Calls for evictions freeze during pandemic

Finbar O'Mallon

The Morrison government should follow New Zealand and the UK in putting a freeze on all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic, Labor says.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said there also needs to be more government support for landlords to help them cope with rent shortages.

"You can't maintain social distance and maintain your health at a time like this if you don't have somewhere safe and secure to put your head down at night," he told reporters outside his childhood council flat in Sydney on Thursday.

Labor also wants utility providers, like electricity and water companies, to show more compassion when it comes to bills.

The party's housing spokesman Jason Clare said Australians were worried about losing their homes as well as their jobs.

"Our home is our castle. In the next few months, it's going to be our fortress," Mr Clare said.

Tasmania is debating a freeze on evictions to help struggling renters in state parliament.

The government is considering income tax cuts for landlords who reduce tenants' rent, the Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday.

Impacted customers receiving government financial assistance wouldn't be cut off for unpaid power bills, the Australian Energy Council said.

It told customers to get in touch with their providers to arrange hardship payment plans.