Country regions right behind the renters rights revolution – now a national movement

Gerry Georgatos
Renters Alliance (RA) WA coordinator Lea Keenan said that every week now Blackwood residents, renters and some who are home owners, are joining the movement and "are motivated for a united pursuance for legislation to make life fair for everyone."

Rally – August 15 – WA State Parliament – Rallies Australia-wide – October 16 – every capital city and many towns.

Bridgetown's Jenny Kaeshagen and Louise O'Shea will be speakers at the Renters Rights Rally at state parliament on August 15, and both are now spokespersons for the RA which is growing into a an organised national movement with rallies in every capital city slated for October 16.

National Renters Alliance formed to deal with poverty and homelessness.

Bridgetown renter Louise Fleay said the RA is "a beacon of hope, a ray of sunshine in what are bleak times for those who rent."

"It's tough for most renters however with no real rights and protections for renters, and greed and the blind eye the general norm by those distant from our plight, well as things are getting tougher for renters something has got to give and for many of us it really needs to be soon," said Ms Fleay.

Ms Keenan said towns like Bridgetown and Manjimup, country towns are contextually generally forgotten in the cost of living debates. "We care about everyone, and this is what everything is about - rights and protections for everyone, and these can only be achieved by so doing what's fair and legislating this fairness. We are all about bringing down the crazy metropolitan rents which for Perth have got up to a median of $450 per week and trickling their effect to the regions, like the South West, the Great Southern, the Blackwood."

"Towns like Bridgetown, Manjimup and Donnybrook should not have rents in excess of $200 per week, no way. We have to take into account the lower incomes, high cost of living pressures, the food miles and various subsidies taken on by families to live in community settings like these and keep alive these towns in the first place. There has to be regulatory rent practices and we have to regulate rents in relation to size of home however also in relation to regions," said Ms Keenan.

"There's a lot of the Australian Silence in country regions and people tough it out, but there comes a point where people have to speak up for the sake of bettering the future for themselves and their children, for their community as a whole."

"Politicians are taking notice and all of a sudden thanks to our campaigning they are saying that renting will be a major issue at elections. I say it will be the issue, and so many other issues are tied to it."

"We have a number of campaigns we must press with because we can't let politicians skew the conversation to just the high rents greedy investors and realtors in the North West are trying to extract from mining workers - the $1000 and much more. We are fighting these too but rents have got to come down everywhere and the reductions and rent schedules legislated among other sorely needed conditions," she said.

The WA Council of Social Services (WACOSS) found that emergency relief groups across regional WA are not coping with increasing demands from low income earners, most of them renters, and from increasing homelessness.

WACOSS said welfare agencies are handing out petrol vouchers because people living in their cars in and around country towns have to drive around to avoid fines from shire rangers.

WACOSS confirmed that a growing number of the South West's residents cannot afford firewood or bottled gas necessary for heating and cooking. This followed a report in the Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail of two Bridgetown families, renters, who could not afford a trailer load of firewood for the winter. The Human Rights Alliance paid for two $120 loads of firewood for at least these two families.
Charities, such as Swags for the Homeless, are giving out more tents than usual to the South West's homeless. WACOSS reported that in Albany three charities bought a caravan for emergency housing for families because crisis accommodation is full.

"We are experiencing more demand than ever for our services," WACOSS chief executive officer Irina Cattalini said.

Meals-on-Wheels Manjimup, run by the Home and Community Care branch of the Manjimup Shire Council, and manager Liz Lockyear, deliver hot lunches to about seventy children in their patch, usually 20 to 25 lunches are managed each day.

"If we get renters rights in place, believe you me there'll be a domino effect that will fix many things for just about everyone," said Ms Keenan.

"Everyone will benefit, and equitably so, even retailers and that's because if you lower rents, with nearly 70% of the population in private or public rent, well that's money freed up to spend elsewhere, on quality of life. Businesses in country towns are doing it tough, they'd benefit, it's a win win situation we're after, and justice for all."


And visit

Gerry Georgatos - PhD researcher and HRA coordinator,, 0430 657 309

Jenny Kaeshagen – PhD researcher and Renters Alliance spokersperson, 0412 833 733

Lea Keenan – Renters Alliance campaign coordinator,

Homelessness rates in the Kimberley are the worst in the nation and getting even worse

136.JPG238.94 KB


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

The Greens move a little on homelessness and the rental issues

Media release: Australian Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam. June 6th, 2012

The Greens welcomed the long-delayed release of the Federal Government's draft legislation on homelessness this week, and urged the Government to take immediate action to tackle the crisis.

Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the Bill represented a more realistic understanding of homelessness, but a more detailed analysis is needed to identify potential improvements.

"Homelessness is not just confined to sleeping rough. Most people experiencing homelessness are sleeping on couches, or in lodging houses and other temporary accommodation, because they can't afford a place to live. Seven out of every eight homeless people are sleeping on couches because they've nowhere else to go.

"We want to ensure no homeless people fall through gaps in the definition and we will speak with the Minister to get clarity on the use of 'choice' in the draft as there is an important distinction between choice and adaptation. The Greens will be consulting widely with the sector to find ways to improve the legislation.

"The White paper on homelessness was released in 2008 and declared an aim to halve homelessness by 2020. Four years later - how much progress has been made? The waiting list for people seeking social housing list has grown to 250,000. There was an inquiry and report released back in 2009 on how this legislation should look - and it took three years to produce. We need decisive action now.

"We need to see a commitment to at least doubling funding for homelessness services and accommodation in the new National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) which is being negotiated this year for the next four years of funding. The Greens call on the Federal Government to negotiate with the sector directly on the NAHA.

"The National Rental Affordability Scheme was launched in 2008 and provided enough incentives over four years for 50,000 new affordable rental properties. A further 50,000 incentives were promised from 2012 if demand was strong. It's time to hold the Government to this promise. Most people now experiencing homelessness are coming from the private rental market.

"For the past two years The Greens have submitted our Convert to Rent initiative to Treasury for consideration. It involves grants of up to $21,000 to help landlords convert empty commercial space, shop-top rooms, and run-down homes into affordable rental housing - this could make a big difference to the affordable housing shortage at a low cost. We argued strongly for $350 million, which would have resulted in 15,000 more affordable rental dwellings - the Government should embrace this initiative."

Feminists you are paying for it now LOL I tried to tell you.

The price of houses in Manjimup WA range from $165,000 to $720,000 (check for yourself)
If you charged $200 a week rent you would go bankrupt, you have, maintenance cost,Insurance,Rates,agent fees,interest on your loan,etc you people live in a fantasy land.
Since the feminist movement took hold in the 70's every house hold revolves around a two person income per house hold that's why things are so bad.In the 50's a house could survive on a one person income because that's the way the economy was structured but now if you don't have two people working you struggle so don't blame the land lords they too do it tuff you need to blame the feminist movement, and it is all coming back to bite you on the arse now.Children come home to empty house with both parents at work and get up to no good.The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and nobody has been rocking the cradle for years, now how smart are all the women libbers now?but no dought they will put their heads in the sand and call me sexist, old fashion or a male chauvinistic pig but my conscience is clear I didn't stuff the economy up you lot did.

No one should be paying more than $200 for 3 to 4 country rooms

Mate, the bubble economy is not the fault or responsibility of poor old renters, if people want to over spend on get rich houses that they pretend are homes for others when they're just exploiting them then the greedy can take a running jump. If someone wants to pay $720,000 for a country home in Manjimup then they should be able to afford it and not let the bubble economy costs that go with the house be passed on to renters. Lea is correct, no one should be paying any more than $200 rent for any 3 or 4 bedroom average house in the country regions.

Mammon is the root of all evil it is said.

No hope but i'm with you in solidarity

you got no hope, not without the support of the big pollie parties, even the greens won't stand up to big business interests so you're a goner but if only eh? i'm with you anyway in solidarity

it's a lost cause till we change the whole system and that will only happen when the whole system fails and falls over

There is hope!

We just have to get the number together, spread the word, bring the people on, if we get the people together we're there

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <p> <h2> <h3> <h4> <br> <code> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
             _____       _       _               
__ __ | ____| | | __| | _ __ ___
\ \ /\ / / | _| _ | | / _` | | '__| / _ \
\ V V / | |___ | |_| | | (_| | | | | __/
\_/\_/ |_____| \___/ \__,_| |_| \___|
Enter the code depicted in ASCII art style.