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SA renters short-changed on reduction: Greens

Struggling renters in South Australia are still being short-changed despite moves to increase and bring forward cost of living relief, the Greens say.

The government on Thursday said it would ensure eligible renters received the cost of living concession in August this year, at the same time as people with a home mortgage get the help.

Previously, renters had to wait until March for the payment.

But while the payments have also been doubled, renters will still get only about $200 while homeowners will pocket about $450.

Greens MP Robert Simms said the payments should be the same, given recent rent hikes for many struggling tenants.

“This is a missed opportunity to help those experiencing rental stress,” Mr Simms said.

“At a time when we are facing a full-blown rental affordability crisis, it’s absurd that the government is paying a different rate to renters and homeowners.

“We know that renters are facing record rent prices and are desperately in need of relief.”

Premier Peter Malinauskas said about 200,000 South Australians would be eligible for the payments, at a cost of about $78 million.

About half of those to receive the help are renters.

“This cost of living concession won’t solve all the problems, but it can make a difference,” the premier told reporters.

Mr Malinausakas said the level of payments would also be looked at as part of a widespread review of state government concessions.

As well as increased concessions, the Greens have called for other measures to ease SA’s housing issues, including more investment in public housing and a tax on properties left vacant for more than a year.

On Wednesday, the party also introduced a bill to parliament to cap rent increases in line with inflation with only one rise allowed every two years.

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