The Liberal Government has failed to introduce new residential tenancy laws to protect victims of domestic violence – more than 600 days after promising it would.
The Government announced on 5 July 2016 that it would introduce changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to allow for tenancy agreements to be terminated immediately and ensure victims were not penalised for property damaged or rental debt caused by a violent partner.
More than 600 days have elapsed and the current Minister Matt Kean has sat on his hands.
Minister Kean, who is responsible for the Act, is now 12 months into the job but he has taken his eye off the ball on this important issue.
The Fair Trading portfolio has been lagging behind when it comes to a range of consumer protection laws – most spectacularly with the debacle and delays over addressing potentially lethal aluminium cladding in up to 1000 apartment complexes in NSW.
There have been six Ministers responsible for consumer protection laws in NSW since 2011 – and it’s clear that the revolving door, along with cuts to staff, has led to delays and backlogs.
Labor is pushing its own tenancy reforms, promising to remove unfair eviction laws which allow landlords to terminate a tenancy without providing a reason.
Labor is calling on the Berejiklian Government to end the delays and introduce proposed changes to the Act as a matter of urgency.
Quotes attributable to Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill
“We know that for many victims of domestic violence, every minute without support can mean the difference between safety and danger. That's what makes 600 days of delay from this Government such an insult.
"The Minister has been sitting on his hands, when what is needed is meaningful action.
"the time for delay on these important reforms is well and truly over."
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Yasmin Catley
“The Government announced with some fanfare back in July 2016 that it would provide greater protections to the victims of domestic violence who live in rental accommodation.
“More than 18 months later – all we have is silence from the responsible Ministers.
“Writing a press release patting yourself on the back is one thing – but what we need are changes to the Act which will enshrine these protections in law.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison
“The Government claimed they were ‘leading the way’ in domestic violence policy – yet to leave such an important policy in limbo for more than 600 days shows this Government is all talk and no action.
“Since the Government’s press release in 2016, hundreds of vulnerable people have been forced to stay in violent homes due to restrictive Residential Tenancies legislation which fails to protect their rights or keep them safe from violence.
“It’s a damning indictment on the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence that she has been happy to sit back and watch the Government drag its feet on introducing better laws for domestic violence victims. The Minister should be advocating for the Better Regulation and Innovation Minister to do what the Government promised – now!”