You heard it here!
Issue 4. October 2013
RENT RISES IN GLEBE
Many Glebe residents have recently received notices of rent increases of up to 40% in line with Housing NSW’s recently announced policy of charging market rents to those 9% of its tenants who are not eligible for rent subsidies. Those tenants have been required to pay market rents for many years. This policy is likely to have the biggest impact in inner city areas where rents and concentrations of public housing stocks are high and where the NSW government is trying to get long standing tenants out of the way so they can sell their homes. In some cases rents for 2 bedroom homes have gone up to $750 per week, which is significantly higher than the median rental of $650 for privately rented new tenancies of 2 bedroom houses in the Sydney city area (Housing NSW: Rent & Sales Report #104).
Some tenants on the Glebe Estate who have paid market rent for decades may no longer be able to afford to live here even though they would have paid for their homes many times over. The new policy might also mean that Housing NSW gets the benefit of improvements made by tenants and maintenance carried out by tenants, as properties in good condition will result in a higher market rental.
If you are adversely affected by a proposed rent increase, you should apply to the CTTT for a review. There are strict time limits so get your application in now. The failure of Housing NSW to properly maintain properties on the Glebe Estate, and the fact that tenants in many cases have had to undertake their own maintenance and repairs, may make it unlikely that the CTTT would uphold any increase.
Losing even our right to be ignored
Many of us have objected to a development and ended up feeling we have been ignored. Now even that “right to be ignored” will be taken away by drastic changes to planning laws proposed by the Liberal Government.
ALP favoured developers
For decades under the former NSW Labor Government property developers and the big end of town were given far too big a say on planning.
For many people the final straw was in 2005 when the Liberals voted with Labor to pass the notorious Part 3A. This provision gave the Planning Minister the ability to approve any development, anywhere, at any time and allowed developers to choose their own private consultants to decide whether their buildings met the necessary standards.
Liberals even worse
The Liberal Government’s proposed changes will make it even worse. Instead of putting people at the heart of the planning system, the O’Farrell Government’s plan will reduce the power of local communities and their elected councillors and centralise planning powers in the Minister and unelected regional boards.
Residents’ involvement would be limited to the initial “strategic planning” stages while community rights to challenge specific, local planning decisions will be eliminated. There will be almost no avenue to appeal against controversial or inappropriate developments, including apartments and houses in our own streets.
The new law would make ‘economic benefit’ the most important consideration when approving large developments.
Community needs not developer greed
This question of planning the future of Sydney raises fundamental concerns about our society and the environment. Planning processes must be radically transformed, to be placed in the hands of local communities, in co-operation with an overall planning system decided democratically by a government in the interests of socially and environmentally sustainable development.
The people of NSW deserve a fair, responsible and democratic planning system.
Houses to Let
Despite constant claims about the lack of available housing stock in the inner city area, many people in Glebe can point out unoccupied houses in their street or houses whose tenants pay their rent but seemingly live elsewhere.
One of the root causes of properties which remain unoccupied for long periods between tenants would seem to be maintenance difficulties. Lack of finance for maintenance, poor project management and communication between contractors often mean that new tenants can wait for months for a small home to have repair work, painting and new carpeting completed. In a private setting one would expect this work, if properly organised, to take two to three weeks not months.
Complaints by neighbours regarding vermin and overgrown yards collecting rubbish where houses are unoccupied for long periods but still officially tenanted, meet with little response from Housing NSW. It would seem that as long as the rent is paid, anything goes in some cases. Most tenants struggle to keep their homes in good order and cannot understand why this rule is not applied to all.
Housing NSW – Please sort out these anomalies in our streets and make as much housing as possible available as soon as possible to people in desperate need!
Community rejects oversized supermarket
Local residents are up in arms about a proposal by developer Mirvac to build a major supermarket in the Harold Park Tramsheds. Mirvac wants a supermarket, which could be about half the size of a football field, open daily from 6am to midnight.
A large supermarket will bring in excessive traffic and create parking chaos. There will be increased traffic congestion at major intersections; far greater through-traffic in residential areas; increased pedestrian and bicycle movements across The Crescent; and parking overflow into adjacent residential areas. The impact can extend through Glebe and Annandale and also affect the Parramatta Road. A proposed new road connecting the Tramsheds to the new Harold Park residential area will reduce the park area, cause pollution, impact on wildlife in the park, and compromise safe use of the open space.
Mirvac’s proposal will also pull in many shoppers, potentially damaging small businesses in Annandale and along Glebe Point Road.
A more appropriate proposal would involve a smaller supermarket designed to serve local residents.
It’s a scandal!
It is a scandal that the NSW Government is selling off public housing to pay for maintenance of public housing while at the same time it has cut $22 million from the budget for new social housing and $37million from this year’s maintenance budget.
In the last financial year, the NSWLand and Housing Corporation sold more than 500 properties, raising $165 million.
Last year, the corporation reported a $330 million shortfall for maintaining the 150,000 properties it owns.It said it was balancing its budget by reducing maintenance and selling properties.
The corporation plans to sell more than double the number of properties it builds over the next four years.
Meanwhile the waiting time for properties has grown from two to five years to more than ten years.
All this means more insecurity and below standard public housing for tenants and more profits for developers.
The O’Farrell Government’s public housing policies are inhuman and unacceptable.
Authorised by Denis Doherty. PO Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037
Contact The Glebe Grapevine
P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0426 503 351