Rent freeze must be part of the national cost-of-living debate

Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), has backed the federal Green’s two-year rent freeze proposal saying it is an important initiative that should be given serious consideration. Francis Sullivan, CSSA Chair, said the rent freeze proposal is a serious idea that must be part of the national debate around the cost-of-living crisis.

“For too long, governments of all shades have taken their hands of the levers that control the economy, it is now time for a rethink, and for the Federal Government to accept that the free market does not have all the answers,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“This isn’t about socialising the rental market. It is about returning some balance and giving wages a chance to catch up to rental increases.

“Across Australia, we are hearing stories of tenants being given little or no notice of rent increases that are unsustainable and force them out of the homes they have lived in for years.

“This is unfair and cruel. It is forcing Australians into homelessness and is a recipe for social disorder,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The Green’s proposal includes a two-year freeze on rents and then a capped rate increase of 2 percent every two years after the freeze ends.

It also includes expanding tenant rights and national minimum standards for rental properties.

"Given that wages are increasing by around 2 percent while at the same time renters face annual increases of 17.9 percent across the capital cities, it is not unreasonable to expect the government to step in,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“Over the past 12 months rents have gone up seven times faster than wages in capital cities, this is unsustainable and out of control.

“It’s a crisis that is fast becoming a national tragedy,” Mr. Sullivan said.