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Homes Tasmania scandal grows as Liberals duck for cover

The minority Liberal government has been caught out cooking the books to cover up its failures on social housing commitments, costing Tasmanian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and leaving existing private sector tenants facing potential homelessness.

After a decade of failures on housing, the Liberals spent around $20 million of public money in June alone buying up properties already tenanted to mostly vulnerable residents, with just one able to be used for immediate housing.

They then tried to claim this as social housing they had delivered, saying “Homes Tasmania and its community housing partners completed a record 276 new social housing properties in June – 59 in the North West, 76 in the North and 141 in the South”.

What they didn’t say was that these figures included dozens and dozens of existing, tenanted properties that would not be available for social housing – a shameless attempt to fudge the numbers, which has been confirmed today in a statement from Homes Tasmania.

The statement also confirms that 81 existing private sector tenants in the properties the government has bought only have housing security “until their current leases expire, or for the next 12 months, whichever comes first”.

This includes tenants in 11 units in Latrobe, which are leased through the Private Rental Incentive Scheme until 1 November – just seven weeks from now.

What are these residents expected to do once their current lease expires? Will they just have to move out with nowhere else to go? Will they be moved out into homelessness and themselves join the growing social housing wait list, while other tenants are moved in?

Tellingly, Minister Street failed to go anywhere near answering these questions in Parliament today, failing to confirm what would happen to these tenants when their leases expire.

The Liberals can’t have it both ways. Either they are throwing vulnerable Tasmanians out of their homes or they have spent tens of millions of dollars of public money for no net increase in housing supply, in a desperate attempt to fudge the numbers.

Either way, Tasmanians deserve much better.

September 13 2023

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