Deaths spark Greens’ push for renters to be protected from faulty gas heaters

Greens’ leader Greg Barber has been working with Goulburn Valley woman Vanessa Robinson, whose sons, Chase, 8, and Tyler, 6, died in the family’s rented Mooroopna property in 2010.

An inquest into their deaths earlier this year found the boys died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a poorly serviced gas wall heater but stopped short of recommending legislative changes.

Mr Barber says with more people living in rented homes, the vulnerable need to be protected.

“So if your house is literally making you sick due to its condition, you and your children could be suffering in that situation for a long time, so clearly there’s a strong broader public [need] having a basic standard for rental housing,” he said.

Mr Barber will table the bill tomorrow.

“What our law would do is give the Minister the power to create a minimum standard and we’re not talking about spa pools here, talking about basic stuff like locks that lock, running water, safe appliances, working stoves and other appliances,” he said.

Ms Robinson says she was disappointed the coroner did not recommend legislative changes.

She says it is important the proposed new laws gain the support of the Minister for Housing, Wendy Lovell.

“The laws aren’t stringent enough, so if they go to their landlord and they blatantly refuse then they’re absolutely terribly frightened and a lot of them can’t use their heating appliances and the ones that do, the impact on their health long-term is quite horrific,” she said.

She says she supports the Greens’ bill, which she believes will protect the vulnerable and she says she hopes all sides of politics back the proposed new minimum standards.

“I think that any politician who takes their time to think about community members that are in such vulnerable circumstances, the impact that this legislation can have on the community will be long-lasting,” she said.