Tasmania's housing needs under spotlight at National Cabinet

Ahead of tomorrow’s National Cabinet meeting (16 August), TasCOSS and the broader COSS Network* call on state and federal governments to step-up and take significant action to address the rental crisis that is hitting many Tasmanians hard.

Tasmanian rents went up by 2.5% last quarter, and have increased by 51.4% over the past five years. To make matters worse, there is simply not enough homes at the appropriate price point for Tasmanian families seeking to enter the rental market. Hobart’s rental vacancy rate sits at 1.8%, where as a healthy vacancy rate is around 2.5%-3%, a marker we have consistently fallen well short of as a state for a decade (the last time it was above 2.5% was June 2013).

The success of the National Cabinet should be judged by if and/or how much it delivers on:

  • Significant new and timely investments in public and social housing;
  • Capping rent increases to CPI to prevent excessive rent rises;
  • Increasing the rate of JobSeeker to enable Tasmanians to better meet rising rental costs, and benchmarking Commonwealth Rent Assistance to actual rents paid;
  • Banning no-grounds evictions (during leases and via the non-renewal of leases); and
  • Implementing minimum energy efficiency standards to improve wellbeing and reduce energy costs for renters.

Low rental stock drives up prices, compounds insecurity for those in precarious rentals and contributes to growing inequality, with more Tasmanians in housing stress and missing out on the most basic human right of shelter.   

The Governments housing pledge of 10,000 new dwellings by 2032 is of course most welcome, but the challenge now is to deliver these homes as quickly as possible, while also offering more security of tenure for Tasmanians in the highly pressured rental market.

In a rich society, we should not accept that Tasmanians are forced to live in unfit, cold, unsafe and unaffordable housing. We call on National Cabinet to act as a matter of urgency and commit to better supporting Tasmanians with access to safe, affordable and stable housing. 

* The COSS Network includes ACOSS and eight state and territory bodies, namely ACTCOSS, NCOSS, NTCOSS, QCOSS, SACOSS, TasCOSS, VCOSS and WACOSS. 

For more information, please see the COSS Network open letter to National Cabinet regarding the extent of the rental crisis in Australia or ACOSS’s media release.