3 May 2023
Adjourned debate on second reading.
(Continued from 6 July 2022.)
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I want to thank all honourable members for their contributions: the Hon. Mr Ngo, the Hon. Frank Pangallo, the Hon. Ms Lensink and the Hon. Ms Game. It is disappointing to note that it seems only the Greens will be supporting this bill. I do not propose to speak for very long tonight because I appreciate members accommodating this bill on tonight's schedule, but I do want to correct some of the incorrect or ill-informed statements that have been made in the context of this debate.
The Hon. Mr Ngo talked about Adelaide being some sort of nirvana for affordable housing. I would urge the government to turn its attention to the latest findings from Anglicare. In fact, they should look at the snapshot weekend of Saturday 18 March this year, which looked at 1,456 private rentals that were advertised for rent in South Australia. That report found that just 11 individual properties, or 1 per cent, were suitable for at least one household type living on income support payments without placing them in housing stress.
Just 256, that is 18 per cent of individual properties, were suitable for at least one household type living on minimum wage without placing them in housing stress. Zero per cent of rentals, that is not one of the listed rental properties, were affordable for a single childless person trying to live on the JobSeeker payment, and just two properties out of all of those listed on the day of the snapshot—zero per cent—were affordable and appropriate for out-of-work couples with two children. Anybody who seeks to suggest that rental accommodation is affordable in South Australia has the wrong information.
There also appears to be a concern from some members of this chamber that to implement rent controls of the kind that the Greens have proposed would create a terrible stress for landlords. I do not accept that argument given all that my bill is seeking to do is limit rent increases in line with CPI. That has happened in other jurisdictions around the world. It would allow landlords to increase the rent but not in an exorbitant way. The problem that we are facing in our state at the moment is that rent prices are simply surging out of control due to lack of regulation.
I should put on the public record my appreciation for some of the actions that the Malinauskas government have taken to date. In particular, I welcome their efforts to ban rent bidding, albeit in a partial way, but I do support that and I recognise that there is broad support for that across the chamber. They have also made some changes relating to the amount of bond that somebody is required to put forward when they are acquiring a new property, and that will be a welcome relief for many renters. They have also announced a large affordable housing spend, which I think also will have a positive impact on the market, although it will take several years for that property to come to fruition.
The reality is that these things do not go far enough in terms of addressing rent prices in our state, rent prices that are surging out of control. I urge members of parliament to turn their attention to their fellow South Australians who are sleeping on the street, sleeping in tents, sleeping in caravans because they cannot afford a place to rent. I urge them to think of their fellow South Australians who are anxious, worrying about the skyrocketing rent prices that they are facing, and then I urge them to think about whether or not the solution that the Labor government has put forward goes far enough. The reality is this is well short of what is needed. It is not enough.
If there is not support for rent capping in this chamber tonight, then my challenge to the government is to come to the parliament with a clear plan to deal with rent prices. It is on them to try to solve this crisis, and I urge them to take action. With that, I conclude my remarks and indicate that I will be calling a division to put people's positions on the public record.
The council divided on the second reading:
Franks, T.A. Simms, R.A. (teller)
Bonaros, C. Bourke, E.S. Centofanti, N.J.
Game, S.L. Girolamo, H.M. Hanson, J.E.
Henderson, L.A. Hood, B.R. Hood, D.G.E.
Hunter, I.K. Lee, J.S. Lensink, J.M.A.
Maher, K.J. Martin, R.B. Ngo, T.T. (teller)
Pangallo, F. Pnevmatikos, I. Scriven, C.M.
Second reading thus negatived.