In Question Time today, the Prime Minister continued to duck and weave when asked if he would work with State and Territories on a national rent freeze. Instead of taking responsibility for the rental crisis, Labor is sitting on its hands.
The Commonwealth has significant responsibility for matters relating to housing, including funding and taxation.
During the pandemic, National Cabinet considered tenancy arrangements, including exploring rent relief (see reporting in the AFR, The Conversation)
Quotes from Greens Leader Adam Bandt:
“At a minimum the Prime Minister could put a rent freeze on the National Cabinet agenda, but instead he makes excuses.
“The Prime Minister’s claim of ‘pixie dust’ is bull dust.
“When electricity prices were rising, he pulled State and Territory leaders together and acted, something the Greens supported in the parliament. When I asked why he won’t do for rents what he did for power bills, he ducked and weaved and made excuses.
“During the pandemic, even Scott Morrison put rent relief on the National Cabinet agenda. The federal government has a big role in housing and can drive change.”
Quotes from Greens Housing and Homelessness spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather
“The Federal Government has twice before introduced national rent controls in coordination with the states, under Menzies and Curtin Governments, while National Cabinet introduced a rental eviction moratorium during the COVID pandemic, so the Prime Minister is either lying or alarmingly misinformed about the role of the Federal Government.
“With renters facing another $10 billion of rent increases this year alone, the Federal Government faces a social crisis of historic proportions unless they finally take action, do their job, and provide renters real relief.
“The Prime Minister may want to wash his hands of the real hardship renters are facing right now, but the Greens won’t stop fighting for the one third of the country that Labor wants to treat like second class citizens.”
Question to Prime Minister from Mr Bandt
When electricity bills were rising, you pulled together all the States and Territories and got Parliaments across the country recalled to deal with it.
With a fully fledged rental crisis gripping millions of people around the country who need help right now - not in the future but right now - will you show the same level of urgency and organise a national rent freeze?