Re: LNP Position concerning renters

Thank you for your email of 23 October 2020 wherein you were seeking more information around the LNP’s policies as they relate to changing and improving our State’s tenancy laws.

The LNP shares your interest in this vital area and is pleased to respond to your questions. It is particularly relevant as this upcoming election is all about Queensland’s future and who will guide it through the biggest economic crisis in almost a century. As you know, housing and homelessness, along with the regulatory control of the private rental market, is primarily the responsibility of the State Government.

Labor’s record
Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk Labor Government cancelled this year’s budget, making spending commitments more challenging. The Labor Government has demonstrated a poor track record when it comes to managing the economy. In addition to accumulating massive debt, the following failures are no doubt of concern to you and indeed the many Queenslanders who rent: –
• Introduced nine new taxes over the past term of government, ripping nearly $4 billion out of Queensland’s economy
• Cut $9 billion from infrastructure spending in its first term
• Labor’s rental reforms have dragged on for two years and property taxes have negatively impacted the housing sector by discouraging investment in residential property
• The social housing waiting list has blown out from 16,546 applicants when the LNP left office to 25,613 under Labor

It is widely accepted that based on a range of measures (worst unemployment, lowest business confidence, highest number of bankruptcies) Queensland was already in an economic crisis before COVID-19 and not because of it. In its latest research paper, the Queensland Productivity Commission warned that a return to regular policy settings post-COVID would be a disaster.

Furthermore, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) has called out the Labor Government’s recovery plan as nothing more than a “rehash of announcements” leaving businesses “meandering through COVID without any real plan”. The recently released jobless figures showed under Labor, Queensland has the worst rate of unemployment in the nation (7.7%) with even lock-down Victoria having a lower jobless rate.

LNP Policy Position
In contrast, the LNP has an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy, create a decade of secure jobs and lead Queensland out of this recession. Our economic plan will grow our economy making it easier for Queenslanders to afford their rent or buy their own a home.

However, it should be acknowledged that the public balance sheet alone cannot dig Queensland out of trouble. The state will urgently need the support of the private sector to get the recovery going – and this is the reason we have committed to a no new tax guarantee to encourage investment in housing.

The LNP will develop innovative funding solutions with community housing providers who are well placed for transitioning people from government-provided emergency housing to affordable housing. As such, we have recently announced a new scheme where land tax will be slashed by 75% and exemptions on international investor taxes provided on eligible build-to-rent housing projects. This plan is expected to secure $2 billion worth of investment, create 4,600 construction jobs and 4,000 new homes over the coming years.

The above macro settings are highly relevant to renters as these have a direct impact on the availability of housing supply. We appreciate that tenants need a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home. Accordingly, the LNP will provide clarity for tenants and owners around health and safety matters including structural condition, repairs, sanitation and cleanliness.

In relation to the keeping of pets, it is acknowledged that there are many benefits which flow from having a pet. It is understandable that many tenants would like to keep a pet at their rental accommodation. We also recognise that property owners wish to protect their investment and are concerned that the keeping of pets has the potential to damage their property. Therefore, the LNP favours a position where the keeping of pets needs to be a mutually agreed arrangement.

In order to make a house a home, there will be occasions when tenants would like to be able to make some minor modifications to the property they are renting. Where this arises, the LNP position is that it must be with the property owner’s knowledge and consent before alterations can be made. This recognises the need to ensure the modifications are installed safely and they don’t compromise the integrity of the building structure.

In Queensland, Mum and Dad property investors are critical to the supply of rental property and the LNP would not wish to see any measures that will place added burden on property owners. Any reforms should encourage investment in the property market, not fewer rental properties which would only lead to an increase in rental prices. The LNP will build confidence across the property sector as we pursue policies that will encourage investment in private housing.

The LNP will also address cost of living pressures through policies like the Rego Rebate whereby every Queenslander who owns a registered car will receive a $300 rebate before Christmas should we win the election. We are committed to building a stronger economy to enable more investment into safe, affordable and sustainable property, which will benefit Queenslanders now and in the future.