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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 June 2018) . . Page.. 1992 ..

opposition to support that change. But the broad-brush approach that it applies to all residential tenancies in the ACT is a step too far.

We want to see investment in the city; we want people to see Canberra as an opportunity. We also want to see affordable housing here, affordable accommodation and affordable rentals. But all the while the landlords or property owners are required to carry the bulk of the risk, and we are going to see that cost transfer in the weekly rental payment. If we want to encourage cheaper rentals, make it easier for people to invest. Give them a sense of assurance that when they make an investment in the ACT their investment is safe and they are going to be looked after. Encourage that.

There is a supply problem in our rental market. If we discourage investment, we are clearly discouraging people from putting properties on the market for rental. It is that simple. If we do not have sufficient supply the price of the supply increases. Every time the government comes into this place and makes it harder for people to invest by increasing the level of risk to the investment they make in this city, the less likely it is that that investment will be made.

If we want to address housing affordability and if we want to fix this problem we need to be clear about how we go about it. The government have clearly missed the mark—they are trying to have their cake and eat it too. You cannot have both. For that reason the opposition will not be supporting this amendment today.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (11.31): I want to speak briefly to this amendment bill today. These amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act will improve security for our vulnerable tenants and will ensure due consideration is given to the circumstances of tenants before ACAT. I am glad to see more of this work being done to protect renters when it comes to using commercial alternatives to a rental bond.

This work closely aligns with the development of the new Housing ACT strategy. I have had many conversations in the community about improving the security in rental housing, particularly for vulnerable people. And this bill will help in achieving these goals.

With regard to rental bonds, I want to draw members’ attention to the government’s bond loan scheme that is available to help people get into the private rental market. The ACT affordable rental office offers people on low to moderate incomes a low-interest rental bond loan to put towards a private rental bond. Rental bond loans cover up to 90 per cent of an eligible person’s bond. Repayments can start three months after it starts and then are repaid over a 20-month period with an average repayment of around $27.

For the information of members of this place, anybody who might be struggling to get together a bond for a rental property can go to the Community Services Directorate website, type “rental bond loan” into the search bar and the information will come up on how a person can get the information that they need to access a rental bond loan

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