Parties grilled over help for NSW's 'forgotten people'
Financial pressures facing renters were at the heart a forum of more than 40 community groups from western Sydney.
Treasurer Matt Kean, alongside shadow treasurer Daniel Moohkey and Greens housing spokeswoman Jenny Leong were grilled on Tuesday night before the assembly of more than 850 people, made up of representatives from the Sydney Alliance.
It comes as renters' advocates point out 45 per cent of voters in the election battleground of western Sydney are renters.
The Alliance is pushing for commitments from the major parties on a range of housing issues including ending "no grounds" evictions, creating more social housing stock, and introducing minimum energy standards for rentals to help cut down on energy costs.
None of the representatives from the major parties made extra commitments to address housing stress, but said their parties would be making announcements on housing before the March 25 election.
Both agreed if their parties formed government they would meet within 100 days to discuss issues facing temporary migrants and meet the Sydney Alliance at least once a year to address community concerns.
Shahil Gupta, 28, who is a member of the Alliance said he pays $960 a fortnight for a one-bedroom apartment in Parramatta.
"I've had to pick up two jobs. Even then at the end of the week I'm down to my last dollar," he said.
"We know that almost 30 per cent of NSW are in the rental market and these are average earners, and low income earners, and that's most of the population here.
"I think just giving people that voice and the promise and the hope that things will get better just before the upcoming election helps quite a bit."
Labor has already announced it will end no-fault evictions and secret rent bidding, introduce a portable bond scheme and force landlords to provide a reason for rejecting a tenant's pet application.
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said he was open to allowing renters easier access to solar power as both major parties flag more promises to win over the group, dubbed by the opposition leader "forgotten people".
A YouGov poll published on Tuesday suggested 84 per cent of western Sydney renters wanted the government to make it easier to access solar power.
"Renters are in many ways the forgotten people when it comes to election campaigns," he said.
"There are two million of them in NSW. Distress for renters is real and it's increasing particularly with the (rising) cost of living."
The coalition has committed to a Commonwealth initiative that will see an additional 10,000 affordable houses built in NSW.