Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Aiv PUGLIELLI (North-Eastern Metropolitan) (17:30): (38) My adjournment matter tonight is to the Minister for Consumer Affairs concerning Victoria’s worsening rental affordability crisis. I call on the government to regulate the short-stay industry in Victoria. Our housing system is broken. Demand for public housing is hopelessly outstripping available stock, with more than 100,000 Victorians waiting for a home. Tens of thousands more are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We are also years into a rental crisis, with conditions for tenants only getting worse. Rents are skyrocketing, demand for rentals is soaring and the vacancy rate is at a record low here in Victoria.
Short-stay or Airbnb-style accommodation is making the rental crisis worse by decreasing the number of available rentals and further entrenching housing as a tool for wealth generation, instead of it being a basic human right. Many governments both internationally and here in Australia have already begun to regulate the short-stay accommodation sector, but in Victoria it is almost entirely unregulated. I call on the government to regulate this industry. We need to implement a 90-day-per-year cap on renting out entire homes as short-stay accommodation, stronger regulatory powers over short-stay properties for owners corporations and a mandatory public register for short-stay operators.
Here in Victoria successive governments have failed to protect renters from soaring rent prices and predatory lease agreements that they agree to out of desperation. The situation is dire. It has been dire for many years. As a renter I can appreciate how the targeted rental support measures implemented by the Andrews government in the early stages of the pandemic were crucial reforms that saved many people from homelessness, but so many also felt the crushing impact of those measures being ripped away when Victoria went back to business as usual, ignoring the housing affordability crisis, the result being renters getting screwed. I am hopeful that it will not take another pandemic for this government to see that people are desperate and crying out for reform. We need to take meaningful action to help tackle the state’s rental crisis. We need to tip the power balance further towards renters.