23 November 2023

Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (12:04): My question is directed to the Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading. It has been nearly six months since the appointment of the inaugural NSW Rental Commissioner and eight months since the NSW Labor Government was elected after promising to make renting fairer. What reforms have renters been delivered in this time, if any, and when can renters expect legislation to finally end no‑grounds evictions in New South Wales?

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields—Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, Minister for Industry and Trade, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, Minister for Building, and Minister for Corrections) (12:04): I thank the member for Newtown for her question. I know this is an important issue for her, for the Government and for everybody in the Parliament, given that one in three people in New South Wales rent; indeed, in metropolitan areas one in two people rent. There is no doubt that the rental reforms that we will deliver in this term of Parliament will be about making renting better, fairer and more balanced in the market. It is also no secret that we have inherited a significant challenge in the rental market and the housing affordability market. Twelve years of inaction has led to a significant undersupply, which is putting significant pressure on rental housing affordability. It is also no secret that this Government is committed to making our rental market fairer, more balanced and more modern for the millions of people in New South Wales who will be living in rental accommodation.

The current laws do not reflect the living arrangements of so many people in New South Wales. We have committed to giving renters and property owners greater confidence and security in the rental market. We understand that when it comes to property there are polarising views. In terms of the member's question, Ms Trina Jones was appointed as the Rental Commissioner. She is doing the work the Government has asked her to do in consulting extensively with the many stakeholders to ensure that we reform rental laws. As we know, the Government introduced a reform earlier this year to ban solicited rent bidding from landlords, agents and tech platforms.

When it comes to no‑grounds evictions, which was included the in last part of the member's question, I can tell members what the Rental Commissioner has advised us. She has told us that this is one of the most difficult and contentious parts of rental reform. The reality is that there are very strong entrenched views on both sides and there is very little agreement between them. The gulf between the two sides is significant.

The SPEAKER: Members will come to order.

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG: Given the significant difference between tenants and tenant advocates—[Extension of time]

The reality is, given the difference and the gap between tenants and tenant advocates, and property owners and property advocates, we want to make sure that we get this reform right. We want to get long-lasting reform that does not get changed because each side is agitating for change. Long-term reform takes time. The commissioner has asked us for a little bit more time, and we are going to give her that time to get this balance right. Members might be keen to know that as part of the reform process, 9,000 renters had their say through the consultation process, while 5,500 property owners had their say. We want to make sure that the Rental Commissioner speaks to both sides to come up with a fair and balanced approach. We know that the rental market is under significant pressure with a 1.1 per cent vacancy rate built up over 12 years. That is the core reason why renters are experiencing so much pressure. Of course, part of the solution must be bigger—

The SPEAKER: The member for Upper Hunter will come to order. I will direct him to leave the Chamber if he continues to interject.

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG: The reform is not just about no‑grounds eviction; it is also about getting quality supply. I thank and acknowledge the Premier, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and the Minister for Housing for working to ensure that we get quality supply in the market as quickly as possible. Members want to talk about reform. This week alone we have passed the strata legislation and the building investigation, both of which are about fixing the housing market. I thank all members for supporting those bills. This rental reform is a high priority for the Government and I know it is a high priority for crossbench members. I hope it is a high priority for the Opposition, and that it will support our reforms as well. [Time expired.]

Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (12:10): Mr Speaker—

Mr Ron Hoenig: Point of order—

The SPEAKER: Before the member for Newtown asks her question, I will hear from the Leader of the House.

Mr Ron Hoenig: The standing orders do not permit the member for Newtown to ask a supplementary question. The questions allotted to the Government, Opposition and crossbench are counted.

The SPEAKER: I will hear the point of order again. The member for Terrigal will cease interjecting.

Mr Ron Hoenig: A supplementary question counts as a question, Mr Speaker. Crossbench members do not get another question under the standing orders relating to question time. The Opposition had run out of its question entitlements as well when one of its members sought to ask a supplementary question.

The SPEAKER: Having consulted the Clerk, I will defer to the Leader of the House. I do not permit the member for Newtown to ask a supplementary question. I advise the House that I will refer the matter of supplementary questions to the Standing Orders and Procedure Committee to clarify the issue.