Chris Minns MP – Opinion: We need to act now to give battlers a fair go

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Opinion piece by NSW Labor Leader, Chris Minns MP.

It’s 12 days out from Christmas and I’m calling on the Premier to recall parliament and legislate two reasonable and practical measures to ease the most severe cost of living crisis in New South Wales in living memory.

Electricity prices have surged by over 25 per cent in just in the last three months – and are set to rise another 47 per cent in the next two years, even with the newly announced price caps.

Meanwhile rents in Sydney have increased over 28 per cent in the last year.

Over 35 per cent of tenanted households in New South Wales were in rental stress, which means they are spending more than a third of their income just to keep a roof over their heads.

Not all of it can be laid at the feet of the government. But they must accept their policies and management has made a bad situation worse.

Taxes, tolls, fines, fees and charges are all up under this government.

It’s the highest taxing government in Australia, and they’re about to introduce a new one.

Their addiction to privatisation – especially of our energy assets and toll roads – has left us vulnerable to price shocks.

And for 12 years they have sidelined and ignored renters.

Yesterday, Labor announced a suite of measures to make renting fairer and more affordable, including ending secret bidding; introducing portable bonds; as well as creating a Rental Commissioner to drive solutions to the state’s rental crisis.

It seems after 12 years, the Liberals and Nationals have conveniently decided to agree with us on ending secret rent bidding.

The big difference is that Labor wants to legislate against the practice of of secret bidding, while the government hasn’t actually explained how they will do it.

As families come together for the first time in three years, this government has a clear opportunity to take a very reasonable and practical step to stem these two major drivers of the cost of living: energy costs & rent.

I am asking the Premier when the Parliament is recalled and the state has finalised its energy deal with the Commonwealth, that we act and implement measures that will make a real different on hip pockets of renters – a ban on secret rent bidding, and a portable bonds scheme.

By recalling parliament and legislating these measures immediately, we can give people certainty on cost of living relief.

We have bipartisanship on the Federal Government’s plan for power bills to come down – there’s no reason we can’t have similar agreement when it comes to housing and renters. Let’s get both of these done right now.

Cost of living crises don’t wait for a convenient time. Families and households are hurting right now. To make them wait until after the Christmas period would just add insult to injury.

Going into summer when real estate markets go crazy and energy bills hit their peak, we need certainty legislated. I’ve always taken a positive and constructive approach to opposition.

Labor is willing to work with the government to deliver much needed relief right now, we just need the Premier to do the right thing.

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