News

Renting Questionnaire Federal Election 2022

11/05/2022

National Association Tenants OrganisationsThe National Association of Tenants' Organisations (NATO) recently wrote to all larger parties (more than 2% on national polls) inviting them to respond to our Federal Election Questionnaire. We invited them to tell us about their position and policies on strengthening residential tenancy rights and increasing the supply of affordable social housing for the more than 2.1 million households across Australia who rent their homes. We will also publish responses from small parties and independents on request.

The below responses to the National Association of Tenants Organisations renting questionnaire are printed without amendment (apart from formatting) or commentary. The purpose of the questionnaire is to encourage discussion of renting issues. 

Greater investment in social housing

 

Question: What will your party do to increase the supply of public and community housing in Australia?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet.


Australian Labor Party

An Albanese Labor Government will establish a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 social and affordable homes and help reduce homelessness across Australia.

Over the first five years it will:

  • Build 20,000 new social housing properties, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness;
  • Build 10,000 affordable homes for the heroes of the pandemic – frontline workers like police, nurses and cleaners that are keeping us safe;
  • Provide $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities, where some of the worst housing standards in the world are endured by our First Nations people;
  • Invest $100 million in crisis and transitional housing for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness; and
  • Invest $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

Labor recognises that tens of thousands of First Nations Australians live in overcrowded and run-down housing – with major impacts on health, economic and social outcomes. In addition to commitment to build and repair social housing in remote Indigenous communities, made through the Housing Australia Future Fund, an Albanese Labor Government will also restore funding for homelands. Labor will:

  • Commit $100 million to start work immediately on urgent housing and essential infrastructure on Northern Territory homelands. This will include improvements to water, power and community facilities, as well as housing upgrades, extensions, and new builds.
  • Negotiate a new remote housing agreement with the Northern Territory that includes homelands when the current agreement expires in mid-2023.

An Albanese Labor Government will establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, to ensure the Commonwealth plays a leadership role in increasing housing supply and improving affordability.

The Council will be advised by experts including from the finance, economics, urban development, residential construction, urban planning and social housing sectors.

The Council will report on the number of new social and affordable homes being built annually and advise on ways to boost the construction of social and affordable housing.


The Greens

The Greens will build one million new publicly-owned, affordable, high-quality, accessible and sustainable homes. Built over 20 years, these homes will clear public housing waiting lists and reduce homelessness, allow first home buyers to buy into a shared equity ownership scheme and provide a public universal-access rental option. This is an investment of $7.5 billion over the forward estimates period and $22.9 billion over the decade. 

The Greens plan also includes a Capital Grants fund to provide State and Territory governments with $1.5 billion each year for three years, and then $2.5 billion divided evenly over the next 7 years, for public housing improvements to make sure existing public housing dwellings are safe, energy efficient and up to standard. 

In addition to this, the Greens will fund a fivefold increase in funding for specialist homelessness services by adding $550m on top of existing funding. This funding will be guaranteed for ten years and indexed to give certainty to service providers. 

We will also boost funding for tenancy advocacy services with a funding of $30m per year.


TNL (The New Liberals)

Social housing has fallen from 6% to 3% of Australian housing in the last 25 years. TNL will return social housing to at least the level of the 1990s, or higher to meet demand.

How? Other parties falsely believe that government spending is constrained by the need for a balanced budget. We know that’s wrong—see https://www.keenforthesenate.com/money-creation/.

Building social housing is a sensible objective for government spending, especially since the market has failed so abjectly.


 

Increase in income support and rent assistance

 

Question: Will your party commit to increased income support including rent assistance during the next term of Government? And if so, how much?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

The cost of renting is through the roof and vacancy rates have plummeted to historic lows. Labor is addressing housing affordability to reduce the financial strains it’s been creating.

An Albanese Labor Government will establish a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 social and affordable homes and help reduce homelessness across Australia. Over the first five years it will:

  • Build 20,000 new social housing properties, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness;
  • Build 10,000 affordable homes for the heroes of the pandemic – frontline workers like police, nurses and cleaners that are keeping us safe;

Labor will also establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council that will report and advise on rental affordability and develop and implement a National Housing and Homelessness Plan that will set out the key short, medium and longer term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to have access to affordable, high quality private rental housing with secure tenure.


The Greens

The Greens’ Liveable Income Guarantee would see all government income support payments raised above the poverty line, mutual obligations abolished, and unfair restrictions on who can access the payment removed, to ensure that everyone has the means to cover their basic essential needs. We will increase all income support payments to $88 per day, ensuring that people receive an income support payment above the poverty line. The Greens will also work towards increasing assistance for people on low incomes who are renting, including setting a national standard of renters’ rights.


TNL (The New Liberals)

Yes, TNL will double social security payments. They have been allowed to fall by Labor and Liberal governments, with their false belief that they should run a government surplus.

Taxes also don’t finance government spending but determine whose bank accounts are emptied to remove excess government money creation from the economy. There’s no point in taking that money from low-income earners. TNL will change the tax system to reduce the tax paid by low-income households.

TNL will provide an additional income to those with low debt – mostly tenants - through Reset Bonds (which we explain in Q5 - Reduced speculation in the housing market - below). See also https://www.keenforthesenate.com/affordable-housing/ and the TNL Tax Policy at https://tnl.net.au/policies/


 

Greater stability and security for people who rent their homes

 

Question: Do you support stronger security of tenure provisions in residential tenancy law? If elected to Government, what action could your party take to encourage states and territories to improve security of tenure for renters?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan, that Labor committed to in March 2021, will be developed with the support and assistance of key stakeholders including states and territories, local government, not for profit organisations, industry bodies, superannuation funds and other experts in housing, finance, and urban development.

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set out the key short, medium and longer term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to have access to affordable, high quality private rental housing with secure tenure.


The Greens

Yes, absolutely. This is why the Greens have been pushing for a national standard of renters’ rights. We will push the next Government to take renters’ rights seriously. The Greens will strengthen renters’ rights with nationally consistent standards to prohibit no-grounds evictions, cap rent increases, ensure appropriate tenancy protections for victim-survivors of domestic violence in all states and territories, and boost funding for tenancy advocacy services with $30m per year.


TNL (The New Liberals)

TNL supports stronger security of tenure.

Housing should not be a speculative asset class. TNL will encourage landlords to offer longer term leases of at least 3 years and limit no fault evictions.

How? No tax breaks (negative gearing) for speculator-landlords offering short term leases.

https://tnl.net.au/policies/ see Social Security policy


 

Energy efficient, healthy homes for renters

 

Question: How will your party ensure that minimum energy efficiency standards are regulated for rental properties in every state and territory?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan, that Labor committed to in March 2021, will be developed with the support and assistance of key stakeholders including states and territories, local government, not for profit organisations, industry bodies, superannuation funds and other experts in housing, finance, and urban development.

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set out the key short, medium and longer term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to have access to affordable, high quality private rental housing with secure tenure.


The Greens

The Greens support the creation and enforcement of mandatory energy efficiency standards. We want a national system of energy efficiency targets and stringent Minimum Energy Performance Standards that are consistent with, or exceed, world's best practice for products, buildings and infrastructure. At the State level, Greens have been pushing to implement mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for rental dwellings, including public and community housing. In addition to this, our $7.5b Capital Grants Fund for States and Territories to fund public housing improvements will also go towards making existing dwellings energy efficient.


TNL (The New Liberals)

TNL has the strongest climate change policies of any party, targeting net zero by 2030.

The government has failed to incentivise landlords to ensure rental properties are energy efficient.

TNL will require landlords disclose a property’s energy rating as part of property advertising, with legislated minimum standards.

TNL will incentivise landlords to invest in energy efficiency for rental properties. For example, through rebates for solar panels, lighting, heating and insulation, specifically targeted at rental properties. See https://www.keenforthesenate.com/climate-change/ and https://tnl.net.au/policies/ under Action on Climate Change.


 

Reduced speculation in the housing market

 

Question: What will your party commit to doing in the next term of Government to put downward pressure on property prices and ease property speculation?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

An Albanese Labor Government will establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, to ensure the Commonwealth plays a leadership role in increasing housing supply and improving affordability.

The Council will be advised by experts including from the finance, economics, urban development, residential construction, urban planning and social housing sectors. 
 
Fixing land supply and planning will improve housing affordability and boost economic growth – but the only way to achieve this is by Commonwealth Government, the State and Territories and local governments all working together.

The Council will set targets for land supply, in consultation with States and Territories. It will also collect and make public nationally consistent data on housing supply, demand and affordability.

The Council will also have a key role in developing Labor’s National Housing and Homelessness Plan – something the Morrison Government has refused to do.


The Greens

The Greens would wind-back unfair tax breaks that have rigged the housing market in favour of investors. The Greens would abolish the capital gains tax discount; and grandfather and restrict negative gearing. Those who currently own investment properties could keep negatively gearing one investment property. Negative gearing on multiple properties would be phased out over five years and our policy would allow no new negative gearing. 

The Greens would also retain responsible lending laws, and reform prudential regulation to place stricter limits on the amount that banks can lend against their own capital.


TNL (The New Liberals)

The major parties have failed on affordable housing. Tax breaks to investors and hand-outs to first home buyers, the key policies since Bob Hawke, have reduced home ownership and made houses too expensive, turning property into a speculative investment class.

In 1998 43% of Australians owned their homes outright, today it’s 30%. 30% had mortgages then, now it’s 37%. 18% were renters then, now it’s 27%. And household debt is off the charts at 120% of GDP—the second-highest level on the planet, and twice the level of government debt.

TNL will protect the homeowners’ equity while winding back mortgage debt and reducing house prices via two policies: a “Monetary Reset” and “The PILL: Property Income Limited Leverage”.

Under the Monetary Reset, TNL will replace bank-credit-backed money with fiat-backed money by an equal per capita monetary grant to all Australians—owners, mortgagees, and renters alike. Mortgagees will be required to pay their debt down. Homeowners and renters will receive the cash injection as a ‘Reset Bond’ and will receive the bond income paid tax free. The Bonds could also be used as a housing deposit by renters.

The PILL will limit bank lending - the root cause of the problem we face in Australia today – to a reasonable multiple of the rental income value of the property (not income of the buyer). It will start at the current mortgage to average annual rent ratio of 20:1 and be dropped over time to 10:1.

Prof Steve Keen, TNL’s lead Senate candidate for NSW, is a world-renowned Australian economist who has devoted his life work in the areas of climate change and understanding what causes bubbles, like the Australian housing market. Steve wrote TNL’s housing policy and Steve wants a Senate seat to voice this plan to make housing more affordable. See https://www.keenforthesenate.com/affordable-housing/ and

https://tnl.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/TheNewLiberalsHousingPolicy.pdf


 

Protecting renters' personal information

 

Question: What action will your party take to ensure national privacy laws are up to date and appropriate for the modern renting sector?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan, that Labor committed to in March 2021, will be developed with the support and assistance of key stakeholders including states and territories, local government, not for profit organisations, industry bodies, superannuation funds and other experts in housing, finance, and urban development.

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set out the key short, medium and longer term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to have access to affordable, high quality private rental housing with secure tenure.


The Greens

The Greens will use our national standard for renters’ rights to ensure appropriate and consistent privacy protections are in place for renters across the country.


TNL (The New Liberals)

TNL is concerned about the collection, use and storage of tenants’ personal and credit information. When applying for a lease, real estate agents and their service providers require a significant amount of information. And more information about tenants -good and bad - is created during the tenancy.

TNL is concerned that existing privacy laws are not up to scratch to protect tenants.

TNL will advocate a cross functional review of privacy law to review the adequacy of protections for tenants. Stakeholders to include the Tenants Union, Privacy Commissioner, and Law Reform Commissioner. Tenants’ information should be afforded at least the same protections as legislated today for banks, credit reporting agencies and health providers. And there must be strong checks and balances on information created by agents about renters.


 

Ensure renters' voices are heard and renters can recieve high quality advice and assistance 

 

Question: What will your party do to ensure renters’ voices are heard in the national conversation, and can receive high quality advice and assistance when facing legal needs?

 


Liberal and National Party (the Coalition)

No response received yet. 


Australian Labor Party

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan, that Labor committed to in March 2021, will be developed with the support and assistance of key stakeholders including states and territories, local government, not for profit organisations, industry bodies, superannuation funds and other experts in housing, finance, and urban development.

The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set out the key short, medium and longer term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to have access to affordable, high quality private rental housing with secure tenure.


The Greens

The Greens recognise that access to legal assistance is critical to enforcing and protecting renters’ rights. We will increase funding for tenancy advocacy services with $30m per year to ensure renters have appropriate advice and advocacy. 

In addition to this, the Greens will double current National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) funding, investing an additional $490 million each year. We also recognise the significant pressures resulting from the pandemic and historic under-resourcing, and will provide an additional $310 million each year under the current term of the NLAP to clear existing backlogs. This will mean Legal Aid Commissions (LACs), Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) and properly funded to assist people in need of legal assistance.


TNL (The New Liberals)

TNL is concerned about the level of funding for proper community legal aid and advisory centres and unions, like the Tenants Union, under the current State and Federal governments. At nearly 30% of households, renters have a growing and important voice.

TNL will increase Federal government funding to States and Territories to ensure adequate free legal aid and advisory services for all Australians including renters.

Victor Kline, TNL’s leader, who is running in North Sydney, formed the Refugee Law Project to provide free legal services to asylum seekers. Victor understands the importance and needs of legal aid firsthand.


 

 

 

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