YASMIN CATLEY MP
Today NSW Labor secured a monumental victory for tenants in this state. We successfully moved amendments that will ensure that both tenants and landlords will be supported during COVID-19. The Government’s existing package of land tax rebates was woefully inadequate and only benefited the 16% of landlords who pay land tax.
Labor was able to corral cross-bench support in the NSW Upper House for our rental relief package that establishes:
A rental hardship package similar to that in Victoria which offers rent assistance to tenants, paid directly to the landlord, so that we can keep people in their homes.
A moratorium on lease break fees for households financially impacted by COVID-19 who have no choice but to move.
This is a huge win for vulnerable tenants, especially those who’ve lost their jobs or seen a significant reduction in their incomes due to COVID-19 and shows the power we have to legislate from the Upper House. Congratulations to Shadow Minister for Better Regulation, Julia Finn, and her team for all their hard work and persistence!
With the support and collaboration of our comrades in the MUA and the ITF, NSW Labor achieved a series of significant victories on behalf of the crew of the Ruby Princess before it departed Port Kembla.
We ensured every crew member was tested for COVID-19 before the ship could depart, we brought the plight of trapped crew to public attention through one-on-one interviews, we demanded as many people be repatriated by air as possible, and we drew a line in the sand and said that the ship could not leave with a single sick person on board.
We also managed to turn public opinion around over the course of five long weeks of campaigning so that the Government’s mistreatment of the crew became a humanitarian scandal for Gladys Berejiklian and the Liberals.
We will be calling for the Government to provide real stimulus and real support for workers in New South Wales by bringing jobs back that have been sent offshore in recent years.
One of the immediate opportunities here is for the ferry construction project, which is being project managed by an Australian company using Chinese and Indonesian shipyards, to be brought back to Australian boat building facilities. We need to make the case for a permanent shift in public policy to support manufacturing so that when the next global crisis strikes we are self-reliant.
We will be calling for the government to issue a contract variation that requires these ferries to be built locally – there is capacity in Port Macquarie and Newcastle to do it, and so far the NSW Government has done very little of the heavy lifting in respect of job protection and job creation.
When we come back
When this is all over and once Parliament returns, possibly in September, and the social distancing measures are lifted, we are looking forward to organising a Left Drinks event at Parliament to bring people back together and catch up in person.