Brisbane renters emerge as key force behind Greens’ election success

Brisbane renters emerge as key force behind Greens’ election success

Brisbane renters emerge as key force behind Greens’ election success

8 June, 2022

Neglecting renters was a key factor behind the major parties losing their hold on inner-city Brisbane, according to two of the city’s three successful Greens candidates.

The cost of renting has risen at a faster rate in Brisbane than in other capitals, incoming Greens MP for Griffith Max Chandler-Mather said.

Domain property experts showed rent in Brisbane jumped 14.9 per cent in the past 12 months to a weekly average of $500 – the steepest rise in the city’s history.

In the inner-city seats of Griffith and Brisbane, about 50 per cent of residents are renters.

Stephen Bates – who on Saturday claimed the federal seat of Brisbane after trends from 800 absentee votes showed big swings to the Greens – said rental issues were key factors in the party’s election success.

“We have a very high proportion of renters in this seat, and I think that is why we are seeing swings to the Greens,” he said.

“People feel locked out of home ownership, and they don’t see the two big parties as doing anything to combat that.”

Both Labor and the LNP announced different packages in the final week of the election campaign to encourage people to buy a home.

Chandler-Mather said the Australian housing market had failed to provide opportunities for most people to buy.

“Like Brisbane, just under 50 per cent of Griffith households are renters,” he said.

“We have seen the biggest rent increases out of any capital city right here in Brisbane, and also the biggest increase in house prices.

“We spoke to so many renters across Griffith, Brisbane and Ryan who said they were going to vote Greens for the first time because we were talking about capping rent increases and building affordable housing.”

Domain’s chief of economics and research, Dr Nicola Powell, said Brisbane now had the highest population growth of all states, which affected rents.

“I think there are a variety of different things going on. When you look at the latest population statistics, we have the highest growth of all the states,” she said.

“And the driver of that growth has been interstate migration.”

Former Greens and Australian Democrats senator Andrew Bartlett, who won 10.2 per cent of the vote as the Greens Brisbane mayoral candidate in 2012, said Brisbane’s election results were a “massive rejection of the Liberals”.

“It is quite extraordinary,” Bartlett said. “The size of the swing in Queensland, and in Brisbane, is particularly strong.”

He noted that the Greens had outpolled Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party around Ipswich.

“It is a real tribute to a lot of hard work by a lot of people over a number of years,” he said. “Not just during the campaign, but over decades, building up an organisation capable of running campaigns like this.”

The February 2022 floods in southeast Queensland were a catalyst to their campaign, but not a central issue themselves, Bates said.

“People knew the climate crisis was real. Climate change was the issue brought up to us time and time again, and the floods just exacerbated that.”