases illegal.”
Comment attributable to Greens housing and homelessness spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather MP
“Labor has just locked in yearly astronomical rent increases, and tried to handball the heavy lifting on fixing the housing crisis to the same property developers who created the crisis in the first place.
“This is a smoke and mirrors announcement designed to make it look like Labor has done something meaningful for renters, when in fact they have basically enshrined the status quo, leaving renters exposed to astronomical rent increases once a year.
“The Prime Minister couldn’t even get agreement to end no-cause evictions, and disgracefully low minimum standards including no clear timeline for when renters can demand even cold running water shows what this government really thinks of renters.
“Every rent rise from now on is on Labor and the Prime Minister. Labor had the opportunity to cap rent increases and they have refused, which means from here on in every rent increase someone cops is because Labor hasn’t capped rents.
“Unlimited rent increases once a year are still unlimited rent increases.
“Property investors will get $39 billion in tax concessions this year alone, while renters will have to pay an extra $4.9 billion in rent because Labor has decided to lock in unlimited yearly rent increases.
“Labor can talk about supply all they want, but expensive private apartments won’t fix the housing crisis. What we desperately need is billions of dollars of investment in public housing every year.
“It seems like the Prime Minister has announced $3 billion to build penthouse apartments no one can afford, when they should just be spending an extra $3 billion on public and affordable housing.
"The Greens will keep fighting to freeze and cap rent increases, and billions of dollars more for public housing.