Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:33): My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, and the action I seek is for the minister to halt all eviction proceedings in Victoria during the state of emergency.
As more and more of public life in Victoria shuts down—schools, events, bars, restaurants, swimming pools—and the economic ripple effects of the coronavirus epidemic widen, a growing number of jurisdictions across the globe are moving to protect people from becoming homeless.
In the United States, cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Boston, as well as a number of states including New York, Massachusetts and Kentucky, have temporarily halted eviction proceedings. These measures are now being adopted in other cities in Europe.
If a worker loses their job or if their take-home pay is significantly reduced because of something out of their control, how do they pay the rent? We cannot simply rely on landlords to be the good guys in this situation. Of course, there is a knock-on effect to the property owner, and I understand that. Landlords often rely on rental payments to service their mortgage.
However, a number of major Australian financial institutions have come forward to say that they will work with customers who are having mortgage payment problems. The risk is real. People will become homeless as a result of coronavirus, and the minister can and rightfully should step in.
So I ask the minister to mandate that all eviction proceedings in Victoria during the state of emergency be halted so that some of the most vulnerable in our community can get some peace of mind.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment matter raised 17/3/20