With the pandemic still posing potential infection risks, we need to ensure laws continue to facilitate social distancing.
In Parliament I supported two government bills that extend for another six months the extraordinary measures introduced to ensure routine business like strata meetings and court hearings can proceed if there is an outbreak.
The moratorium on evictions for rental arrears or for ‘no-grounds’ (the reason often used to cover up unlawful evictions) was also extended. While this is good news, during debate I argued that more is needed to stop renters accruing massive debt. The end of JobKeeper is expected to result in another wave of unemployment and we should strengthen obligations to provide rent reductions over rent deferrals.
While I welcome new accommodation vouchers and subsidies for city conferences to bring people back into the CBD, many small businesses will not benefit as they rely on workers in office towers tenanted by companies with work-from-home policies. I continue to hear from a diverse range of businesses including copier services, bars, optometrists, barbers and coffee carts who are at risk of collapse when JobKeeper ends. I again asked the government to provide relief or ensure they can break leases without losing massive bonds and guarantees.