An important part of our work as the peak body for housing and homelessness organisations in the NT is to advocate for healthy, secure and affordable homes for all. We are proud to support a range of national and local campaigns to these ends.
The following section provides an overview of these campaigns but is by no means exclusive. NT Shelter’s advocacy is also outlined further in our advocacy and submissions.
1. Make renting fair, safe and certain
The Residential Tenancies Act has a critical role to play in safeguarding the housing needs of the Northern Territory’s residents, ensuring that tenants are not evicted unnecessarily into homelessness, and providing pathways for people out of homelessness into accommodation. It provides governance over the suitability of dwellings for habitation, security of tenure and safety and control of the living space.
There is no reason why the Northern Territory should lag behind other States when it comes to tenancy legislation. We want to see a fair, safe and certain Residential Tenancies Act in the Territory.
We’re advocating alongside eleven organisations to make renting in the Northern Territory fair, safe and certain.
You can read more about the campaign here.
2. National Homelessness Week: 3 - 8 August 2020
Homelessness Week is held in August each year and is coordinated nationally by Homelessness Australia. Throughout the week, a range of activities are held to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face, and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.
In light of COVID-19, this year’s activities will focus on media and social media advocacy. Our focus will be on the economic impacts of COVID-19, the implications for homelessness and the need for investment in social housing. This will be tied to the Everybody’s Home Campaign and the theme ‘Everybody needs a home’. During times of crisis, a home is absolutely essential in order to stay healthy and well. In a year of devastating bush fires, floods and the coronavirus pandemic, more and more Australians are in need of a safe place to call home.
Information on how you can support the campaign, and what activities are planned in the Northern Territory can be viewed on this page.
3. Healthy & affordable homes: national low-income energy
Over 50 social, property, business, environment, local councils and research groups have banded together to call on Federal and State Governments to stimulate the economy with an energy efficient and solar, low-income housing installation boom. The four elements of the proposal are:
1. Social housing – Federal and state/territory governments provide matching funds to invest in energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV installations for social housing dwellings.
2. Low-income home owners – The Federal Government partner with state/territory, local councils and community organisations to provide energy efficiency audits, upgrades and solar PV installations for low-income owner occupiers.
3. Inefficient rental properties – Over the next two to three years, COAG Energy Council is working on a proposal to implement mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties. In the meantime, the Federal Government could provide grants to landlords to support the upgrade of poor performing rental properties.
4. Low-income appliance replacement offer – Governments provide subsidies for low-income households to replace inefficient appliances, or purchase more energy efficient appliances.
The Economic Stimulus Healthy & affordable homes: national low-income energy productivity program Proposal can be accessed here.
4. Supporting renters to keep a roof over their head in these times of crisis
As part of a national community coalition we’re calling for further urgent action to support the huge number of people and families who face the prospect of losing their homes due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Specifically, we are calling for a minimum standard of measures to protect residential tenants at this time. These measures are:
- Stop evictions for rental arrears or evictions where the tenant is not at fault, covering all tenants including occupants.
- Supporting renters to terminate a rental contract that is no longer viable and is causing hardship, without being burdened with unfair debts or penalties.
- A requirement for binding arbitration where tenants and landlords cannot reach agreement on a rent reduction. This arbitration should take into account the financial position of both tenants and lessors.
- A temporary freeze on any rent increases.
- Direct financial support for tenants who, after genuine rent reductions have been applied, would struggle to afford their rent.
- A requirement for banks and insurers to offer genuine relief to landlords who have reduced rent.