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Greens establish Senate Inquiry into rental crisis ahead of National Cabinet test for Labor

The Greens have secured a Senate Inquiry into renters’ rights and tackling unlimited rent increases. The inquiry will investigate the affordability, supply, and availability of rental housing, with an interim report to feed into the upcoming National Cabinet meeting on renter’s rights.

It is the country’s first ever national inquiry into the rental crisis and will leave Labor with nowhere to hide ahead of the National Cabinet meeting on renters, which the Greens say will influence the fate of the HAFF Bill when debate resumes in October. 

Almost two thirds of renters in this country are experiencing rental stress, where they pay more than 30% of their income toward rents. The Greens are pushing the Prime Minister to co-ordinate the states and territories on a rent freeze and limits on rent increases. After sustained pressure from the Greens got renters rights on the National Cabinet agenda in April.

The inquiry will explore the worsening rental crisis in Australia, with particular reference to:

  1. the experience of renters and people seeking rental housing,
  2. rising rents and rental affordability;
  3. actions that can be taken by governments to reduce rents or limit rent rises;
  4. improvements to renters’ rights, including rent stabilisation, length of leases and no grounds evictions;
  5. factors impacting supply and demand of affordable rentals;
  6. international experience of policies that effectively support renters;
  7. The impact of government programs on the rental sector; and
  8. any other related matter

It will be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report, with an interim report to be presented by 23 September 2023 to aid in the deliberations of the National Cabinet on renters’ rights, and a final report to be presented by 28 November 2023.

With the HAFF to return to the Senate on October 16, the Greens say they are willing to pass the legislation if Labor’s National Cabinet takes action on unlimited rental increases and renters rights. 


Lines attributable to Max Chandler-Mather, Greens spokesperson for housing and homelessness:

"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. This inquiry will ensure that Labor cannot ignore renters any longer.


"The Prime Minister and Labor have a chance to take leadership at National Cabinet and coordinate a freeze and cap on rent increases, and this rental inquiry will help lay the groundwork for that.


"Too often the voices of renters are silenced in the national debate, but for the next few months parliament will be forced to hear from thousands of renters across the country about their experience of unfair rent increases and shocking treatment at the hands of a system that treats renters like second class citizens. 


"Australia is in the middle of a massive rental crisis with 62% of renters are already in financial stress and the RBA predicts it will only get worse, and this rental inquiry is about providing the groundwork for National Cabinet to coordinate national rent caps and renters rights. 


Lines attributable to Senator Janet Rice, Chair of the Community Affairs References Committee and Greens spokesperson for Social Services:

“We are in the middle of the worst housing crisis in generations. Labor don’t seem to grasp the scale of the problem or the actions needed to fix it so millions of renters aren’t left starving.


“This inquiry will give the Senate the opportunity to hear from real people who are being crushed under the weight of record rent increases and skyrocketing grocery prices. 


“The voices of millions of struggling renters will not be ignored, and we hope Labor will show some leadership and take the committee’s evidence to National Cabinet.


“Unless Labor come to the table, the housing crisis will get worse, and they will abandon millions of renters to unlimited rent increases and poverty, and leave those already in poverty in dire situations.”

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