6 May 2020

Joshua Badge: “At first glance, the government response appears to protect renters, but landlords win at every step. State governments opted for a trickle-down approach, with New South Wales gifting landlords $440m in further tax breaks. Victoria followed suit with a $420m discount on land tax, setting aside a mere $80m for renters themselves. Even then, state government rent relief goes straight to landlords, making the whole scheme a scandalous transfer of public money to private investors. The states’ strategy has been to protect the interests of property owners and pray they pass on the benefits to tenants. … Ours is a society with more empty residences than homeless people. Wealthy households have never been more prosperous, while millions remain impoverished. The solutions are simple. If someone is homeless, give them a home. If they are hungry, then provide them with food. The discussion we should have is not whether we should do this, but how? We should increase welfare payments, ban no-cause evictions, invest in social housing and legislate stronger rights for renters. We could also establish rent controls, nationalise housing and push for a national housing guarantee.”