The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2009: second reading
This week in Parliament, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2009 will have its second reading. The Bill seeks to offer protection to the most vulnerable Victorians in both public and private housing rental markets. This Bill is to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) which governs the relationship between tenants and landlords, and invests rights and responsibilities in each party.
This Bill could be characterised both as improving the human rights of Victorians and minimising their impact on the changing climate. The indignity of living in a residence that does not have basic working amenities should not be a reality for people who co-habit such a wealthy country as Australia. This Bill makes it possible for basic living conditions to be complied with by landlords, enhancing the human right to adequate housing.
Such a right is included in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Australia is a signatory, but such a right was excluded by Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
Setting insulation, heating, water and energy efficiency standards can be a targeted way for thousands of Victorians to lower their carbon impact. If the Brumby Government has the courage to adopt this Bill (or reject it and later introduce it as their own, which has happened on previous occasions), the social equity and environmental benefits for Victoria would not only be far reaching, but encourage continual improvement of living conditions into the future.