Rosie Batty has given her support to planned changes to WA tenancy laws to assist renters affected by family and domestic violence (FDV).
The former Australian of the Year (2015), who has been a domestic violence campaigner since her son Luke was tragically murdered by his father, gave the endorsement during a visit to Kalgoorlie, where she met with Consumer Protection’s Senior Regional Officer Mark Ing.
Ms Batty was presented with a reproduction of the ‘Freedom to Fly’ artwork – a commission by Aboriginal artist Barbara Bynder to symbolise how the law changes will help renters impacted by FDV to: Exit a tenancy agreement within 7 days to leave for safety Apply to court to have a perpetrator’s name removed from a lease Make a rental home safer through lock changes or security upgrades Sort out disputes about FDV-related property damage, unpaid rent or bonds Seek removal from, or avoid being on, a tenancy database if a listing is due to FDV.
“One of the most important things for victims of FDV is to know they are going to be believed and that their path forward is certain,” Ms Batty said.
“This legislation delivers just that. It is victim-focussed, giving the tenant the choice of whether to stay or to leave. If they need to go, they can do this quickly without waiting for a landlord to agree or for a court to make an order. Also they don’t need to wait for permission to change locks or install better security at their rental home.”
Ms Batty, who is now looking forward to finding a place to hang her artwork, is in Kalgoorlie this week for an International Women’s Day event organised by the Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre. She will join other inspiring, diverse local female speakers at Kalgoorlie Town Hall.
Mark Ing from Consumer Protection is also attending as he has been working with the Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre during stakeholder engagement to get his region’s community workers ready for the tenancy law changes.
“We anticipate the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Act 2019 will commence 15 April 2019. The Bill, passed last month, has been years in the making and was heavily debated in Parliament but is finally becoming a reality. And we’re over the moon to have Rosie’s support for these potentially life-saving changes,” Mr Ing said.