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Question: Rental Property Standards

23 February 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs on the topic of rental standards.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a heatwave warning for South Australia, with some parts of the state experiencing an extreme heatwave. In SA Health's guide to coping with hot weather and heatwaves, it is stated that, and I quote from that document:

Everyone is at risk of heat-related illnesses during hot weather and heatwaves, and some groups of people, such as:

babies and young children

pregnant women

the elderly (especially people living alone)

people with chronic illnesses…

people with mobility issues

are more at risk of heat-related illness than others.

The guide goes on to recommend staying indoors with a fan or air conditioner on to stay healthy in the heat. South Australian rental properties are not required to provide fans or air conditioning for tenants, and many renters find it difficult keeping their houses cool. SACOSS have called for provisions to ensure minimum standards for private rental properties in South Australia. During a 2019 heatwave, SACOSS's CEO, Ross Womersley, was quoted by the ABC as saying that:

We should be ensuring that all properties that are being built are up to a very high environmental standard, in order to ensure that in the long term, we're protecting everybody in our community from these events.

My question to the minister therefore is: will the government commit to introducing minimum rental standards to ensure that renters are able to stay cool during heatwave events?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I thank the honourable member for his question, and I will refer it to my colleague in another place the Hon. Andrea Michaels, Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs and member for Enfield, and bring back a reply that she provides.