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.
HANDS OFF GLEBE CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT
TO STOP THE SELL OFF
GIVE BIDURA BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
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.
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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.