Victorian government bends knee to Greens, considers rent caps

In a desperate bid to gain support from the Greens for tax reforms included in the state’s upcoming budget, the Andrews government is heavily considering several renter safeguards, including rent caps.

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A letter penned by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas addressed to Samantha Ratnam, leader of the Victorian Greens, and Sam Hibbins, the party’s Treasury spokesperson, revealed plans for a Growth and Housing Taskforce (GHT) committee of Cabinet, led by Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan, which will “consider housing supply, housing affordability, and renters’ rights”.

The letter, provided to Smart Property Investment’s sister brand, REB, by the Victorian Greens party, sees Mr Pallas confirm part of the taskforce’s “ongoing work” will see them take “detailed consideration” towards:

  • Further protections for renters, including rent caps or other forms of rent control
  • Effective short-stay accommodation regulation or taxation
  • Improvements to the Vacant Residential Land Tax system

Mr Pallas detailed that the taskforce is “working towards the release of a Housing Statement, which the Premier has publicly committed to releasing this year. The statement will present a package of policies that responds to current housing affordability issues and contain immediate and longer-term actions.”

The Andrews government committed to rental safeguards following weeks of negotiations undertaken between the two parties where the Greens “demanded the government take action on the housing crisis to ensure their support for the State Taxation Act Amendment Bill 2023”.


In order to gain the Greens’ support for a string of tax reforms, the state government offered assurances it would investigate the state’s housing crisis and how to best address it, stipulated within Mr Pallas’ letter.

Given her belief the government’s been “ignoring renters for the past year,” Ms Ratnam expressed the party’s delight at the letter’s promises.

“We’re pleased the government has established a housing crisis task force as a result of advocacy by the Greens, and placed several policies for renters tabled by the Greens squarely on its agenda for action,” she said.

“These are the right policies to address the housing crisis,” she declared, adding her party “looks forward to working with the government and its new task force to implement them as a matter of urgency”.

According to the Greens’ statement, Mr Pallas has agreed to partake in monthly meetings with the Greens to discuss both the housing crisis and its potential solutions.

To Mr Hibbins, the importance of the Andrews government’s actions cannot be exaggerated.

“Without government action, rents are going to continue to go up and up, pushing renters into homelessness and housing insecurity,” he said.

“People who rent their home need urgent reforms to address the housing crisis and can’t afford another year of government inaction.”

The actions of the Andrews government mirror those recently enacted by its federal counterparts, which recently unveiled the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator program in what many believe was an attempt to gain support from the federal Greens for a string of housing legislation, including the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill 2023.

It was announced on Monday (19 June) that the Greens and Coalition had successfully kicked the vote on the legislation until October, much to the ire of several major national housing bodies.

Quentin Kilian, chief executive officer at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), believes such short-term solutions “do not address the underpinning issue driving the rental crisis, which is a lack of housing supply”.

“No amount of rental regulations and enforcements will move the needle; in fact, they will only drive the mum and dad investors who currently offer housing out of the market and dissuade new investors from considering property as an investment option,” Mr Kilian said.

Despite recognising “there isn’t a simple solution to address the challenges facing Victoria’s rental market”, Mr Kilian declared that “property sector leaders and policymakers should be working together to find options that benefit everyone, and help ensure all Victorians have access to safe, affordable housing”.

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