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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.
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.
DENGATE CRESCENT, MONCRIEFF, ACT
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:
Dulcie Holland Crescent
Jimmy Little Street
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 www.rowethmusic.com.au. Cost is $40 plus postage.
Master of dissent: the music of John Dengate by Tony Smith. ABN: 90136 820 661