REIA hits out at Greens over rental inquiry fiasco

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has slammed the Greens over the party’s decision to block the House Australia Future Fund and call for an inquiry into the housing crisis.

REIA President Hayden Groves particularly singled out Greens leader, Adam Bandt, saying his party’s approach was absurd and would be counterproductive in addressing housing supply.

“We know that by next financial year we need at least 106,000 new homes for Australians,” Mr Groves said.

“At the same time, there are nearly a quarter of a million Australians on wait lists for social and affordable housing. 

“Rental properties and homes for sale within our existing home inventory are the lowest on record.

“Rather than take tangible steps to fix housing supply and improve conditions for renters, Adam Bandt and his parliamentary team have simply decided to form a committee instead. 

“This inquiry – and their persistent calls for rent freezes and rent controls – will do nothing for rental supply, further damage rental affordability and do nothing to benefit renters over time.” 

Mr Groves’ frustration comes after the Greens voted with the Coalition to delay consideration of the Australian Government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund until October, even though the government had added $2 billion of direct funding for affordable and social housing.

The Greens are also pressuring the Albanese Government to introduce rent freezes or rent caps and they also teamed with the Coalition to establish a Senate inquiry into the rental crisis.

The inquiry will look at rental rates and rental affordability, supply and demand, how governments could reduce or limit rent rises and improvements to renters’ rights.

An interim report will be delivered by September 23.

On social media Mr Bandt lauded the Greens’ efforts in establishing the inquiry.

“The Greens have established the first ever national inquiry into the rental crisis in Australia,” he said on Instagram.

“This is massive in the campaign to tackle the housing crisis.

“This means that Labor will be forced to consider the impacts of rent increases on renters, ahead of National Cabinet.

“Millions of renters across the country are staring down the barrel of another massive rent increase and this cannot continue. Unlimited rent increases should be illegal.”

Mr Bandt said he would keep the public updated on when and how they can make a submission to the inquiry.

In question time last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Greens’ approach would essentially be telling landlords that they had until October before rent freezes started.

“What do you think would happen? Do you think they’d put up their rents or do you think they would decrease them?” he said.

“That is why your propositions are so ill thought-out and opportunistic.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.