Executive Officer's message 2017-2018

Julie Foreman

In a renting system with a complex policy and legal context, the Tenants’ Union of New South Wales is making a difference.

Tenants and their advocates are coming together more than ever before in campaigns such as Make Renting Fair. Political parties are changing their policy platforms on private renting, thousands have supported action for law reform by attending gatherings, participating in surveys, sharing their stories or writing letters. Over 100 organisations have endorsed the call to end unfair evictions. The Tenants’ Union’s leadership and contribution to this movement is set out in this report.

We continue to work for positive outcomes for social housing tenants and to oppose policies which are unfair or stigmatise tenants.

Our legal team are making a difference with their public interest litigation, testing anti-social behaviour amendments and unfair terminations by social housing providers. We have prevented land lease park operators profiteering from electricity charges and strengthened residents’ rights of tenure and compensation.

We continue to provide vital support to tenants through training, resources and advice. Over 1,500 people participated in our education and information events. Over 3,000 individuals received advice, information or referral. We had over 850,000 unique sessions on our web resources. We launched and upgraded our Rent Tracker tool providing tenants with up to date data to challenge unfair rent increases.

The launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan in September 2017 has strengthened our commitment to our vision for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in NSW to have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. And it has challenged us to ensure reconciliation is built into all aspects of our work.

These achievements are only possible because of our broader partnerships and dedicated Tenants’ Union team. It truly is a privilege to work with the staff, board and volunteers at the Tenants’ Union. Their commitment, hard work and expertise forges a wonderful collaboration.

After many years in tenancy advocacy and policy Ned Cutcher left this year to take up a senior position with Shelter NSW. Ned steered the policy work of the Tenants’ Union through a significant period of legal reform. We thank him for his clear articulation of the need for change along with his skills of persuasion and strategic advice.

We say special thanks to Aimee Bull-McMahon, Hayley Stone, Olivia Nielsen-Gurung and Sarah Nielsen who assisted us with contract and locum positions this year. They made highly valuable contributions to the team.

The year ahead looks like one full of changes, challenges and opportunities for renters in NSW. We are up for it and we hope you will join us!

Julie Foreman
Executive Officer


> Tenants' Union Annual Report 2017-2018 Contents