Brisbane Councilor Jonathan Sriranganathan has caused a stir after what appeared to be a call for squatting in a social media post this week.
The Greens Council for The Gabba’s inner-city district shared guidance on how to identify homes listed as vacant on census night, before releasing a disclaimer that it did not endorse illegal activity.
Watch Sriranganathan explain his views in the video player above
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The post detailed how to find empty houses in different parts of Brisbane while listing the total number of houses in certain areas.
However, Sriranganathan told Sunrise that squatting is “obviously not what we want in our society.”
“We don’t want people to have to squat to get a roof over their heads,” he said.
“We want the government to provide more social housing and get rid of the ridiculous tax incentives like negative gearing.”
Sriranganathan added that in Brisbane alone at least 20,000 properties have been vacant for more than six months straight.
“Those are the ones we need to unlock so people can have a roof over their heads,” he said.
“We’re not talking about owner-occupiers.
“We’re talking about investors making a conscious choice to leave their homes empty for months and years, rather than renting them out cheaply in the middle of a housing shortage while thousands of people sleep on the streets.”
However, Brisbane LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner accused Sriranganathan of “abusing his position to promote the idea of people illegally occupying someone else’s home” in a lengthy Twitter post.
And social media users were divided in their reaction to Sriranganathan’s Facebook post, with some disagreeing with his stance as well.
“I agree there is a housing shortage, but encouraging people to hunker down on someone else’s property is irresponsible,” said one commenter.
Sriranganathan replied that he was “not promoting anything” and the information was “all purely hypothetical”.
Meanwhile, others in the commentaries came to Sriranganathan’s defense and suggested that his critics missed the point.
“I love how everyone is focusing on the squatting part and not the part where there are literally thousands of empty lots that could provide shelter for people,” said another.
Squatting laws in Australia vary from state to state.
While squatting is not technically illegal in Queensland, it is considered trespassing and squatters have no right to remain on property.
Squatting is also considered trespassing in NSW and similar laws exist across the country but vary from state to state.
https://7news.com.au/sunrise/brisbane-councillor-jonathan-sriranganathan-takes-to-social-media-to-advocate-for-squatting-as-a-solution-to-the-housing-crisis–c-7933048 Brisbane City Councilor Jonathan Sriranganathan has taken social media to advocate squatting as a solution to the housing crisis