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MEDIA COMMENT: Greens concerned that rental reform will establish practice of ‘rent auctions’ in NSW

Commenting on the rental reforms introduced to NSW Parliament today, Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and Greens spokesperson for Housing and Renters said: “The Greens, alongside renters across the state, welcome that the new Labor government is prioritising rental fairness reforms in the first week of Parliament. "Renters are bearing the brunt of the housing and cost of living crisis, we welcome portable bonds as a simple and practical way to ease the financial stress renters’ face moving house. “But when it comes to the changes proposed  to end “secret” rent bidding we hold serious concerns that this will have significant unintended consequences, and will  entrench rental auctions instead of stamping out rent bidding.  "When it comes to rent bidding, it shouldn't matter whether it’s solicited or unsolicited, secret or out in the open, the practice itself is driving up the cost of rent and needs to be banned outright. “Renters are already struggling with the soaring cost of rent and a brutally competitive market. The last thing we should be doing is entrenching a system of renting to the highest bidder.  “We look forward to working with tenants advocates, renters and the government to ensure this Bill does what it is intended to do - and protects renters from the harms of rent bidding. “The Greens have also today given notice of our emergency rent freeze bill. We want to press pause on skyrocketing, unchecked rent increases, and work constructively with the incoming government to fix the rental crisis.”

Greens NSW portfolios for new Parliament

With more Greens MP’s in our party room, a new government, and a new parliamentary term about to kick off, there have been some changes to our portfolio responsibilities.  We’re looking forward to continuing our ongoing work in the Housing, Renters Rights’ and Homelessness, Industrial Relations, Anti-Racism and Multiculturalism, and Women’s portfolios.  After 8 years of leading the Greens NSW LGBTIQA+ work, we are excited to announce that Amanda Cohn will be taking up this portfolio to continue the Greens long and proud work for rainbow rights.  We’re thrilled to be expanding the Human Rights portfolio to include anti-discrimination, where there is so much work to be done and continues our close work with the Rainbow community on much needed protections and reforms.  We can’t wait to get stuck in! You can see the full list of Greens NSW MP’s portfolios below.

MEDIA RELEASE: Redevelopment of Elizabeth Street, Redfern will be a sell off of public land for private profit

Today’s announcement from the NSW Liberal National Government to redevelop empty land across from Redfern Oval, that until 2013 was 100% public housing, will see more public land flogged off for private profit. The plans announced today propose to build 300 new apartments at the site, of which none appears to be public housing, only one third would be for community housing and the vast majority for private development.

Greens call to end to rent bidding immediately, with genuine protections for renters

Rent bidding must be banned alongside genuine protections for renters including ending no grounds evictions, freezing and controlling rents, and banning intrusive rental applications.  Commenting on reports today that the NSW Fair Trading Minister is looking into reform that would ban rent bidding,  Greens spokesperson for Housing and Renters and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP said:“Rent bidding should absolutely be banned, but we don’t need an investigation to tell us what we already know – dodgy agents and landlords are exploiting and profiting from the rental crisis.  “Conversations with people on the street, and endless stories in the news, show us just how bad the power imbalance between renters and their real estate agent or landlords has gotten. “This is not a new problem and the Liberal Nationals have had 11 years in power to fix the rental crisis, instead they have ignored the renters in their communities and prioritised the interests of investors, real estate agents, and landlords. “The Greens welcome the government’s focus on banning rent bidding, but let’s not hide under the cover of an investigation when we know it’s a problem right now.  “Every single day renters are being hit with massive rent increases they’re too fearful to negotiate or treading on eggshells to ask for basic repairs because of the threat of being evicted.  “At a time when more people are renting than ever before, and for longer, we need to fix the conditions that have made chronic insecurity part and parcel of renting. “The Greens had a bill that would have addressed the crisis faced by renters, but Labor and Liberal shamefully teamed up to block it.  “Rent bidding must be banned alongside genuine protections for renters including ending no grounds evictions, freezing and controlling rents, and banning intrusive rental applications.”

MEDIA RELEASE: Greens call for urgent action to get rents under control

The rental crisis will not get better without a freeze on rents and an end to unfair, no grounds evictions. Data released today in the Annual Rental Affordability Index shows that rental affordability is worse than ever before, and people are struggling to make ends meet between the soaring cost of rent, food and electricity.  Greens spokesperson for Housing and Renters, and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP said: “Politicians cannot continue to sit on their hands and ignore the renters in their community who are being forced to make the difficult choice between rent they can’t afford or eviction.  “The rental crisis isn’t going to get better until we freeze rents and get them under control, end unfair no grounds evictions, and stop the special treatment of landlords and investors profiting from the housing crisis.  “Renting in Sydney is now considered “critically unaffordable” and it’s snowballing into regional communities, as more and more people are driven out of the city and into the regions.  “No one should have to choose between paying their rent, putting food on the table, paying their bills on time, or getting Christmas presents for their families.  “Just weeks ago, the Greens pushed to end no grounds evictions and give renters security by Christmas but it was shamefully blocked by the Liberal Government and NSW Labor.  “Leaving renters to struggle with astronomically high rents and minimal protections is a political choice, and it’s time for politicians to work together to genuinely fix the rental crisis ,” Ms Leong said.

MEDIA RELEASE: Nothing snug about intrusive third party rental services exploiting renters

The Greens are calling on the NSW Government to take immediate action on the pervasive use of third party rental services.  Greens MP and Housing Spokesperson Jenny Leong said: “Renters need urgent protections from third party services who are preying on and profiting off the housing crisis.  “Reports today that third party rental services could be actively facilitating rent bidding, and contributing to the soaring cost of rent, are deeply disturbing. “And we know from the countless stories from renters in our community that these third party services regularly try to sell additional, and unnecessary, services like background checks to profit off renters desperation. “Alarm bells should be ringing that these third party services have an immense amount of power, and an immense amount of personal information.  “Too often renters are given no choice but to hand over huge amounts of personal information, dating back years, to these services just to be considered for a rental property. “Renting in NSW is stressful enough, without the added - and very legitimate – fears around personal information that recent high profile data breaches have exposed. “The NSW Government needs to step in and take immediate action to review, regulate and provide much needed oversight to the pervasive use of third party rental services. “We need to ban rent bidding, stop intrusive rental applications, and massively strengthen renters' data protections.”

MEDIA RELEASE: Greens condemn official approval of Waterloo public housing demolition

Today’s rezoning approval officially rubber stamps the destruction of the Waterloo South public housing estate and will force hundreds of Waterloo residents out of their home.  Member for Newtown and Greens Housing Spokesperson Jenny Leong said:“Today’s approval rubber stamps the unacceptable destruction of public housing in Waterloo and will force hundreds of people out of their home and the community they’ve lived in for years.   “Like many public housing estates, Waterloo has been neglected by successive governments who have underfunded maintenance and let our public housing deteriorate to justify the widescale sell off of public land.“The Waterloo community has resisted this redevelopment since it was shamefully first announced just before Christmas in 2015.  “Since then the housing crisis has only gotten worse and the chronic lack of public and affordable housing in Sydney and throughout NSW has intensified.  “This could have been a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the housing and inequality crisis and genuinely invest in a massive increase of public housing in the inner city  “Disgracefully this rezoning will see a huge amount of public land sold off and turned over to the private housing market for private profit, for a measly increase in the number of social housing units.  “Right now there are more than 100,000 people on the public housing waiting list, some of whom have been waiting for over a decade. This rezoning will do nothing to meet their immediate need for safe and secure housing.  “This destruction isn't inevitable. NSW Labor must commit to stopping the demolition and co-designing a renewal strategy with the community that keeps people in their homes and ensures the site remains 100% public housing - not a plaything for private developers.“The Greens stand in solidarity with all Waterloo residents now facing forced relocations. We will always defend public housing and everyone’s right to a safe, secure and affordable home.,” Ms Leong said.

MEDIA RELEASE: NSW Labor team up with Liberal National Government to block no grounds evictions

Just days after committing to ending no grounds evictions, NSW Labor have teamed up with the Liberal National Government to block the Greens bill to end no grounds evictions. Greens and Independent MP’s voted in NSW Parliament this afternoon for the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Prohibiting No Grounds Evictions) Bill 2022 to be urgently brought on for debate and voted on before the end of the year.  Greens spokesperson for Renters Rights and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP said:   “NSW Labor are telling renters one thing and doing another by refusing to support a push in Parliament that could end no grounds evictions by Christmas.   “Labor’s election announcement is cold comfort for renters in this state who will spend the next six months in chronic housing insecurity waiting on an election promise that may never be delivered. “Every month we delay means thousands more renters will face rent hikes they’re too scared to negotiate, evictions because they’re asking for repairs, or be forced to move out of their home for no reason. “Ending no grounds evictions is not controversial. We know from housing experts and tenant advocates that it is a simple and  long overdue reform, and the reality is renters simply cannot afford to wait for a potential NSW Labor Government for desperately needed housing security. “When it comes to addressing the cost of living crisis, election promises won’t pay the bills. Ending no grounds evictions is an immediate thing that would relieve the pressure on skyrocketing rents. “The Greens back renters and will vote for renters rights every MP, every vote, every time.”

October Parliament Wrap

We’ve just finished a very busy two weeks of Parliament - and we’ve only got a few more weeks of Parliament sitting for the year - so I wanted to share with you all the things we've been up to. Renters’ rights are at the top of our agenda, and this sitting we introduced our bill to finally put an end to unfair, no grounds evictions. Right now, too many renters don’t know where they’ll be living from year to year, or even month to month, because at the end of their lease they can be evicted for no reason even if they’ve met all of their responsibilities and paid all of their rent on time. It is seriously stressful, seriously costly, and driving the out of control cost of rent. Our bill would set out the reasonable grounds that an eviction could occur, and would make a massive practical difference to the two million renters in NSW.  We also co-hosted a briefing for MPs to hear about the Healthy Homes for Renters campaign, with Minister Dominello, Opposition Energy spokesperson Jihad Dihab MP and Independent Alex Greenwich MP. Speakers from Better Renting, Sweltering Cities and the Tenants Union outlined how renters are shivering in winter, sweltering summer, and too stressed to ask for basic repairs or negotiate rent costs because of the threat of being evicted. There’s so much we need to do to strengthen renters’ rights, which is why we want to hear from you - or anyone you know who has been hit with a rent hike or unfair eviction - so we can keep up the pressure on politicians.  Share your story This week the Liberal/National Government moved to rush through two significant pieces of legislation - without proper consultation or consideration of concerns by experts. The bill to criminalise coercive control passed the Lower House, despite the women’s safety and family violence sector and victim-survivors unanimously expressing their serious concerns. Criminalising coercive control is a hugely important, and hugely consequential, reform. But it has to be done right or it has the potential to harm the very people that it was designed to protect.  Domestic violence victim-survivors, frontline workers and experts have been urging the government to slow down and consult properly, rather than trying to ram it through Parliament in the eleventh hour before the election. And Abigail Boyd, my Greens colleague in the Upper House, has secured an inquiry into the legislation that will hopefully achieve just that. Watch my contribution to the debate here The Liberal/National Government also rammed through their bill to introduce land tax with the expectation that it would just be voted through within the week in the dying days of this parliamentary term. While the Greens support a widespread, planned transition from stamp duty to land tax, this is not a blanket support that means we’ll back in anything dressed up as an attempt to transition us from stamp duty to land tax. The government’s proposal does not genuinely ensure a transition from stamp duty to land tax, it does not apply to the big wealthy investors, and it does not even keep pace with land values. Instead it is a half-baked reform to allow first home buyers to pay their stamp duty in instalments. The Greens have again secured an inquiry into this proposed reform, and will work to strengthen it before it becomes law.  Watch my contribution to the debate here It was shameful to see Labor and the Liberal/National Government teaming up to back online gambling corporations and oppose a ban on gambling advertisements.  The Greens and Independent MPs were the only people in Parliament to vote to reduce the harm gambling causes to our communities. Both the Coalition and NSW Labor have a history of accepting donations from organisations with links to gambling -  remember who sits in the pockets of the gambling industry! Watch my speech here When reports emerged that the NSW Government refused UN inspectors access to NSW prisons, we took it straight to the floor of Parliament and asked the Premier: what is the NSW Liberal/National Government hiding in NSW prisons that they so desperately do not want the United Nations to see? NSW is the only jurisdiction in Australia blocking the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment access to prisons.   Given the failures of the NSW Government to implement the full recommendations from the Royal Commission's Deaths in Custody report and its track record of mistreating people in prison, it is deeply disturbing that they think they are above the scrutiny of the UN torture watchdog. Watch my Question to the Premier here But that’s not all. We also acknowledged the protest movement in Iran taking to the streets to demand for a life free from the patriarchy and oppression, co-hosted an event with the Parliamentary Friends of Co-Operatives, attended Homelessness NSW’s Ending Homelessness Together launch, and stood with taxi drivers who were protesting outside Parliament for fair compensation. Remember, we can always raise issues that are concerning our community in Parliament – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything we can do!

MEDIA RELEASE: Greens question NSW Government's refusal to allow UN access to prisons

The NSW Liberal National Government has come under fire in questions from Greens MP’s Jenny Leong and Sue Higginson for their refusal to allow UN inspectors access to NSW prisons. NSW is the only jurisdiction in Australia blocking the United Nations The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment access to prisons.   NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Natasha Maclaren-Jones obfuscated the questions put to them in Question Time, demonstrating a disturbing avoidance of scrutiny and accountability.

Redfern North Eveleigh Paint Shop Rezoning Proposal Submission

After hearing the concerns of local residents and organisations, the Greens do not support the Department of Planning and Environment's proposal to privatise public land in Redfern and North Eveleigh through the Paint Shop Sub-Precinct rezoning. We share the community's concerns that no clear justifications have been presented for creating such a large business and commercial zone on the site, and are opposed to the proposed low percentage of affordable housing and the complete lack of any mandated social housing. In our submission, we highlight issues including the prioritisation of commercial development and private profit over housing for the community, lack of community consultation, and the particular importance of meaningful consultation with First Nations individuals and organisations, for whom Redfern has long been a significant historical and cultural site. Read our full submission to the Department of Planning and Environment here.

MEDIA RELEASE: NSW renters need a rent freeze

Greens NSW MP Jenny Leong has backed federal Greens calls and urged the NSW Government to implement an emergency rent freeze to combat skyrocketing rent costs and the growing housing unaffordability crisis. 

Greens support latest strike action by USyd staff

Jenny Leong MP last week joined her Greens colleague Senator Mehreen Faruqi on the picket line at the University of Sydney in solidarity with staff and NTEU members striking for secure jobs and improved work conditions. The strike marked the fourth time NTEU members at the university have taken industrial action since May this year. Dr Nick Riemer, President of USyd's NTEU branch, described the strike as "the biggest yet". Staff are calling for a pay rise above inflation, an end to casualisation, improved job security, increased protections against overwork, and preservation of academic staff's right to conduct research. Jenny supports all of these demands and condemns recent decisions by USyd management that have cut staff wages, worsened their work conditions, and harmed the quality of education students receive -- all while the university continues to reap massive profits. The Greens will always support the right to strike and stand in solidarity with USyd staff walking off the job for job security, respect at work, workload protections, and in defence of high quality higher education.

Joint Statement on land acquisition process requires urgent review and retrospective compensation

The Legislative Council's Transport Committee today handed down its long-awaited report on the State's acquisition of land in relation to major transport projects. The Committee has found that NSW residents have been on the receiving end of a systemic process of undervaluation, bad faith negotiations and time delays by government acquiring authorities, in service of the government’s intensive transport infrastructure pipeline.  

MEDIA RELEASE: Broderick Report exposes toxic, unsafe, and sexist culture at NSW Parliamentary workplaces

Greens MP Jenny Leong has commented on the release of the Broderick report into bullying, harassment, and sexual misconduct at NSW Parliament.  

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