Page 534 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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meet with some innovative policymakers to assist me in constructing policy in what is a very important space. While I was doing that, Mr Pettersson was lying in his bed at home, scrolling through TikTok. And this is how we came to be here today.

I can I tell you that the word that comes to mind here for Mr Pettersson—and I cannot get away from it—is contempt. The motion shows contempt for every Canberran in rental stress, for everyone who cannot get into a home. It is very clear that there has not been a great deal of thought that has gone into this.

I would draw Mr Pettersson’s attention to the comments on that original TikTok of Mr Cashman’s. About 10 comments down, there is a contribution from a user known as “It’s Gonna Be OK” and he says, in regard to trying to get landlords to give references, “That would be really nice and fair, but in Berlin you would end up just living under a bridge with that attitude. The housing crisis is real.” “Feisty Bree” responds by saying, “Same with California.” “Aquatic14” says, “Same with Canada.” “And Verbs are Good” says, “Same in Australia and New Zealand.”

Ultimately, in his speech, Mr Davis has pretty much intimated the same thing, because he spoke about a process where the letting agent has to go through 180 applications and the process whereby they will whittle them down to the small number that will get shown to the landlord.

Does anyone believe that in the current market they might strike out the ones that have asked for the landlord reference? I think they probably would. In answer to Mr Davis’s question as to which property you would go to, the one where there is a one star or a five star, I can tell you, based on the feedback that is coming to me from people who are desperately trying to get into the market, that they would go with the one that they thought they had more chance of getting. A lot of them would actually choose to go to the one star. That is not right; that is rubbish, and that should not be the case, but at the moment the reality of our housing situation here is that that is the case.

I cannot see what positive effect this is going to cause right now. That is not to say we are absolutely opposed to the idea; it is just that in this current time and place, seriously, is this all you have got?

I jokingly said to Mr Pettersson yesterday that I had consulted with Tom Cashman, and he thought I was serious. I did not. I did consult with the Real Estate Institute, various real estate agents and landlords and some advocacy groups, and they were speechless. They could not believe that we were going to waste valuable time in this place to debate such a motion.

One of them spoke about the stunning exodus of investors from the market in recent years and recent months, and I know Mr Davis touched on this. Ultimately, we arrive at different conclusions as to motivations and where that is heading, but there is no doubt that there has been an exodus, and much of it is because of the massive increase in prices.

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