House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Members

Brisbane Electorate: Housing

1:38 pm

Photo of Stephen BatesStephen Bates (Brisbane, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Last month, hundreds of renters in Fortitude Valley were told to leave their homes in the Utopia apartments, which are being rebranded as 'Kooii'. Landlords are evicting their tenants to convert existing rentals them into short-term accommodation. These predatory landlords are allowed to put profits over their tenants' rights to a secure home, because the government continues to prioritise housing as an investment and not a human right. Meanwhile, renters are locked out of buying their first home and are struggling to keep up with increasing bills. I hear from community members who have been pushed out of their home by unaffordable rent increases and are forced to attend countless inspections with dozens of other applicants.

Over 50 per cent of my electorate are renters—nearly 60 per cent now—but there is less than one per cent of properties available to rent. At the same time, new housing construction is set to fall to its lowest point in over a decade. The loss of rentals in the Utopia building is another blow to tenants trying to find a safe place to live. The government's housing bill does nothing for renters. It does nothing to stem the housing crisis and it does nothing for the evicted tenants in the Utopia apartments. The Greens will keep fighting for a national rent freeze, and we will keep fighting for a doubling in Commonwealth rent assistance. We will keep fighting for renters, and I will keep fighting for you.