Submission re Cowper St 2016



28 Cowper Street GLEBE NSW 2037, 8 Elger Street GLEBE NSW 2037


DA Submission on behalf of the Hands off Glebe Group



It is well known to the Council that we have opposed this development from the start believing it to be an expression of the Government’s and to some degree the council’s abnegation of their duty to look after the housing of those in lower income groups.  We believe that spurred on by neo liberalism the Government is willing to sell every asset it can to the detriment of the people.  All that remains now is for us to modify the relentless motion to make as much money as possible and for the corporation involved to go on to their next heist.


While the whole project has been laughingly called the Glebe Affordable Housing Project this part of the project is the least affordable making it the section where the private owners can buy and the developer make a ‘killing’.  By the way in a nearby street in a private building people are paying $1200 a week for a modest flat who can pay these prices?


Size and Scale of the building

The building is not set back from the street but goes right up to the footpath making the building envelope far too big for the site.  We would urge that the building be set back from the street with some vegetation to break up the scale of the building.

There is no sympathy with the proposed development and the area to the west of Cowper Street. The proposed development will engulf the area, overshadow, overlook and generally oppress the existing residential habitus.





We have read the heritage report with extreme disbelief as we see the consultants saying the development fits into the area very snugly or words to that effect.  How can a building such height be a good fit for the houses opposite?  These Victorian Terraces on West side of Cowper Street will be completely overwhelmed by this building.  While we are not asking for a 2016 version of Victorian Terraces we are asking for some consideration for the area and some decrease in size and scale so as not to overwhelm the other side of the street.


The Council talks of a city of villages and in particular developers talk about the Glebe Village ‘feel’ of the area yet time and time again the council allows the ‘stack em and pack em’ approach we are all too familiar with.  Our ‘village’ is about to become a canyon country with deep wind tunnels passing through our area with the laughable self-granted title by developers of sensitive development.  We call on the council to lessen these buildings along the lines of reasonable sensitivity to the area.



The traffic report seems extremely inaccurate with numbers of cars at certain times unbelievably low.  It does not take into account the school, the universities and the major Broadway shopping Centre which make for a constant flow of many cars for a major part of each day 7 days a week.  The traffic flow chart ignores the plea we put into the council a year ago.


see below


Stop traffic increases in Bay, Cowper and Wentworth Streets

To: The Lord Mayor and City of Sydney Councilors and to Central Sydney Planning Committee members


The new developments at Cowper Street and 87 Bay Street will bring 700 new apartments into our area, increasing traffic. Elger Street, which has been a dead end, will be pushed through to Bay Street. Wentworth Street will be widened and may become two way instead of the current one way street. These changes will bring a massive increase in traffic, especially during peak periods and holiday shopping times like Christmas for the Broadway Shopping Centre.

We call on City of Sydney and the Central Sydney Planning Committee to:

  1. Keep Wentworth Street one way between Cowper and Bay Streets
  2. Close Elger Street near Bay Street


Name …………………………………………………………………………………..

Address ………………………………………………………………………………..


Signature ………………………………………………………………………………

Please sign this letter and stand up for the peace and security that exists here at the moment. Increased traffic down these quiet streets will result in risk to the elderly and the very young.

We must not let new developments infringe on our community amenities and quality of life.


The Hands off Glebe group will collect these forms from those addresses and approach the City of Sydney and the Central Sydney Planning Committee.



The traffic report does not keep Elger a one way street or Wentworth St.  Instead it ignores the knock on effect of these streets once the developments are fully finished.  There will be a serious blockage at the end of Cowper St near Glebe Pt Rd, and there is the possibility of ‘rat runs’ moving a lot of traffic through otherwise peaceful streets upsetting the amenity of the residents of the Estate.

We call on council to impose a traffic plan for the benefit of the residents of Glebe rather than for the convenience of developers.


The modification of the plan

Normally modification indicates a lessening of something but in building terms it is an old trick to pack and stack as many units as possible in a limited space.  We have witnessed this technique of developers to come back to council for ‘modifications’ ie meaning more levels and higher buildings.  We call on council to reject this ‘modification’ and maintain the agreed to heights and numbers of units.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Signed   Denis Doherty for Hands off Glebe





FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party



The following candidates were contacted and sent replies which are published in full below


WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party




The following candidates were contacted but did not reply


FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor




The following candidates had not nominated when the Glebe Grapevine sent out the questionnaire and were therefore not invited to respond to the questionnaire


BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party



Sylvie Ellsmore    Greens

The 16 year waiting list for public housing in NSW has been caused by under-investment by successive State and Territory Governments, who have not only failed to build sufficient new housing, but failed to maintain existing housing stock, creating a false sense of crisis and is being used as an argument that public housing is too expensive to maintain, and needs to be selectively sold off.

The Greens strongly support greater funding for public housing. Specifically, the Greens will reform negative gearing and removing capital gains tax discounts, and redirect the $6.8 billion estimated cost pa to increasing public housing and homeless services. It is possible to redirect this funding to provide housing for everyone on the public housing waiting list by 2030 – the Greens have costed plans available at

The Glebe Estate has been a vital part of Glebe for generations, and must be protected. The Greens are proud to stand with residents in their campaign to protect against attempts to run down or sell public housing in Glebe. As someone who grew up in Glebe and whose family still lives here, I know first hand the valuable contribution that estate has made to making Glebe a strong community.

  1. It is a national disgrace that in Australia, as one of the richest nations in the world, 105,000 Australians don’t have a place to call home, and that more than a quarter are children under 18. Seventy percent of young people who end up homeless are fleeing domestic violence or family breakdown.

With most crisis refuges reliant on Federal funding, and only 6% of people seeking long term accommodation being housed, a key action to address homelessness is to significantly restore and expand Federal
funding for refuges, including specialist refuges to tailor for key groups at risk at homelessness including woman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young people. At the State level the Greens strongly opposed reforms which saw specialist women’s refugees become general services.

In addition to those noted above, federally the Greens housing proposals include:

– Doubling the federal funding for Specialist Homelessness Services under the original National Affordable Housing Agreement (and index the funding by 7%), at a cost of $507 million pa;
– Signing a new ten year National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and double funding under the original agreement, at a cost of $320 million pa; and
-Reversing the cuts to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which helps people on low incomes afford the extremely high rents in Sydney.

Obviously homelessness is a complex issue, and addressing homelessness also requires ensuring there are other adequate, publicly accessible social services for the inner city.

Also, for those living in housing stress who are at risk of homeless, most of whom are in the private rental market, the Greens support national standards to increase rights for renters, including protection for security of tenure, an end to no fault tenancy terminations and the generally capping of annual rent increases to CPI.

  1. As our city grows, it is important that new housing is built close to transport – which includes increased densities in the inner city. However, this must be sustainable, meaning that new development must be accompanied by infrastructure including new green spaces, child care centres, schools, public transport and other strategies to reduce car dependence.

Crucially, residents must have a genuine say about development in their local area. As a former Marrickville Councillor I was proud to both work to ensuring that new builds included genuine affordable housing where possible, and to stand with residents in campaigns against proposed over-development in the innerwest. Too often exceptions and concessions are given to large developers, with minimal requirements to give back to the community. In Glebe, the Greens were proud to stand with in their community campaign residents to win concessions at Harold Park, but we still have far to go to ensure our laws are guided by community needs and not developer greed.

The lack of ability for local Councils to enforce genuine affordable housing targets in new developments is out of step with other global cities like New York and London, and is helping drive housing unaffordability in Sydney. The Greens support a 30%-50% housing affordability target for large urban growth projects.

  1. I support a vacant property tax. Recent research shows inner city vacancies of rental properties is very high in inner Sydney – up to 14%. Despite a very tight housing market, tax incentives encourage some landlords to leave properties vacant. This must change. As part of our housing policies, the Greens have released a “convert to rent package” which includes incentives for landlords to convert vacant properties to low cost rental.

For more details about the Greens policies please see: or contact the campaign at

  1.      Do you support greater Federal funding for public housing?


Yes. The federal government needs to take major responsibility for infrastructure in all major cities because that is where most people live and it has the power to raise revenue though progressive income taxation.


Federal and state governments have been neglecting public infrastructure for decades because they believed that cutting social spending and increasing corporate handouts would be “good for the economy”. It didn’t work. The rich just got richer while our public services and infrastructure — including public housing stock — were run down and distorted.


Now, we have to catch up for these lost decades of privation.


A major federal investment in public housing is a key infrastructure need.


Sydney’s “housing market” might be producing big profits for developers, real estate agents and speculators, but it is failing to deliver affordable and quality housing.


More and more people – especially people with young families – are finding it impossible to afford to rent, let alone buy.


At least two generations have been denied the dream of owning their own home, while others have become debt slaves to try to pay off ridiculous mortgages.


Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a study by Anglicare Sydney.


And the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market is shocking. They are total dumps!


There were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year in NSW. The Baird Coalition government has only promised to build 9000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock.


This is a social disaster that the federal government needs to address.


We need to make housing a social right. We could build quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing at a fraction of the price that “the market” is demanding.


This is also part of the urgently needed infrastructure investment in addressing the climate change emergency.


  1.      How would you resolve homelessness in Glebe?


The preconditions for addressing homelessness in Glebe – and anywhere else – are: a. More affordable housing; b. More appropriate housing, addressing the special needs of many of the people who are currently homeless; and c. More appropriate social services, including mental health services, which are all currently facing cuts.


Once again, federal funding is needed to address these needs for the reasons I cited above.


  1.      What is your view on inner city housing density?


There is a social and environmental need to have more medium density housing in Sydney. However, under the current rules and regulations, big developers are having a field day and residents and communities are severely disempowered.


Driven by sheer greed, developers are trying to squeeze in as much high-rise housing and commercial buildings into inner city along key transport corridors.


Mirvac’s high-rise plans for the Pyrmont Shopping Centre re-development and the Central to Eveleigh precinct are examples of this. Another example is Deicorp’s plans for the historic Redfern Block. And who knows what other horrors are planned with the Waterloo public housing redevelopment?


The community is never told the full story, and what we are told often comes far too late for effective community response.


The rules and regulations favour the big developers and often the community has no real say at all.


As a general rule I favour a five-storey limit on all suburban, including inner-Sydney suburban, housing developments. This would cater to social well-being as well as the community’s need to preserve heritage and historical significance.


Relatively high housing densities have been reached in cities like Barcelona, with similar restrictions on high-rise building.


  1.      Do you agree with a vacant property tax?


Yes, a vacant property tax would play a useful role in reducing the high rate of vacant housing in Sydney.


According to a recent media report, 90,000 properties are left vacant across greater Sydney, with the vacancy rate as high as one in seven in some parts of the Sydney electorate.


This adds to housing shortages and lifts rents. Basically, speculators are “parking” money in vacant buildings and just waiting to rake in capital gains in a skyrocketing property market.



Biography for Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney


I have lived in Sydney’s inner-west for 25 years and have raised two daughters in the area.


I have had a long involvement with the Aboriginal rights’ movement, especially in the campaign against deaths in custody and the struggle for land rights.


I have also been involved in protests to save public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and in Redfern.


I was one of the founding national convenors of the Socialist Alliance and I now co-convene the Sydney Central branch of the Socialist Alliance. I write regularly for the newspaper Green Left Weekly.

Tula Tzoras — Online Direct Democracy

  1. I personally support greater funding for public housing and we offer voters the opportunity to vote online taking the majority vote straight to Parliament.
  2. My view is that no one need be homeless in Australia. The Federal Government should make all property available and cap rental costs. People should not pay more than 30% of their income in rent. I have suffered having to move countless times due to no fault of my own. Housing is vital to one’s safety and wellbeing.
  3. The Sydney electorate is a densely populated area, with Westconnex weather, we can however control our waste and emissions by choosing public transport instead of cars, doing everything we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible.
  4. My own opinion is that vacant property should be put to use by housing the homeless. Otherwise yes I do support a vacant property tax. Of course my own views don’t matter as I represent the people.


Geoffrey Winters    Liberal Party

The coalition recognizes the shortage of housing in Australia is a serious social issue and the impact it is having, particularly on families and lower income earners.

The Turnbull Government is committed to a strong new economy, with a focus on creating jobs for all Australians.  Having a strong economy will ensure all Australians who can work, can gain employment.

The Turnbull Government provides a strong and targeted safety net to support Australians who are not working, spending $158.6 billion in 2016-17 (35per cent of the total government Budget).  Our safety net provides income support, rent assistance, rent assistance, and employment service support to try and help people back into work as soon as possible.

Labor cut funding for homelessness in their last budget, failing to make any provision for National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness after 30 June 2014.

The Turnbull Government has not only restored this funding, we have extended funding for the NPAH providing $115 million a year to State and Territories for a further two years.

Housing density and property taxes are matters that are responsibility of the state and territory governments.


March 2016 Grapevine


March 2016

click here for the pdf

GG March 2016


Action for Public Housing


A new organisation called Action for Public Housing was formed at a meeting in Sydney on Sunday 6 March.

With support from Glebe, Surry Hills, Waterloo, Miller’s Point, Manly, Maroubra, Illawarra, Marsfield, Coogee, and Botany, the meeting agreed there is an urgent need for a group to link all public housing tenants for a unified and strong voice against the proposal to sell public housing estates for private development.

The reality that average Australians — working, unemployed, students, aged, frail and disabled — will not be able to afford to live within 50 kms of Sydney is discrimination. Most have worked until retirement and are contributing as valuable members of the community.

Government has a duty to provide housing for those who cannot and should not have to pay exorbitant private rents, which are more than average Australians can afford. Soon only the extremely wealthy will be able to live in Sydney City and its surrounding suburbs.

It was a robust meeting, with time given to all to have a say. A Charter (email us for a copy—see contact details below) was adopted and the next meeting will plan actions.

Loud Fences in Glebe

Glebe’s Bidura House and Royleston stir up strong feelings.  Decades have passed since they ceased operating as homes for children taken into care by the State, but the hurt continues.

On 12 March, people gathered on the footpath outside Bidura. They tied dozens of bright ribbons on its front fence and signs declaring ‘No More Silence.’ The same was done at Royleston.

This was the Sydney launch of a campaign across cities from Rome to Ballarat, the Loud Fence Campaign in memory of victims and in support of survivors of childhood abuse in institutional care.

Sadly, just two days later, neighbours of Bidura woke to find the signs and ribbons cut down and strewn over the footpath.

Witnesses had seen a man harassing two women at the launch event. Was this his doing? Concerned residents phoned the security firm that patrols Bidura, but were told the firm’s job is to secure the buildings, not the fence.

Family and Community Services lease Bidura House. A spokesperson says they have no means of keeping watch after hours.

You could have heard a pin drop.


Glebe Residents Recognised

John Dengate, one of Australia’s most important folk singers, longtime Glebe resident, has been recognised posthumously by having a street named after him — Dengate Crescent in the suburb of Moncrieff, ACT.**

Gay Maley, Glebe resident and member of the Hands off Glebe committee is one of the greats of 1978 – the people who withstood massive police brutality at the first Mardi Gras in Sydney. We thank those brave people who withstood massive pressure to teach us a crucial lesson in tolerance.


Future Directions

NSW Government War on Public Housing

The NSW Government has announced a new policy on public housing called Future Directions. It is a ten year plan to privatise public property and public land and to allow the government to get rid of its responsibilities for public housing.

It is theft of public property to benefit developers and construction companies which will destroy communities and forcibly relocate public housing tenants.

Under Future Directions public housing estates will be bulldozed and handed over to private developers to rebuild with 70% private tenants and homeowners and 30% social housing tenants.

However the government says it will “aim for a 70:30 ratio of private to social housing”. So housing estates may be bulldozed and rebuilt by a private developer with no public housing at all.

And with only 30% public housing where it was 100% before, how can the government claim it will provide more public housing?

The government will start the process of getting rid of its responsibility to provide public housing by transferring 35% of public housing to community housing providers.

The Baird Government intends to increase private rental subsidies by 60% by 2025. This is intended to undermine public housing by pushing tenants into the insecure and extremely expensive private rental market – which many can’t afford even with a subsidy.

Future Directions introduces a bond of up to $1,400 for new public housing tenants. This can be paid over 3 years but where can most public housing tenants get this kind of money? The proposal will just increase the barriers faced by most disadvantaged families in our community.



Time for Unity

The Glebe Grapevine and Hands off Glebe Inc work to represent the interests of all of Glebe — not one end or the other but the whole of our suburb.

Glebe is under attack from greed and overdevelopment and the threat comes from the same enemy regardless of whether you live on the Glebe Estate or down at the point.

The beautiful heritage building Bidura was sold for $33 million to a private developer. The Glebe Grapevine objected to the sale and later ran a postcard campaign protesting against the planned overdevelopment overshadowing Bidura and wringing every conceivable dollar out of this precious site to the detriment of its beauty, heritage values, the nearby residents and the district.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Glebe, at Cowper Street public housing was destroyed and public land sold off. Public housing to be built on a small part of the site is largely inappropriate for elderly people who are destined to live in the tower blocks.

Cowper Street is just round the corner from a large number of people sleeping rough. Homelessness is growing yet the Baird Government is hell bent on privatising public housing. This is amazing callousness.

What unites these two issues?

The dominant theme here is that developers matter but residents do not. Money matters but humanity does not.

It is called greed, looking after the Government’s developer mates. It is called neo-liberalism — government hand outs for the wealthy and user pays for everyone else. This monster has a name and its name is Baird and his Liberal Government.

Since there is unity in the attack, our resistance should be united.

Glebe should continue to be for people from all walks of life and not just a few who happen to have huge disposable assets.

Let’s campaign together — owner occupiers, private housing tenants and public housing tenants united.




The theme for Moncrieff is musicians and those associated with the field of music.

This Determination from Placenames, ACT Govt notifies of the following road names:

Dengate Crescent

Dulcie Holland Crescent

Jimmy Little Street

Schneider Lane

The selected names represent musicians and/or singers who have made a notable contribution to Australia in their respective fields of music.

John Dengate  1938-2013. Traditional folksinger and writer.

Resident of Glebe 1964-2013

For over sixty years, John  Dengate wrote songs and poetry about life in Australia . His performances reflected his deep interest in history, his humanity, his sense of humour and his irreverence. Most of these dealt with the political situation of the day and used the Australian idiom . Many used irony or were in satirical vein. John also wrote songs of deep compassion about his family and everyday Australians who battle through life.  He was best known for the performance of his songs of political comment at Folk Festival or playing traditional Australian tunes around the streets of Sydney. Because of the vast number of songs recorded  for the National Library archives and his contribution to Australian traditional music, John was called a ‘’national treasure’ when being introduced at folk festivals around Australia and even at Old Parliament House, in Canberra.

His books: My Shout and My Shout Again and John Shouts All the Way, sold out and have become collector’s items. His early songs, which were included on recordings with the Bush Music Club and Rebel Chorus and The Follies of Pollies; songs About the Australian Way of Strife and a two volume CD  John Dengate: Australian Son have long sold out, but recently a two volume CD  ‘Light Another Fire’  has been made.

This CD is dedicated to Henry Lawson and John Dengate, by Chloe and Jason Roweth. It  is available for purchase / download online from the Roweth’s website Cost is $40 plus postage.

Further details:

Master of dissent: the music of John Dengate  by Tony Smith.   ABN: 90136 820 661


A model for Public Housing NSW

Housing: An Essential Service

Present Housing Issues:

  • Lack of secure and affordable housing impedes access to educational and employment opportunities for low to moderate income earners and students in job-rich areas.
  • Higher expenditure on transport infrastructure is then required to transport workers and students to their destinations, restricting labour market mobility.
  • Insufficient housing supply in job-rich areas (e.g., Inner Sydney) also pushes up house prices which are further accelerated by low interest rates and asset speculation.
  • Speculation on housing has contributed to the enormous rise in house prices. Over 90% of investor finance is for existing housing stock rather than new dwellings (ABS). The tax advantages of property ownership have grossly favoured higher (often older) income groups over those on lower incomes and non-owners.
  • Commitment by buyers to large mortgages commits large sections of the population to long term mortgage servitude which restricts their ability to access other goods and services.
  • Over commitment by lending institutions increases the risk of destabilising financial markets, particularly lending institutions.
  • Diversion of savings to mortgages and the over investment in private home ownership diverts resources from more productive uses.
  • Since 2008, while the cost of owner-occupied dwellings nation-wide rose by 18.6%, the cost of renting rose by almost 31%, nearly double the CPI. Government is failing to ensure an adequate supply of rental accommodation.
  • Australian cities are blessed with highly desirable precincts that with growing internationalisation are attracting foreign ownership, often to the disadvantage of resident non-property owners.
  • Older inner city areas lend our cities their unique character. There is a need to preserve and enhance the built environment in such areas. People don’t travel across the world, from interstate, or even across the city, to look at high-rise buildings.

The Rationale for Change – a New Model

We propose a rental-only housing model that would address these issues and would be largely self-financing in the long term. The current housing policies of both Liberal and Labor are based on an economic rationalist approach in which government housing assets are valued at current market value and sold off if their value is sufficiently high.

This is not a social policy; it is the government acting as a private investor playing with a large pool of assets.  But democratic governments are not created by society to play at being investors. They should invest in socially useful projects from which the whole society continues to benefit over time.

And, it should be noted, this so-called “rationalist” policy does not apply, for example, to most users of other government created assets. Commuters are not expected to pay the present cost of buying the land for and building say, Central Railway Station or the Harbour Bridge. Neither are visitors to state-owned libraries and art galleries, and nor should they as the public have paid for these in the past. But housing is as essential a service as health care. So why should it be treated as if the government, as a provider, is a private investor?

Instead, over time governments should maintain and expand housing supply as an essential service to meet social needs. These could be met through the revenue from a reasonable market-linked rental for those on good incomes to provide a surplus for cross-subsidising quality social housing for those on low incomes.

As with other long-held assets the average cost of each rental unit would reduce over time with only maintenance and expansion at the margin requiring funding.

A long-term scheme of this type could be likened to Medicare.  People pay as a proportion of their income during their working life and receive the same service in old age as a proportion of their pension or superannuation. If individuals wanted to take on the costs, risks and benefits of private ownership then that would be up to them but it should explore policy measures that equalise the option of either renting or buying such as offering a rebate on rent for non-home owners

Existing state-built housing could either be controlled directly by government or by suitable not-for-profit organisations. When the need for housing grew, additions to the total stock of housing for rent would largely be built by government near to areas of need using its existing land assets or where required by buying land. Rental properties could also be built by non-profit co-operatives. Of course investors could still build for rental but would now be in competition with a not-for-profit sector to provide housing for all income groups.

Funds to underwrite location-specific projects could be obtained from stamp duty and other state property taxes, as an ongoing income stream on a pro-rata basis. Governments, with access to historically low interest rates, could borrow on behalf of the administrators of rental co-operatives to build housing projects. Implicit in the above view is that we reject the idea that the sale of existing public housing be used as an ongoing source of funding.


The Model

We propose that suitable tracts of state owned land, particularly in inner-city areas (e.g.within Sydney’s Bays Precinct) be retained in public (or community housing) ownership and developed for rental accommodation across a wide range of tenant income levels, including tenants who are able to pay market rent in keeping with the policy of social mix.

The rents collected from those paying market rents would subsidise other social and affordable rental units as determined by the governing authority (Housing NSW or another suitable government or co-operative body).

The state would use its resources to administer and provide supplementary subsidies, where required, to the income of the rental housing enterprise with the main function being to ensure adequate maintenance.

Its finances and sound administration would be monitored by independent audit. While some housing enterprises might require ongoing state subsidies, others could become self-sustaining co-operatives that use rents to maintain flexible rental accommodation.

The Cowper Street example

In NSW, applied to the current Glebe Affordable Housing Development proposal in Cowper Street, Glebe, this model would divide the development into five blocks. The three blocks recently slated for sale would be retained in public ownership for rental purposes.  At Cowper Street:

  • All tenancies would be administered by Housing NSW or another suitable government or co-operative body reporting to the Minister for Housing.  All five blocks
  • They should include a mix of units of between one and three bedrooms and no greater than four storeys.
  • Tenancies in any unit should be available to all categories of tenant depending on need and availability. No distinction would be made between social, affordable or market rent units.
  • There must be a baseline for social and affordable units. In Cowper Street, at least 50% of the units should be available to Social Housing tenants, reflecting the nature of the longstanding community, and the government’s commitment to rehousing tenants displaced by demolition or sales of homes in inner city areas.
  • Tenants paying market and affordable rents will raise the level of revenue received above the present average for social housing. If the premises are transferred to a wholly government-owned corporation such as CityWest, tenants in receipt of Centrelink benefits may be entitled to rent assistance.
  • The affordable housing component would target workers who need to live close to places of employment or education in the area.
  • Cowper Street provides an opportunity to champion low-cost innovative sustainable design, in keeping with the heritage values of Glebe.

A competition could be held to produce a design that integrates with the surrounding cultural and built heritage environment.

Social Impacts

  • The scheme would allow access to housing without commitment to a lifetime of mortgage repayments. It would offer security of tenure, offering significant advantages in this over the private rental market.
  • The social assets created by relationships within established communities would be recognised as paramount rather than mere market value.
  • Access would be through a waiting list with tenancies offered on the basis of a formula that would maintain a proportion of market and affordable tenancies to support social housing tenants within the same project/complex.
  • The scheme would reduce the impulse to speculate on housing, an essential service.
  • Policies that equalise the benefits of renting with home ownership would also encourage such projects. Tax revenue saved by a cap on negative gearing (currently estimated to cost over $5 billion in lost revenue per annum) could finance tax concessions or rebates on rents.
  • In this model, common areas maintenance would be the responsibility of the renters’ co-operative and private interiors would be the responsibility of tenants and a small insurance premium would be part of their rent. Over time, rebates would accrue to those who do not claim and premiums may rise for those making higher than normal claims.


If applied widely and at sufficient scale, this model would reduce the burden on the public purse for each unit of social housing but without reducing the overall commitment to social housing.

It would also allow workers on moderate to low incomes to find suitable secure housing near their employment without committing to risks such as rising interest rates on large mortgages.

In NSW, by adding to the supply of affordable rental accommodation, the model addresses the housing shortage, without the NSW government losing valuable land, and without the decimation of existing communities.

With 16,000 new dwellings mooted for the city’s Bays Precinct, we believe that a significant portion of this new development should be reserved for housing along the lines of the model outlined above.

Without displacing the private rental market, the model introduces some genuine competition by providing secure and affordable tenancies for the wider public across a range of income levels.

Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace! jan 24 2016

Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The ten year framework on public housing released today is a recipe for more disadvantage and more unaffordability in the housing market.  The Hands off Glebe group a public housing advocate group situated in the suburb of Glebe but with links to many other groups across NSW condemns the outright theft of public property to aid the developer, the construction companies and NOT the people who need a home.

“Covered by smooth words and a few tidbits of genuine progressive ideas is the bare faced theft  of the property of the people and bestowed on the rich, a move taken straight from the neo liberal manual of less government and socialism for the wealthy.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Hands off Glebe group.

“The private sector cannot solve the housing crisis neither can ‘Housing providers’, the framework is a con designed to obscure theft and leave unaffordability a more entrenched problem for the years to come.

“Framework contains phrases such as ‘community housing providers would do a great job’, long on wishful thinking and low on reality.  It is obvious that ‘community housing providers’ have to run on a profit to enable them to grow and maintain the maintenance costs.  Like private hospitals, difficult clients and the most expensive are left to the public sector to fix while the best or most able to pay rent are taken by the private sector.

“$2 million on childcare is ‘chicken feed’ compared to the support services needed.  $2 million would only build one or two childcare centres.  The TAFE system has been run down so comprehensively by this Government yet it is expected to give damaged people the ability to lift themselves up by the bootlaces.  Wishful thinking at best and at worst according the well-worn practice of past housing ministers in this liberal NSW Government weasel words.  Shameful!

“‘Mix’ is another weasel word which in reality means nothing.  Wherever private housing is next to social housing, the private owners team up to build a fence to make the separation real between them and those in social housing.

“Old stock contains some of the most important heritage cottages and architectural icons of the past century and the bulldozing of them will not please anyone let alone those among the population who value our urban heritage.

“The stock is in a shocking state we agree but we add that is because past State and Federal Governments have allowed the stock to deteriorate, the auditor General said two years ago that the present Government was $300 million behind in its maintenance tasks.  Despite earning nearly $1 billion a month during the housing boom the Baird Government cynically refused to invest in public housing and maintenance.  Instead they spent it or are spending it on ‘white elephants’ such as the ‘Westconnex’.

We call on the Baird Government to think again about public housing and its objectionable ‘ten year framework’ which will usher in an even more disadvantaged underclass in this state than we have at present!

We call on the Baird Government to first of all set about housing those on the waiting list, the homeless, and to invest in maintenance of the present stock of social housing.  When this is nearing completion it will be time to think of a fair and just ten year scheme for public housing.

A British commentator speaking of the housing crisis in the UK made a comment that can equally be applied here:  “We are in a housing crisis that extends from the homeless on the street well into the middle class.  We have couples deciding not to have children because they do not have the space to house them.  We have people paying extortionate rents,  Yet ministers just sit there like gouty old men in the 19th hole.

Nick Cohen Spectator.  (UK)

For more information:  contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or Julie Brackenreg 0401 516 482

Visit our website:

Or our Facebook page:  hands off glebe

Get your submissions in on Cowper/Elger Sts Jan 2016

ggalert January 2016

click on this link to get a pdf of our submission aid for Social Housing at Cowper/Elger Sts Glebe.

Urgent Urgent send off to the council by Jan 15 2016

Here is the text of our emergency alert

Glebe Grapevine Alert





The NSW Government has lodged a development application for a new high rise public housing development in Elger and Bay Streets to coincide with the holiday break.

Over 110 mostly one bedroom units will tower up to 9 storeys against 19th Century dwellings along the rear of Queen Street, Glebe with another 48 in Elger Street, showing little concern for existing residents and future tenants.

The apartments will be little more than cells for the many aged and disabled residents expected to live there.

There will be no parking for residents, their carers, service providers or visitors. The City of Sydney’s new “scratchies” visitor parking permits will further isolate residents.


Most of the bedrooms in this development will have no direct light. Those with windows will look south into the flats and backyards of houses along Queen Street. Most units will have no sunlight, even in their living areas.

Units fronting Bay Street will be subject to noise levels in their rooms equal to a vacuum cleaner operating, even with windows closed. These noise levels are known to cause serious ill health and breach the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy for residential development adjoining busy roads.

Traffic will be allowed to flow from Bay Street into the development and then on to the rest of the Glebe Estate, nullifying the traffic plan devised for the Broadway development and endangering young and older residents particularly.

The proportion of two bedroom to one bedroom units is very small. The lack of family units means that families with school aged children that used to live on this site will be absent.

The bathrooms are exceptionally small and are not suited for the elderly, especially those who may need Community Care help to shower.

The kitchens are really kitchenettes and it is not clear how much storage space will be accessible to elderly residents. The lack of any living space that is screened from the kitchen area is also a problem.

There do not appear to be any laundries or any open drying areas around the buildings. There is no provision for each unit to have their own washing machine – the bathrooms and kitchens are too small. Communal laundries are a common cause of conflict among residents.


The total lack of car spaces is scandalous. There needs to be far more space for visitors parking – health and community care workers need immediate access. There should be provision for underground parking, Council would not approve any other development of this size without this provision.

The State government and the City of Sydney (which has promoted this development from the start) have demonstrated once again their contempt for the existing and future residents.

Perfectly sound and suitable public housing was demolished to be replaced by cramped sunless boxes. There is very little open space.

And that’s just the start. Private developers will add many more high rise units on the land sold off. It’s just another example of dollars before people.


The sale will do nothing to address the housing shortage in Sydney. The NSW Government has privatised over 50 per cent of the Cowper/Elger Street site by selling to a Singaporean developer, Roxy Pacific.

Most units are expected to be sold to overseas investors and are likely to lead to an increase in short-term leasing.

This certainly won’t create a sense of community within the area.

All of the site was formerly occupied by public housing.

The new public housing is to be crammed into about one quarter of the site (see above).



If you feel as we do about this new blot on the Glebe landscape, sign the objection below and post it to the City of Sydney, GPO Box 1591, Sydney 2001.

Your objection should be lodged by 15 January. If you are late, lodge it anyway. Please feel free to add you own comments.


I/We, the undersigned, object to the new development (D/2015/1794) at Elger Street, Glebe. We agree with the view attached to this objection (see above) and would like to add:








The Grapevine October 2015

GG October 2015

click here to down load pdf of October Issue

text of  Glebe Grapevine October 2015

You heard it here!

October 2015



Public Housing


Around 460 Ivanhoe public housing residents at Macquarie Park are devastated at the news that they will be moved out to make way for 2,500 apartments in blocks up to 120 metres high on the site.

The plan for a new high rise, high density estate is very similar to the plans we have been fighting for the Cowper Street estate.

Ivanhoe Estate Tenant Group Secretary Marie Sillars said it is unlikely the residents will return and the “community will be finished. It is a beautiful community here and we’re all very sad.”

Social Housing Minister Brad Hazzard says the private sector will be engaged to develop the site into a mix of social, affordable and private housing. This is effectively privatising public housing.

This is the State Government’s policy for social housing: sell off more public assets, demolish public housing and hand estates over for redevelopment to the private sector. Communities will be destroyed but private developers will make large profits.

Unelected Bureaucrats

Given Sydney Planning Power

A bunch of unelected technocrats whose jobs don’t depend on your vote could soon decide alter the face of Glebe and other Sydney suburbs. Planning rules for could be radically changed by people who just don’t care what you think.

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has announced a new planning body that will carve metropolitan Sydney into six districts. Called the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), its 13 appointees, including the heads of Treasury, Transport and Planning, will “streamline” the delivery of major government infrastructure, particularly projects such as the WestConnex which extends across multiple council areas. “Our model seeks to depoliticise planning decisions by having a board that does not need to seek re-election,” Mr Stokes said. So much for democracy!

Each of the six districts will be represented by a commissioner chosen by local councils but elected mayors, councillors and MPs will not be eligible. The other seven will be appointed by the State government.

There is a need to co-ordinate future growth but not by 13 people totally unaccountable to the millions of residents whose suburbs will be in the GSC’s sights. These unelected members of the GSC can make major decisions that override the wishes of elected local councils.

Not surprisingly, the big end of town, represented by the Property Council and the Sydney Business Chamber, has welcomed the new commission.

Time to Rethink Housing

We all know about the shortage of affordable housing. A wealthy society like ours must provide adequate housing for all. Renters are mainly on average incomes and from younger and lower incomes groups and renting in the private sector is both unaffordable and insecure. The tax system and government incentives hugely favour home ownership. These measures are inequitable and have not resulted in adequate housing supply.

We propose a new model for housing. Governments must increase the stock of rental housing with security of tenure for renters.

With a large enough stock of rental properties administered by housing co-operatives or government, revenue from those who can afford market rent can help subsidise renters on lower incomes.

Time to Rethink Housing

Continued from page 2

Once a large enough stock of rental only housing of this type is created it would be largely self funding with governments co-ordinating the raising of finance with guarantees to lenders and providing administration directly or through co-operatives and making sure social housing supply kept up with demand. We’ll post more detail on our website about our model soon.


Grateful thanks

Hands off Glebe, publishers of the Glebe Grapevine, are really grateful to three tenants in Mitchell Street. They heard we needed money to get this issue printed. To say thanks for the help we gave them with maintenance problems, they clubbed together and donated $60. We are really touched by their gesture. Many thanks.

Thanks for community action on Cowper Street

The Glebe Grapevine has circulated a protest letter about the selloff of public land at the Cowper Street development. In a great response about 200 letters have been signed and sent to the Minister and no doubt more were sent in without our knowledge. Contact us if you would like some copies to sign and send in.

We have also had a good response to a protest letter about traffic flows on the Glebe Estate. The danger is that traffic from Bay Street and the new development on Cowper will greatly increase traffic within the Glebe estate. We are contacting nearby residents to gauge opinion about this. Sign our petition when we call if you are concerned.

Glebe Grapevine Appeal

The Glebe Grapevine reports on development in Glebe, advocates for public housing, supports the heritage and village character of Glebe … and much more

It is your local newsletter and it needs your help

It costs us $500 to print 5,000 copies every second month.

We need your donations to make sure we can pay the printing costs

Please send your cheque or money order to P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037

or make a direct transfer to

Bank: G & C Mutual Bank. BSB: 659-000. Account number: 755116.

Account name: Hands off Glebe – Grapevine


Hands off Glebe chalks up successes

Hands off Glebe and Glebe Estate tenants have combined to act on long standing maintenance issues. We have had good results for tenants in Phillips, Mitchell and Catherine Streets and Wentworth Park Road.

We sometimes expand our reach. For example, with a water leak we write to Sydney Water and the relevant Minister. We even contacted the Ombudsman once!

Usually, a tenant approaches us and Denis Doherty from HoG then visits the house in question to list of the repairs needed. This is then sent with a letter to the Minister, local MP Jamie Parker, and the Land and Housing Assets Manager.

In early August, Hands off Glebe met the Regional Asset Director – South East Region from the NSW Land & Housing Corporation (LAHC). At that time we agreed that we would send any complaints directly to him and that he had two weeks for some action. If nothing had been done by that deadline, Hands off Glebe would send the complaint to the Minister and the MP again.

Following our maintenance complaints, the following steps have been taken (A fuller report is on our website):

2 Derwent Street – a sewer choke caused by tree roots has been cleared.

A longstanding stormwater leak at 105 Glebe Street/ 67 Mitchell Street. Currently Housing and Council are consulting to resolve the issue. We will stay on the case until it’s fixed.

Franklyn Street, Units 25-28 common area – Peter Wright from Hands off Glebe sent photos to Housing of damage including wall and pavement damage, and water damage in common areas. Repair work is proceeding and the target date for completion is 30 September.

Derwent Street – work initiated by resident Adam Bower to respond to vegetation management continuing; to be completed by 30 November 2015.

Joanna O’Dea complex in Camperdown – paint peeling in a common area laundry and exhaust fan broken. Resident Michael Reeves reports these as now fixed. Michael has been an advocate for his fellow tenants at Joanna O’Dea.

We believe that no Glebe tenants should be driven out
of their homes by poor maintenance.



Grapevine April 2015

download April Grapevine

April 2015 Grapevine


April 2015

Four more years of attacks on public housing

Since its re-election the Baird Government has offered no solutions to high house prices, high rents, and public housing sell offs. In Sydney, growth in rents is outstripping growth in income. Only the wealthy are able to afford decent housing.

The new Minister with responsibility for housing, Brad Hazzard, was previously the Minister for Planning, We hope to meet with him soon.

Jamie Parker, our local MP, has been re-elected and will be joined by new Green member Jenny Leong (Newtown). We look forward to working with the Greens, the Independent for Sydney Alex Greenwich, and the ALP.

The housing crisis will not go away. It is time the NSW Government took action to alleviate the plight of hundreds of thousands of people in NSW faced with inadequate or overpriced housing.

Hands off Glebe and the Glebe Grapevine promise that we will continue to fight for the rights of public housing tenants and will campaign for a massive increase in public housing to ensure that everyone has an affordable, secure and decent home.

Under the Arches

The Grapevine visited Wentworth Park to talk to people who have made their homes under the arches of the rail viaduct. The residents include people who have been homeless for many years. Some struggle with mental health and addiction problems. One is in full time work but does not earn enough to pay rent.

We were told that nearby residents treat “the Archers” in a friendly way, and give them food and blankets. Services such as Mission Australia visit and assist where they can.

Sydney City Council told residents that Sydney Trains, which owns the land under the arches, had complained about their camp. They were evicted, their tents and other belongings were taken away. Council has since apologized, and offered to store the residents’ property until accommodation can be arranged..

Council has also organized services to speak to the residents about alternative accommodation. The campers have been promised accommodation in the future, but this will mean a long wait.

When the Grapevine visited, the first cool winds of the coming winter were blowing through the arches in the late afternoon of an otherwise gloriously mild day. The rough sleepers had erected wind breaks, and were confident that Council services and the locals will provide enough blankets for the colder months.

Sydney City Council still insists that no structures can be erected and that only swags are allowed. Tents and mattresses are not permitted.

Residents said Council had been helpful in some ways. They promised not to confiscate people’s’ possessions again, and not to hassle residents who complied with Council rules. Council also provides a rubbish collection every two weeks.

Several campers expressed concern about street kids who also live in Wentworth Park. They asked: “Why aren’t there people caring for these young kids?”

Problems of homelessness in Sydney can only be solved by the State Government spending some of the billions of dollars they collect in property taxes to build more homes.

In a rich country we should not have people sleeping in parks and under arches. A decent home is a human right.

Thanks to Richard, Teddy, Nick and Paul.


Bidura, the heritage house at 357 Glebe Point Road, and the Children’s Court behind it, have been sold by the NSW Government for $33 million.

There was no community consultation.

The site was advertised as having a 27 metre height limit, and was said to be suitable for residential development of up to 100 units.

Bidura Children’s Court was one of only 3 dedicated Children’s Courts in the Sydney metropolitan area. Others are at Parramatta and Campbelltown.

A spokesperson for the Department for Justice said that “the Department has two years to identify a new courthouse site and relocate staff”.

One option under consideration is reopening the antiquated Metropolitan Children’s Court in Albion Street, Surry Hills which was closed in 1983.




Pay up, Mr Baird!

The Baird Government has more than enough money to pay for a massive increase in public housing and full and proper maintenance of existing homes.

The surging Sydney property market continues to deliver a stamp duty bonanza to the NSW government, giving it a record take of more than $1 billion in January and February alone.

The government’s last budget update in December revealed a surplus $272 million thanks largely to the stamp duty windfall. The latest revenue figures suggest that the surplus will swell further.

Residential sales alone delivered $465 million in stamp duty in January and $396 million last month.

The record receipts for the first two months of the year show NSW is on track to exceed the estimates in the 2014-15 budget papers. These forecast a stamp duty take of $6.1 billion.

If you want to help to save the Powerhouse, visit the Facebook page for campaign updates, or contact to join the mailing list.”


Cowper Street developments

You have probably noticed that work has begun on the Cowper Street site, after it lay idle for four years.

Civil works (sewage pipes etc) are being done in preparation for the subdivision of the site into five lots. There will be one lot for affordable housing, two lots for social housing and two lots which the government intends to sell off for private housing.

Earth works are supposed to be completed by Christmas. The contractors are permitted to work each day from 7am to 6pm, and to 1pm on Saturdays. They have been asked to control dust on the site which was covered in fill containing asbestos, most of which was removed after demolition of public housing homes four years ago.

If you notice dust coming from the site, or contractors working outside approved hours, call Paul Hunt, the Development Director, on 8753 9083.

Once the subdivision is complete, building plans will be submitted to Sydney City Council. Council will assess the plans and prepare a report for the Central Sydney Planning Authority (CSPA) which is the “consent authority” for projects worth more than $50 million.

The CSPA comprises four people appointed by the Minister for Planning. Until 17 April 2014, that was Brad Hazzard. He is now the Minister with responsibility for housing. The other three members are Lord Mayor Clover Moore and two other Councillors. The CSPA is required to take residents’ objections into account.

Hands off Glebe oppose the scheme. We say:

All the land should be retained for public and affordable housing, not sold to developers;

High rise, high density development has no place in Glebe. It will destroy the character and the amenity of Glebe.

It is criminal to privatise the dwindling stock of public housing and public land when there is a housing affordability crisis. A home is a human right, not just another way for rich developers to make even more money.





Glebe Development a disgrace wrapped in lies and greed 14 June 2015


The Minister for Social Housing’s announcement that half the public land at Cowper Street, Glebe will be sold to private developers is a disgrace. It will do nothing to help solve Sydney’s housing crisis but will steal land belonging to the people and give it to the wealthy.


“The Baird Government should use some of the billions it is raking in from stamp duty and land tax to start 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,” Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe Inc said in Glebe this morning.

Over the past decade Labor and Liberal governments in NSW have privatised 7,000 public housing properties. The O’Farrell Government cut $37 million from the housing budget in 2013.


“The truth is that the Baird Government wants to get rid of its responsibility for housing its citizens altogether. It is selling public assets on a massive scale, offloading $1 billion worth of property in the past two years alone.


“This is short-term interest being pursued against long-term interest of the people,” Mr Doherty said.


“The Minister should be ashamed of this development. Close to Cowper Street is the Wentworth Park Aqueduct where under each arch four to six people sleep rough each night.  The Government had a chance to build another ‘Common Ground’ establishment on land it owned in a key area yet they passed it up for a quick and shameful profit.


“The Inner City needs affordable homes for essential workers such as nurses, teachers, police and ferry workers yet only a small portion of the development will provide this. Cowper Street is close to three universities and student accommodation is also desperately needed yet there is no provision for this need.




“The Minister is repeating the lies of Housing NSW when they destroyed a thriving community of almost 300 people four years ago. The homes may not have been architectural marvels, but the claim that they had to be demolished because they were ‘old’ is a lie. Some of the 16 low rise buildings had just been renovated including a $4 million for lifts.


“The suggestion that the development will provide ‘mix’ is another lie. Private and public housing will be physically separated by a busy road and his barrier will not be crossed.

“The claim of community consultation is another lie. There is no evidence that the community supports the Cowper Street development.


“Hands off Glebe is a local community group formed to defend public housing which has been campaigning for years to save Cowper Street public housing.


“We have organised postcard and letter writing campaigns, protest rallies at the site and outside Parliament House and much more.


“Recently the Minister cancelled an appointment to see a delegation from Hands off Glebe, saying he would be too busy for a long time to see us.


“It is criminal to privatise the dwindling stock of public housing and public land when there is a housing affordability crisis. A home is a human right, not just another way for the rich to make even more money,” Mr Doherty concluded.


For more information

Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

For Hands off Glebe


visit our website:

or our facebook HandsoffGlebe