The Greens NSW successfully amended the COVID-19 Emergency Measures Bill in NSW Parliament last night, to enable protections for renters to be part of the emergency response by the relevant Ministers now that Parliament has been adjourned.
Greens NSW MP and Housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP, said today:
“The COVID-19 Bills introduced by the NSW Government yesterday didn't include any measures for renters or tenants - in fact there was nothing that even began to address the housing and homelessness crisis that is just around the corner if we don't act swiftly.”
“This isn’t just a human rights issue: it’s a health issue. You can’t stay home to social distance without a house. You can’t limit your shopping without a fridge. You can’t rest and recover without a bed.
“Yesterday morning, after getting the Bill late Monday night, I started working with the NSW Tenants Union to draft amendments that would address this massive oversight, these amendments were introduced by the Greens and subsequently passed into law.
“The amendments give the power to the relevant ministers in NSW to create regulations to put a moratorium on evictions, prevent people having their lease terminated and make other changes to what current powers landlords and owners have over tenants.
“If this amendment hadn't been made, they would have had to draft legislation, wait until parliament resumed (next scheduled date in September), then have the legislation debated & passed.
“While these amendments give delegated power to the relevant minister to act, they still need to do that. The National Cabinet including the NSW Premier is meeting tonight, and tenancy is on the agenda. They can and should decide tonight to provide security and relief for renters that can be implemented immediately.
“These are extraordinary times, and these are extraordinary powers, powers that can be used for good - right now - to protect residential and commercial tenants from evictions.
“By passing these NSW Greens amendments to protect renters, the Parliament has put the ball in the Liberals court: they have the capacity to stop families being kicked out of their homes in the middle of this crisis,” Ms Leong said.
Jenny Leong 0499 550 996
The Greens amendments to the COVID-19 Emergency Measures Bill are available here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bill/files/3741/c2020-017B.pdf
The relevant Ministers in NSW are
- Premier Gladys Berejiklian, representing NSW at the national Cabinet
- Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation (residential tenancies)
- Damien Tudehope, Minister for Finance and Small Business (commercial)