Tenant Advocates – Nurture and Grow


Tenant Advocates at the 2023 TAAS Conference in Birpai Country

The annual Tenants Advice & Advocacy Services (TAAS) Conference took place last month in Birpai Country, Port Macquarie. The theme of the conference was 'Nurture and Grow' – to evoke the approach we seek to take with clients, renters' rights and knowledge, and our own skills. Over 100 Tenant Advocates from across NSW gathered to learn and connect. The conference is organised by the Tenants' Union of NSW, and this was the largest face-to-face conference we have ever delivered.

Across NSW, TAASs provide information, advice and advocacy to tens of thousands of renters each year. There are 15 generalist TAASs, 4 specialist TAASs for Aboriginal tenants, and a specialist resourcing body for the Aboriginal TAASs. Each is run by a local non-government organisation. They are funded by NSW Fair Trading under the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program, which uses a small portion of the money generated by the $1.9bn of renter's funds held in the Rental Bond Board. The Tenants' Union is the main resourcing body for the network of TAASs.

The 2023 TAAS Conference was a great success, with a range of engaging topics and speakers. We were pleased to welcome Trina Jones, the NSW Rental Commissioner, who spoke about renting priorities, her vision, and how we can work together to create a better future for the renters of NSW. Other speakers addressed issues such as the housing crisis, ending 'no grounds' evictions, boarding house issues, hoarding, fixed-method site fee increases in land lease communities, data tools, and more.

The Network of Aboriginal TAASs plays a crucial role within the broader TAAS Network – educating us and defending the rights of Aboriginal renters across all the many unceded Aboriginal Countries.

This year we met in Birpai Country, and conference participants were privileged to listen to Uncle Bill O’Brien, a local Elder and a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia. Uncle Bill led us to Shelly Beach in Sea Acres National Park and introduced us to local bush tucker and bush medicine in the rainforest (pictured).

Thank you very much to everyone who attended and participated, and to all who made the conference possible in various different ways!



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