In Cowper Street and Wentworth Park Road the plan is to excise two sites from the St Phillips Heritage Conservation Area in order to change the existing height limit of 9 metres to 36 metres. This will allow the demolition of a 2 storey building and 4 1980s terrace houses and their replacement by two 8 storey buildings and five 3 storey terraces containing 35 new public and affordable and 39 private dwellings. The housing targeted for demolition has heritage significance and one is a building of “high architectural merit”.
In Glebe – as in other Sydney suburbs — the poor, working class, elderly and sick are increasingly being pushed out. The stock of public housing is being eaten away through market sales (over the past decade Labor and Liberal governments have privatised 7,000 public housing properties in NSW) and run many more down through skimping on repairs and maintenance (often called ”demolition by neglect”).
And the NSW Government has been bulldozing public housing on inner city estates and rebuilding it alongside large numbers of private apartments to create, it claims, a better “social mix”.
The “social mix” lie
Government policy of replacing 100 per cent public housing complexes with 70 per cent private and 30 per cent public homes is justified as improving social mix. However, this is spin to conceal the politically sensitive practice of displacing tenants and selling the land they lived on to developers – that is, privatising public assets for profit.
Limiting social housing to 30 per cent in redevelopment projects is promoted because of the belief that any more would scare off private buyers and reduce developer returns.
Demolitions and evictions claimed to be for social mix disrupt support networks and social structures. Forced relocation from a neighbourhood brings with it serious impacts on physical and mental health.
And in the real world social mix is a myth. The new buildings are always separated according to whether the tenants are public or private, usually with separate entrance halls, parking lots, separate gardens and facing different streets or parks. Public and private residents rarely mix.
In the public housing complex betweenFranklyn, Glebe and Bay Streets about 110 residents are facing having their homes bulldozed and being evicted in 2 years time. The proposed redevelopment will have around 295 private units but only up to 130 public housing dwellings. The plans include 2-storey townhouses but also towers up to 14 storeys high, quite out of place in Glebe’s traditional low rise character.
High rise threat
The various government housing projects are opening the way to more high rise developments, threatening to turn the low rise character of Glebe into a multi-storeyed wasteland.
This is not new. Government proposals for the Bays Precinct include buildings of up to 45 storeys, whereas a 2017 Glebe community survey showed a strong commitment to low rise development there with a maximum built height of 5 storeys.
Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald (26-9-20) warned that “this cancer will spread. With towers on the old fishmarket site and the nearby 10-storey Mezzo and West End gentrifications, selling for millions, this 50-year slide from a culture that gives poor people space and sunshine to one that crams them into the shadows will be unstoppable.”
During Australia’s post-war public housing construction boom, governments thought their investment was necessary for economic productivity, improve public health, and support families. In many countries today funds are invested in public housing in support of sustainability, economic stability, and social cohesion. It is time the NSW Government followed the same path.
Everyone has a right to safe, adequate and affordable appropriate housing. This is essential for our health, well-being and social and economic security. Safe, affordable housing is the foundation stone that gives people a chance in life.
We desperately need a major public housing building program to meet the needs of the 60,000 on the waiting list and the many homeless in our city.
With 60,000 families, elderly, needy and all, on the waiting list, the Berejiklian Government announced today that it would bulldoze 112 dwellings of a sound, 30 year old complex in Glebe. They promise that the replacement housing – a 30% public, 70% private mix – will be a gain for all. However, this will not be so for those living in the generous, leafy, award winning complex as they are forced out of their homes into temporary accommodation away from their friends, family, doctor, schools, etc.
“As a resident of Franklyn/Glebe/Bay Streets complex, I know there will be a lot of distress caused to very vulnerable people by this cavalier approach to demolishing social housing. In previous moves like this in Cowper Street, Glebe and Millers Point people have committed suicide, been hospitalised and the stress levels have risen remarkably.” said Ms Emily Bullock.
“Some tenants have lived in this complex since it was built. They know Glebe and love it,” she continued. “Housing NSW must accommodate these families, elderly and needy tenants for up to five years somewhere else, in existing Housing NSW homes, with a promise of return. But those temporary homes could be permanent homes for the people on the waiting list.“
The bulk of the new homes will go to private owners. By selling most of the property into private hands, the Berejiklian Government fails in its duty to care for the needy. Sydney does not need any more privately owned properties. NSW needs more public housing.
“We have been campaigning for the NSW Government to invest real money in social housing and we are not alone,” said Dr Hannah Middleton from the local community group Hands off Glebe Inc.
“The CFMEU and the Master Builders along with dozens of church and other advocates have been petitioning the NSW Government to invest in social housing to help solve unemployment and social disadvantage brought on by the Covid recession.
“Instead the Government is using trickery to pretend it is doing something about housing for the people when it is just handing over profits to developers. This is shameful behaviour!” Hannah Middleton said.
The Berejiklian Government’s policy does not deliver any real increase in investment in desperately needed public housing or any decrease in homelessness.
Hands off Glebe Inc, a community public housing advocacy group, has condemned the Federal Budget as “heartless and shortsighted” for failing to fund an increase in social housing in the face of huge and growing unemployment and cuts to income support payments.
Treasurer Frydenberg committed to an extension of the First Home Loan Deposit scheme and 1 billion in concessional loans to community housing providers to build affordable housing. The Budget also includes a cut of $41.3 million from homelessness funding in July 2021.
However the government failed to make any direct investment in desperately needed social housing infrastructure and instead continued to shift responsibility to charitable organisations, a form of privatization.
“Subsidies to first home buyers mean the government spends far more on private housing than it spends on public housing. These schemes are welfare for real estate agents and developers,” Dr Hannah Middleton from Hands off Glebe Inc said.
“This money would be far better redirected to public housing to build and maintain public housing stock.
“There are over 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list in NSW alone,” Dr Middleton continued. “And the number will grow as the impact of the pandemic and recession grow.
“Before COVID-19 there were 116,000 homeless people in Australia, and more than 800,000 living in rent stress.
“Construction job losses are also growing and the sector may lose up to 205,000 jobs by next March,” Dr Middleton continued.
“But spending big on social housing would provide a boost to the struggling industry, and support the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness in the wake of the pandemic.
Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense. Investing in residents is not money wasted. In reality it contributes to progress, creating job and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services.
“Building public housing is an effective stimulus, and it’s faster to roll out than most other infrastructure projects. The National Housing Finance Investment Corporation found 9 jobs were created for every $1 million in social housing investment;
And polling showed that 60% of Australians believe investment in affordable housing should have been a Budget priority
spending big on social housing that will be key to providing a boost to the struggling industry, and supporting the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness. “Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense. It contributes to progress, creating jobs and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services.
“Instead of its heartless and shortsighted approach, the Government should have committed funds in the Budget to build 30,000 public and affordable housing units, at a cost of about $10 billion, creating about 18,000 construction related jobs a year and helping to pull Australia out of recession.”
In 2017, following a large community meeting in Glebe, the Glebe Grapevine agreed to develop a survey and this was done with some assistance from the office of the local MP Jamie Parker. 6,000 copies of the Grapevine containing the survey were letterboxed across the suburb.
The views of respondents included the following:
There is a passionate commitment to preserving Wentworth Park. Residents were strongly (60%) against any loss of green space and the loss of any trees. Concern was also expressed about the park becoming shaded on four sides by high rise developments….
With recent large residential developments in and around Glebe already congested roads have become even more crowded.
It is clear that any development of these areas of the Bays Precinct cannot progress without the development of an integrated traffic plan that deals with traffic congestion and plans future traffic flows….
There is majority (54%) opposition to any high rise residential and/or commercial development on the foreshore….
There is strong support for any housing built in the area to include affordable and public housing.
93% of respondents wanted some public and affordable housing while only 7% wanted only private housing….
The report on the survey included 15 priorities expressed by our community for the Bays Precinct development, including:
There must be no privatisation of public land.
The Bays Market District and commercial/residential buildings must be designed and built without compromising Wentworth Park, with no loss of trees and no loss of green space.
An integrated plan covering expanded public transport, traffic flows, cycle ways and provision of increased parking areas must be an essential element of the Bays Precinct developments and must be in place concurrently with other design and planning elements.
The traffic plan must include dedicated public transport — bus, ferry and light rail — to the new Bays Market District.
The development of commercial and/or residential buildings on the shore line must be low rise. High rise is not to be allowed in this part of the Bays Precinct. (Limit to 5 storeys)
Any residential development must include 20% affordable and 20% public housing.
Serious attention must be given to providing full and free access to the foreshore and walkway for the disabled.
This submission from Hands off Glebe Inc regarding the 3 precinct plan scenarios Is based primarily on the views of our community as outlined above.
The brochure states that “5 to 10% percent of the new floor space in Blackwattle Bay will be dedicated to affordable housing.”
As noted above, the Glebe community survey called for 20% affordable and 20% public housing in any residential development. However, before COVID-19 hit, there were about 50,000 people on the NSW public housing waiting list. It is estimated that a rise in unemployment to 10 per cent by the end of the year 2020 could send up to 8,000 more people into homelessness.
In our view this situation calls for a far greater investment by the NSW Government in public housing.
We also note that Principle Eleven (page 9) calls for: A place for everyone that is inviting, unique in character, socially inclusive and affordable. The absence of any reference to public housing means the claim to be socially inclusive and affordable is not convincing.
Apart from its potentially significant role in the post-pandemic economic recovery, public housing has many other advantages. Access to public housing provides stability and lowers the risk that vulnerable families become homeless. It decreases housing stress and by limiting housing costs, public housing leaves families with more resources for expenses like child care and transportation as well as basic needs like food and medicines.
Quality public housing helps create a stable environment for children, contributing to improved levels of school attendance and educational outcomes. Public housing located near public transport can help low-income residents save money, access better jobs, improve health and reach critical community services.
The number of homeless and unstably housed seniors is projected to grow, creating serious health consequences as they often face declining incomes, increased medical costs and housing that may not be designed for their needs. Quality public housing can promote better mental and physical health, improved quality of life and independence for low-income seniors. For frail seniors and people with disabilities, public housing enables them to remain in their home communities and avoid or delay moving into nursing homes or other institutions that are much more costly for state and federal governments.
Hands off 6lebe Inc is therefore of the opinion that the housing developments in Blackwattle Bay must be at least 50% public housing.
The Glebe community survey shows a strong commitment to low rise development in the Bays Precinct with a maximum built height of 5 storeys.
We are therefore appalled to see that scenario 1 envisages heights of 18 to 44 storeys, scenario 2 heights of 13 to 45 storeys and scenario 3 building heights of 19 to 45 storeys. All the suggested design concepts will inevitably create an alienating concrete wasteland that will undermine the government’s vision of building an inclusive and iconic waterfront destination that celebrates innovation, diversity and community.
With such high rise developments there is no hope that the rejuvenation of the Bays Precinct will create spaces that sit well with our Glebe Village lifestyle but also expand our horizons as more visitors arrive and more opportunities for employment and leisure are created.
We hope that the Bays Precinct will indeed become a place that contributes to healthy, prosperous and resilient lifestyles.
We do not want our bay and its foreshores surrounded by high rise buildings created for profit rather than to meet the needs of the people of Sydney. We want low rise homes that are a mix of public housing, affordable housing and private housing, reflecting the current rich diversity in the inner west.
We note with concern that Principle Two (page 9) refers to minimising additional shadowing to Wentworth Park. It is hard to see how shadowing can be avoided with residential blocks of up to 45 storeys. Wentworth Park is being gradually surrounded on all sides by high rise towers and the Blackwattle Bay scenarios add to this increasingly unacceptable pressure on this invaluable environmental and social resource.
Principle four (page 9) suggests that the precinct plan should prioritise movement by walking, cycling and public transport. While Hands off Glebe Inc supports this, it is not clear if public transport is seen as a method of delivering people to the precinct — whether to travel home or for work or leisure – and/or for movement within the precinct.
This lack of clarity could be solved by acceptance of the call in the Glebe community survey for an integrated plan covering expanded public transport, traffic flows, cycle ways and provision of increased parking areas.
We note that scenario 1 includes private cars. It is our view that the need for additional parking within the precinct and pressure on roads and lanes make this proposal unacceptable.
We believe the community will be best served if priority is given to dedicated public transport — bus, ferry and light rail.
Hands off Glebe Inc is in sympathy with the transport option outlined in scenario 2 — a pedestrian and bicycle focused, car free sequence of urban spaces with buses, private and service vehicles, taxis interfacing at the edges of Blackwattle Bay – provided that due attention is given to access for wheel chairs and motorised chairs.
The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 9 square metres of urban green space for each person and also suggests that an ideal amount of urban green space could be as 50 square meters per person.
Given that scenario 3 proposes building 1045 homes which we can assume will house at least 2 people, the WHO minimum would be 18,810 square metres and its ideal 104,500 square metres. The green space figures would be higher for scenarios 1 and 2 which propose 1700 and 1160 new homes respectively.
The Renewal of Blackwattle Bay brochure claims that its plan includes more than 30,000 square metres of new quality public open space.
The brochure states: Renewal of Blackwattle Bay will deliver new green space to promote active and healthy lifestyles and provide gathering places to socialise. The foreshore promenade will be an accessible and open path for a range of uses including walking, jogging, cycling and skating … We envisage that the Dragon boats will continue to maintain a presence at Bank Street and it could also include multi-purpose outdoor courts and a playground. (page 23)
While all this is welcome, Hands off Glebe Inc has major concerns: The 30,000 square metres include small parks, roads and pathways. While this may be appropriate for the uses mentioned in the quotation above, where is the open space for football, cricket and similar exercise?
Perhaps it is assumed that Wentworth Park is able to provide large open space for such exercise. However, the park is already overused and its space should not be included in any Blackwattle Bay precinct plan, explicitly or by implication.
The map on page 22 of the brochure shows a corporate marina, but without details and no explanation of what it is for. Is it to provide more “super yacht” berths and increased government revenue? Could it evolve like the ‘temporary’ marina in Rozelle Bay that was to disappear after the 2000 Olympics but is still there? Other mapped areas portray marinas for the fish markets and day-charters. Some alienation of public access to the waterfront could result from any of these, contrasting with the strongly expressed view of the Glebe community survey that there must be no privatisation of public land.
Hands off Glebe Inc believes that all marinas and all other services in Blackwattle Bay must be freely accessible to the public.
The Glebe community survey gave emphasis to the need to provide full and free access to the foreshore and walkway for the disabled. However, the brochure makes no mention of this essential service.
In conclusion, in our view none of the 3 scenarios present a vision of a revitalized Blackwattle Bay that would satisfy the needs and wishes of our community. The precinct plan should therefore be fundamentally rethought to include:
A commitment to low rise and no high rise residential buildings
At least 50% public housing in all residential developments in the precinct
Additional new open space suitable for group exercise activities
Greater priority to public transport within and outside the precinct within an integrated plan covering expanded public transport (bus, ferry and light rail), traffic flows and cycle ways
May Day is celebrated all around the world as a day of protest.
In the last few weeks, thousands of workers have lost their jobs. Thousands of other essential workers are exposed to the risk of disease.
Business interests have already approached the Fair Work Commission seeking to lay off workers, abolish penalty rates, and force workers to take annual leave or unpaid leave. Meanwhile, the Morrison government is spending billions bailing out big business at the taxpayer’s expense, even those, like Qantas, who have sacked most of their workforce.
The current public health orders make it impossible to participate in the traditional march and rally. Instead, we encourage you to play these songs of socialism and struggle in your street.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that states and territories have agreed to a six month moratorium on evictions for renters in financial distress unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of COVID19.
The PM’s announcement covers evictions for non payment of rent as a result of financial difficulties arising from the COVID19 crisis.
The PM’s announcement may not cover landlords evicting for other reasons or people not in formal tenancies. It would be a real shame if landlords were able to evade the ban by simply serving a ‘no grounds’ notice. We cannot leave anyone in the community behind, we cannot risk people’s health by allowing evictions for no grounds.
With the current physical distancing and movement restrictions in place it may not be possible for people to pack up and move their entire homes at all. That’s why we need to stop all evictions at this time.
We also need our governments to make sure measures are put in place to ensure renters don’t get burdened with massive debts for arrears. They could go some way towards this by putting in place measures, as has already been announced for commercial tenants, that ensure renters can:
seek rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease
apply for a reduction or waiver of rent if they are facing financial difficulties
terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress
Every Australian has a right to a fair standard of housing and during this pandemic we see how crucial social housing is. People without secure housing are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. They have nowhere safe to isolate themselves, often suffer a range of pre-existing medical problems and have limited access to good food and hygiene. Homeless advocates are calling for temporary housing to be made available as they face the spread of Covid-19.
Homelessness in NSW is increasing while the Government is demolishing or privatising social housing. We call on the NSW Government to devote adequate resources to fund emergency housing for the homeless at this time.
Climate change is here and our homeless population are already feeling the effects. The public housing system is not keeping up. First, there’s the quality on the housing. On 18 December last year, Australia experienced its hottest day on record with the national average temperature reaching a high of 40.9 degrees Celsius.
As the bushfires raged and air quality worsened, we were constantly told to stay indoors, keep cool and be alert for emergency orders on our phones. With each public service announcement, we continued to leave some of our most vulnerable behind.
There is currently no national policy requiring public housing to provide cooling systems. Rather, it is a state issue but they are only required to provide tenants with housing that is “fit for habitation”.
Public housing is often substandard and unsafe and poorly adapted to high temperatures. These added stresses increase incidents of family violence, substance abuse and have a deep impact on the mental health of occupants.
There is a housing shortage in Australia. Nationwide there were 140,600 applicants on the waiting list for public housing in June 2018.
And if the uncertainty of waiting for housing isn’t enough, once you are granted housing the only guarantee of having air conditioning is if you have a proven medical condition.
With our climate becoming more unpredictable, it makes sense to combat both the housing and climate crises at the same time. Providing existing and newly built housing with renewable energy would make public housing both more affordable and better suited for the changing climate.
[This is an edited version of “Climate justice includes secure public housing”
by Andrew Jackson in Eureka, 21 February 2020]
Scandal of substandard public housing
In 2018-2019, almost one in five homes in the public housing system failed to meet minimum health and safety standards – lacking essential amenities that most households take for granted.
Minimum standards require homes to offer facilities for people to wash themselves and their clothes, to store and prepare food, and to remove sewage.
But across the country 19.7 per cent of public housing tenants are renting homes from the government that lack at least one of these basic essentials, or have two or more major structural defects.
The amount of annual tax subsidies paid to property investors ($11.8 billion) is more than double the amount governments spend on housing and homelessness ($5 billion).
The shocking revelations come from the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services.
The figures were even more alarming for residents living in state-owned and managed indigenous housing, where 26.8 per cent of housing failed to meet agreed minimum standards in 2018-2019.
The Productivity Commission’s report shows the government spends $247 billion a year, roughly 13 per cent of GDP, on the delivery of public services.
Health receives the most funding ($109.2 billion a year), followed by childcare, education and training ($77.3 billion), and community services ($37.1 billion). The justice system is next in line, receiving $18.4 billion every year.
Housing and homelessness ($5 billion) come last.
[This is an edited version of an article by Euan Black in The New Daily on 23 January 2020]
NSW Government must change its priorities
NSW has been hit by the bushfire/drought crisis and now the pandemic yet the Government is still going ahead with a $800 million new fish market, the Westconnex mess and the destruction of public housing in Glebe’s Cowper Street.
Put you name and address on it and remind the Premier that our resources must be spent on people who are victims of the bushfires and those in danger from Covid-19 because of vulnerable housing. Adequate resourcing of hospitals and the health system is imperative too!
Congratulations to Max Solling
Warm congratulations to our much loved and respected local historian and community activist Max Solling for the award of the 2019 Annual History Citation in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the study and practice of urban social history. Each year the History Council of NSW gives the award to an eminent historian to honour a lifetime of service to history, outstanding research and scholarship and to acknowledge their broader contribution through teaching, leadership, mentoring and community involvement.
Where are our new parks?
We are aware of the over development of Glebe and Ultimo especially around Wentworth Park and Harold Park. We need a plan for Glebe. We are still waiting for the Blackwattle Bay overview.
New flats/apartments all claim existing parks, footpaths and roads as “green space” to justify the vast number of new dwellings permitted. In the community we are wondering when counting the 5 square meters of real open space per new dwelling will be enforced. When will Council force these developers to compensate the community properly for the over crowding they create?
The site of the present Fish Market will have 2,500 flats on it. The community will be “compensated’ with a boardwalk but no new park or leafy area. All these new residents will use Wentworth Park for their dogs and children.
Another example is the proposed Princes Trust development in Cowper Street, Glebe. The site has about 15 mature trees including some beautiful gum trees. They will all be killed and mulched. But the development will not bring one new blade of grass to the site. None of the new flats will have gardens. The present tenants, who will be evicted, all have some outdoor space.
We think it is essential that the City of Sydney enforce that for every new development 5 square meters of new open space is provided for each dwelling. Glebe needs more parks and more open space for all the new residents who will be coming in, and their children and dogs.
The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.
Contact: P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037
Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Emily on 0424 234 448
please download this letter and send off to the premier or make a version of your own to suit what you want to say.
from the Hands off Glebe Team
To: The Premier
The Hon Ms Gladys Berejiklian
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Must we burn off all our resources on exorbitant projects?
In view of the multiple crises which have befallen NSW since around September 2019, namely drought, bushfire, flooding and coronavirus (Covid-19), it is time to stop the reckless spending on infrastructure that does not help the ordinary people of NSW but assists the wealthy. We speak of the massive roads and tunnels in different parts of Sydney, various sporting arenas and other “developments”. As a basic premise anything that hasn’t started now must be halted and any attempt by private companies to exact penalties to be met with exclusion from further contracts by the NSW Government. Projects that are nearing completion may proceed if they do not rob the people of NSW much needed resources for sustaining us in the crisis.
As residents of Glebe and the Inner West we point out that the Fish Market can be easily put on hold. The Prince’s Trust project at the end of Cowper St which was always a ‘dog’s breakfast’ can be stopped completely as it harms social housing tenants, who are most in need of good housing for surviving the pandemic. The huge flyover at the corner of Minogue Terrace can be dispensed with in relation to the Westconnex. The Northern Suburbs tunnel opening at White Bay has barely started or hasn’t started and can be stopped. The savings should be diverted to dealing with the pandemic.
First, our hospitals need extension with demountables as the Chinese have done in Hubei Province to make more beds available. Health workers in all institutions will need some relief and support. Every effort must be made to find more health workers and those with some knowledge of first aid to do the basic tests and to triage potential patients. The list is great of what is needed in our health care system, but the State Government should not be distracted with huge projects that rob our people of needed resources for health and well-being.
The homeless, are less able to practice social distance, need emergency homes as organisations like Homelessness NSW has been calling for again, demountables and a thorough check of what public housing lies vacant could provide answers.
Our workers in State Departments must be sustained/maintained on a living wage to get them through the crisis and to pay bills for rent, food and other necessities. The state must also devise ways to support those on casual and gig economy jobs to get through this crisis.
Given the task ahead it is important that the State resources are concentrated on providing assistance to NSW to get over the crisis brought on by Covid-19.
With homelessness up 13% and the waiting list for public housing blown out to 60,000, Hands off Glebe Inc is appalled by an agreement between NSW Land and Housing Corporation and Prince’s Trust Australia to build 75 affordable, social and private homes over two blocks next to Wentworth Park in Glebe.
The present buildings are on public land and are neither old nor in complete disrepair. They already house people and housed even more before the NSW Government gradually cleared them out.
NSW Property Minister Melinda Pavey said the agreement will deliver new housing for the most vulnerable. Apparently, the Prince’s Trust is going to evict vulnerable people from the buildings in order to help other vulnerable people. The result will be less public housing units than at present.
Cutting public housing and alienating public land in the midst of a housing crisis is a serious breach of the NSW Government’s responsibilities.
The Berejiklian Government claims that the Australian arm of a charity founded by the Prince of Wales aims to create a mixed-income community. However, the area is already mixed as the proposed development is close to Westend, a new development where penthouses are selling for $2 million.
It is clear that mixed-income development is really a code word for gentrification of our suburb or social cleansing.
Hands off Glebe Inc demands that the whole site remains dedicated entirely to the public housing which is so urgently needed.
Excellent public transport is at the heart of a liveable city that is so-cially just and efficient. Instead of pushing an agenda of destructive and expensive tollways we have been pressing for more ferry ser-vices to reduce road congestion and pollution.
Along with thousands of residents, we are campaigning for new ferry stops for Glebe, Annandale and White Bay and the return of services to the West Balmain ferry wharf.
Over 5000 locals have already signed a petition in support of our plan and a feasibility study completed by my office shows the proposals will work.
Our city needs more publically owned public transport. I’ve already met with the Minister for Transport to present the case for new local ferry services and I’m confident these efforts are making an impact.
We’re pushing for a service that is compatible with the current Opal system to provide more direct routes into the city.
Even if we can win a trial service, I am sure it will be a success and can then be integrated into the wider fer-ry network. Watch this space.
I’ve only lived in Glebe for six years, and even in that short time, I’ve witnessed the confusion that surrounds the big plans for the Bays.
Many of you with longer memories than mine have masterplan fa-tigue: for 20+ years NSW Governments have stopped and started with plans for the Bays Precinct.
A 2014 report commissioned by the City of Sydney documents a long and checkered history, noting that “over the past 17 years there have been a myriad of strategic plans, policies and Master Plans developed for the Bays Precinct area which have set out various principles, ob-jectives and actions for the future redevelopment of the predominantly publicly-owned land.”
Five years later, there’s no sign of progress or greater clarity. Plans for the Sydney Fish Market – surely a crucial part of the Bays – are scheduled to be released before any masterplan. Community groups have been assured they’ll be released any day now.
Before the Fish Market is moved, or any other Bays projects devel-oped, we must call on the NSW Government to not start from scratch, but to go back through the masses of consultation for the Bays and to commit to the principles that have been repeatedly championed by the community: accessible open public space including sports fields, affordable housing, public transport options and pedestrian and cycle access, to be delivered using a holistic and strategic approach.
State Significant Precinct
As a “State Significant Precinct”, the Bays Precinct is subject to state planning controls, rather than Council oversight. This is part of a disturb-ing trend – more than 274 hectares of land in the City of Sydney alone have been carved out as State Significant Development (SSD).
The new NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, has spoken out against spot rezoning, saying “It’s no surprise that people get angry when things happen that they didn’t expect.” Swarms of SSD in our neighbourhoods are having the same impact: we must call on the Minis-ter to bring certainty back to the planning system and end the over-reliance on SSD.
Glebe, Ultimo and Pyrmont will soon come under siege by a number of major projects. In 2019, despite years of planning and masterplan-ning, there is no overarching vision, and these proposals fail to con-sider the cumulative impact of other state-led developments on our local area.
For over 15 years, the City has demonstrated our ability to plan, coor-dinate and assess large-scale development to balance growth and the amenity of residents. And what we see now is the gradual, but unmis-
takable, erosion of our role and planning responsibilities as a local government authority. It is deeply disappointing that residents can’t have the City of Sydney and our expert Central Sydney Planning Committee reviewing these large-scale developments on their behalf.
To echo the sentiments of Lord Mayor Clover Moore “We must work with our community to demand that the NSW planning system is over-hauled and reformed, that transparency and consistency are reintro-duced as guiding principles, that the same rules apply to all and for an end to the rampant overdevelopment that has been allowed un-checked.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please write to the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, and the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian calling for an end to State Significant Precincts and State Significant Devel-opments so that planning controls may be returned to local over-sight.
They can be contacted at the NSW Government Minister website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/ministers/ or
The Hon. G. Berejiklian, MP GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001
The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001