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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 13 February 2020) . . Page.. 237 ..

I thank members for bringing various nuances and extra stories to the discussion today. I look forward to this work being evolved. I am pleased to support Ms Berry’s amendment, and I thank members for their support.

Amendment agreed to.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 26 September 2019, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.48): It is unsurprising that we are here debating changes to residential tenancies again. It is unsurprising, but I do not know that it is really helpful to tenants. What dismays me the most, as someone who rented in Canberra for the best part of 20 years, is that this Labor-Greens government continually sets out to convince renters that they are the government’s friends. Those opposite spend so much time moving the goalposts and tinkering with this market.

They have frightened off hundreds of landlords and, in trying to appear as the friend of renters, Labor and the Greens have actually become enemy number one for that cohort. You are not helping. At a time when rental prices in Canberra are the highest in the country and continuing to rise, this government is tinkering around the edges rather than addressing the biggest problem that renters face.

The balance of this bill is minor and uncontroversial, but we, the Canberra Liberals, maintain that this is not the time to be making these changes. There are days when I think that the Labor-Greens machine is blissfully unaware that its actions are driving the rental prices higher. Some days I think that Labor and the Greens know not what they do but, sadly, I think that is not the case. They are fully aware of what they are doing. They understand that changes like these will see more investors leave, that this will further narrow the rental market, that it will push families and individuals into hardship, into poverty or even into homelessness. But they do not care.

They do not care. Former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope is correct. At the end of the day, they do not care as long as the progressive optics are right. As long as they can convince enough people that they do care, it does not matter if they actually do not. They do not give two hoots about the people who used to be their political base, as long as they can hoodwink renters into believing that they care about them. As long as they can hang onto their votes in this election year, who cares if they are actually making their lives harder?

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