The Greens are having a major dummy spit after their plans to screw the renters of Canberra in the name of energy efficiency was defeated by a Labor/Liberal alliance in the Legislative Assembly:
“The Government is effectively leaving 1/3 of Canberrans out of its plans to improve energy efficiency,” Greens Climate Change spokesperson, Shane Rattenbury MLA, said today.
“Simon Corbell identified energy efficiency in buildings as a major plank in the Government’s climate change strategy, arguing it would both cut emissions and costs. Today however he voted against these benefits for renters, stating that it would cost too much. In reality, the Government’s costing of the Bill assumed gold-plated standards.
“The Canberra Liberals opposition to this bill exposes their true colours when it comes to cost of living pressures on Canberrans doing it tough. They voted for higher energy bills for renters.
“I came to this issue in good faith and the Government responded with dodgy modelling, scaremongering and negative rhetoric.
“That both Labor and Liberal refused to engage with the long development and consultation process for this Bill shows a lack of concern for Canberra’s renters,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Speaking as a renter, I am positively relieved.
UPDATE: Simon Cobell has given his reasons for opposing the bill:
“Although I support moves to improve the standard of rental accommodation for renters, this bill is a blunt instrument that would increase rents and reduce the supply of rental homes,” Mr Corbell said.
“It would have imposed a direct cost burden on lessors, who would need to meet the new requirements or risk action being taken against them by the Office of Regulatory Services or the ACAT.”
Mr Corbell said this direct cost would inevitably have been met by tenants, who would have been charged higher rents to meet the costs of the necessary improvements.
“These increases would have caused an increase in the CPI for rents, which would have caused a general rise in rents throughout the ACT rental market,” he said.
“There is also a real risk that these changes would have reduced the vacancy rate in the Territory, at a time when there is already a very low vacancy rate.
“This is because many lessors would have simply been unable to afford the raft of required improvements and taken their rental properties off the market, while potential investors would have been deterred from investing in older rental properties.
“An operational review of the Residential Tenancies Act that considers a range of tenancy issues, including the likely effects of mandating or providing incentives to lessors to improve rental properties would be a more appropriate place to tackle this issue.
“My directorate will be conducting a review of the Act which will include consideration of ways in which the standard of ACT rental stock may be improved with less cost impact.”