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Rental crisis to spark protest at state parliament

Low-income renters in South Australia are set to gather at state parliament today calling for action on the state’s housing crisis.

Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

The protest follows rental increases in Adelaide of about 20 per cent over the past two years and comes as rising inflation pushes up the cost of other essentials, including food and utilities.

“Christmas is often a tough time for people on low incomes. This year it’s even harder,” Anti-Poverty Network SA spokesman Duncan Bainbridge said.

“We’re facing a cost-of-living explosion coupled with a rental crisis. People are struggling to keep up with the cost of food, utilities and rent.

“It causes chronic stress to live in an unaffordable home, to have to skip meals because most of your money is spent keeping a roof over your head.”

Bainbridge said the state government must commit to swift action, including a rent freeze during the current emergency, and better protections for renters over the longer term.

In this year’s budget, the state government allocated extra funds for public housing, with a plan to build 400 more homes over the next four years.

It has also begun a review of the state’s Residential Tenancies Act, with submissions closing on Friday.

Consumer Affairs Minister Andrea Michaels has said previously the government would use all the levers at its disposal to improve the availability of affordable rental properties.

“The current rental shortage highlights the need for contemporary, effective residential tenancy laws,” Michaels said.

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“We want to see more landlords in the system without sacrificing the rights of tenants, with a stronger framework that ensures there are safeguards for both tenants and landlords, while making residential properties an attractive form of investment.”

The Greens have pushed for the introduction of rental controls in SA, with increases limited to inflation and restricted to one increase every two years.

-AAP

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