ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has doubled down on a rental freeze proposal put forward by the Greens, saying it would close "loopholes" in the territory's current legislation.
Mr Rattenbury, the ACT Greens leader, on Wednesday addressed a federal parliamentary inquiry into Australia's worsening rental crisis, saying a legislated rent freeze would have a "clearer impact".
ACT Greens backbencher Johnathan Davis in July released a draft bill proposing a two-year ban on raising rents, followed by an annual cap of 2 per cent increases.
It is the same model the federal Greens have called on the Albanese government to support in stalled negotiations over the Housing Australia Future Fund.
But Chief Minister Andrew Barr immediately ruled out the measure, mirroring tensions between Labor and the Greens at the federal level.
Mr Barr has said the ACT's current model is working to put downward pressure on rents and increase vacancy rates.
Since 2019, the ACT government has limited rent increases for periodic tenancies to 10 per cent of the change in the Consumer Price Index for Canberra rents. Landlords can still get around this with approval from the tenant or the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Rattenbury on Wednesday told senators Mr Davis' proposed bill would be clearer and easier to understand.
"I think they would obviously be much stronger measures that would have a clearer impact," he said.
"And I think they are more simple, even the current legislation in the ACT, I'm not sure that all tenants and frankly landlords understand it.
"Certainly real estate agents play a very important role in often making landlords aware of their obligations but I'm not sure that people are fully across the details of the legislation so therefore unable to assert their rights."
The ACT Attorney-General was also asked by Greens senator Janet Rice for "tips" on working collaboratively with other parties, given his key roles in the Labor-Greens power sharing agreement.
"In the ACT we've been doing this for some time, we have a great deal of success in working our way through things and part of the art is finding common ground rather than seeking to highlight the differences," he said.
"It's about working through, both where we can find common ground, what's possible, and perhaps what might be considered later.
"But I think both parties need to come to the table with a will to resolve the issue rather than a will to stare each other down."
The ACT Greens in May wrote to Mr Barr to support a two-year rent freeze in line with the party's federal position, prompting the Chief Minister to call on the party to bring forward a proposal to cabinet. The ACT Greens have three members in cabinet.
Mr Rattenbury had in March said the rent freeze was worth considering, but stopped short at the time of calling for the policy.
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