Dominic Perrottet has been caught out slamming his own future policy to help renters as ‘socialist’ just six months before announcing landlords would be barred from evicting tenants without a reason.
The NSW Premier last week announced his Coalition government, if re-elected at the state election on March 25, would move to a ‘reasonable grounds’ model for evictions.
Rental vacancy rates are sitting at well under one per cent in regional parts of the state and tightening in Sydney.
This would change existing laws that allow landlords to kick out a tenant with just 30 days’ notice at the end of a lease, or 90 days’ notice if they are on a rolling lease, without giving a reason.
But on September 21, 2022, Mr Perrottet declared the Liberal Party he led supported property rights and went as far and quoting the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
‘This is a Liberal Government, not a Greens socialist one,’ he told the Legislative Assembly during Question Time.
Dominic Perrottet (pictured with wife Helen) slammed his own future policy to help renters as ‘socialist’ just six months before announcing landlords would be barred from evicting tenants without a reason
‘We believe in the right for people to own property and do what they like with it.’
Mr Perrottet then proceeded to lecture Jenny Leong, the Greens member for Newtown in Sydney’s gentrified inner-west on the 1948 UN principles.
‘I thought the member for Newtown would be interested in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which we are a signatory,’ he said.
‘Article 17 states: 1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’
Mr Perrottet also sparred with Labor’s shadow minister for customer service Yasmin Catley, who argued the government’s plan to ensure landlords properly maintain their properties was insufficient to protect renters from being unfairly evicted if they had done nothing wrong.
‘That is all well and good, but not when you get kicked out of your home,’ she said.
The Premier expressed shock at Labor’s plan to ban no-fault evictions.
‘Okay. Interesting. New policy. Thank you,’ he said.
Mr Perrottet then proceeded to lecture Jenny Leong (pictured), the Greens member for Newtown in Sydney’s gentrified inner-west on the 1948 UN principles
Mr Perrottet then reiterated his view that banning no grounds evictions was ‘socialist’.
Dominic Perrottet changes position on rental evictions
SEPTEMBER 21, 2022: ”This is a Liberal Government, not a Greens socialist one.
‘I thought the member for Newtown would be interested in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which we are a signatory
‘Article 17 states: 1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
‘We can say that the Liberals and Nationals will not be taking the same approach as the socialist approach of Labor and The Greens.’
MARCH 3, 2023: ‘A re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will introduce a package of measures this year to provide greater protection and support for renters.
‘The proposed reforms include:
‘Moving to a ‘reasonable grounds’ model for evictions during periodic leases, with the final list of reasonable grounds to be subject to consultation with key stakeholders, including landlords.’
‘We can say that the Liberals and Nationals will not be taking the same approach as the socialist approach of Labor and The Greens,’ he said.
‘I appreciate that new policy announcement from the floor of the Chamber today.’
But Mr Perrottet on March 3 announced that should he win the March 25 election, he would explore a ‘reasonable grounds’ model for evictions, ban rent bidding and extended the notice period for the end of fixed-term leases to 45 days from 30 days.
‘These new measures will provide even greater certainty and flexibility for nearly a million renters across NSW,’ he said.
Rose Jackson, Labor’s shadow minister for housing and homelessness, said Mr Perrottet’s political backflip was a sign of a Premier worried about losing the election, with the Coalition seeking a fourth consecutive term.
‘Dominic Perrotett’s sudden change of heart cannot be taken seriously,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It’s just another example of the Premier making up policy on the run just to ensure his own political survival.
‘When it comes to improving the lives of renters across New South Wales, the Liberals simply cannot be trusted.’
Mr Perrottet’s media team declined to respond to Daily Mail Australia but Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello, who is retiring at this election as the member for Ryde, argued the Coalition’s policy was different to what the Greens had proposed.
‘The Greens proposal went much further than what has been proposed by the NSW Liberal and Nationals government,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘At the same time, the NSW Liberal and Nationals government’s commitment is more than NSW Labor has promised tenants.
‘The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government believes the Greens punitive approach goes too far, creating an imbalance between tenant and landlord rights, and that’s why we did not support it.’
The Liberal Party last year lost the South Coast seat of Bega to Labor, in a by-election, with a 12 per cent swing against it.
The rental vacancy rate in this area is an ultra-tight 0.3 per cent, SQM Research data shows.
Sydney had a 1.3 per cent rental vacancy rate in January 2023, a big drop from 2.3 per cent a year earlier after Australia’s border was reopened to migrants and international students (pictured is a queue during that month in Randwick in the city’s south-east)
Sydney had a 1.3 per cent rental vacancy rate in January 2023, a big drop from 2.3 per cent a year earlier after Australia’s border was reopened to migrants and international students.
‘The surge in net overseas longer term and permanent arrivals relative to new residential property supply is ensuring extremely tight rental conditions will continue for the immediate future,’ SQM Research said.
Courtney Houssos, Labor’s shadow minister for better regulation, has promised to establish a Rental Commissioner to only allow evictions on reasonable grounds, ban secret rent bidding, make it easier to have pets and implement a portable bonds scheme.
‘While it’s great the Liberals have decided to adopt Labor’s policy on banning no ground evictions, it’s disappointing it has taken them 12 years to do so,’ she said.
The Coalition has been in power since 2011, making it the longest uninterrupted run in NSW for the conservative side of politics since the Liberal Party was formed in 1944.
A Liberal Party premier hasn’t won the Coalition a fourth straight term since 1973 when Robert Askin was in charge.