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.
LIES AND MORE LIES
“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: www.handsoffglebe.org
or our facebook HandsoffGlebe
SELECT QUOTES FROM SELECT COMMITTEE
There is currently underway an inquiry into social, public and affordable housing n New South Wales conducted by the Legislative Council inquiry conducted by the Social, public and affordable housing Committee of the NSW Legislative Council. The inquiry has attracted over 200 submissions. Below are some extracts from those submissions.
“Our poor should not be unfairly exiled from the city to make room for the Wealthy..”:
The Factory Community Centre, South Sydney. Submission 43
I ask you to think carefully before allowing these people with dollar signs in their eyes to destroy the very fabric of the Public Housing system in this State. How many people will end up on the streets if this breaking down of the Public Housing systems is allowed to continue? Thisinsistence that elderly people need to live in high rise buildings with lifts is a fallacy. “Vertical Villages” did not work in the UK and will not work here either. Tenants will become isolated and scared.
Ms Marie Sillars, of the Ivanhoe Estate, Ryde. Submission 37
….When we are forced out will be nothing so I please ask of you all to let the Govt know that it isn’t a good idea to destroy or maybe this Govt thinks of it as gentle genocide (not really destroying whole communities as has been done before in other countries but just removing us to where everthat may be.
Mrs Terry Tooker, Millers Point, Submission 28.
The Community here is so important, especially if you’re older and especially if you’re on your own. The community is what you’ve got. The thought of having to move form her …it’s terrifying. It really is.
“Jill” Millers Point. Submission 243
Millers Point has a proud working class history; this should not be sacrificed to the highest bidder.
Allana Walton, Millers Point. Submission 243
I cannot imagine living anywhere else as this community has always been like an extended family. We were taught respect and to look out for and help each other.
Glenda Cox, Millers Point. Submission 243
I have witnessed many changes in the area, but the one thing that has stayed solid is the closeness, support and friendliness of this unique community.
Wendy Ford. Millers Point. Submission 243
Private home owners attract 6 times more public money than public housing gets through first home owner grants, negative hearing, capital gains tax exemptions and other tax concessions…. the way forward is massive investment in public housing.
Hands Off Glebe, Submission 51.
As a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 the Australian Government is obliged ot respect, protect and fulfil the rightto adequate housing…. The right to adequate housing … is a right to live in peace, security and dignity. … The Committee respectfully submits that the Government should be seeking to create a legally enforceable right to adequate housing.
Human Rights Committee,
The Law Society of NSW. Submission 40.
The plan for those suburbs, and my premise however is that following rebuilding and reconstitution on state housing land blocks, some 70% of the rebuilt units will be sold or disposed of in the property market to private purchases or occupied by private renters in the private rental market (non-public housing tenants). Only some 30% of current public housing premises will return as public housing dedicated premises under the guise of a new social mix.
Larry Billington, Redfern-Waterloo. Submission 166
As a resident in the west ryde/north ryde area, I am concerned for the wellbeing of the 500 people who would find themselves without accomodation if this plan is to go ahead. To kick these people out with the intent of making a profit from the new real estate is just plain wrong. Please do not allow this construction to go ahead.
We are very privleged to live in this country; a country where we have the ability and resources to help the poor and the needy. Let us use our advantages for all and not only for those who can “afford it.”
And from “Precinct News”, July 2014:
“First they came in and refurbished the units, with new carpet and flyscreens. And then they started to install lifts and intercom for safety, and I thought, ‘wow!’ It was really terrific,” she says. “And then we hear that they’re going to demolish it. It was such a shock! I just thought ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it?’ They were in good condition.”
Barbara says residents and community groups tried everything to stop the demolition. “I was the last one to leave,” she says. “They wanted me to go to a new place in Lilyfield, but I didn’t want to leave Glebe, my friends and the community.Now it’s been a big hole in the ground for three years.”
Barbara Roberts-Simson was a resident of the former Cowper Street estate for 42 years before its demolition.
Destruction of Glebe Public Housing
By Denis Doherty
On Saturday November 27 the quiet streets of Glebe were rocked by chants of “Hands Off Glebe – Protect Public Housing” and ‘Stop the sell off!’ Local residents from the Hands Off Glebe group took their protest against the demolition of public homes to the office of the local State MP. The demonstration was just one of the many actions that have been undertaken by the action group.
The area of the Glebe Public Housing Estate earmarked for ‘development’ is a low rise medium density area with a long established community of 134 homes which are described as “robust and utilitarian”.
These are slated to be bulldozed and replaced by a high density development with 250 private units, shops, 80 “affordable” houses (also private) and 154 social housing units to be crowded into ten story tower blocks.
Redevelopment of the Cowper, Bay and Wentworth Streets public housing estate will bring smaller homes, over-crowding, more noise and traffic, loss of social networks and other problems – and the Government is going to pay over $100 million for this.
The noisy rally heard messages of support from the Millers Point Action Group which running a similar campaign in their suburb. Jack Mundey sent a message which said:
What you are doing here in Glebe is not just about saving your homes and your community.
It is also about helping to stop the State Government selling off public homes and public land, increasing profits for developers and pushing public tenants out to the outer suburbs – out of sight out of mind.
In Glebe it is yet another case of private profit winning out over community needs and wishes.
The rally was addressed by local residents and by Jamie Parker, the Mayor of Leichhardt. He promised to approach the NSW Minister for Housing to stop the bulldozers. He also indicated that the Greens Sydney City Councillors have swung their support in behind the protection of the present arrangement rather than supporting the Government’s plans.
With a State Government ruled by neo-liberalism so it does not provide services but assists the private sector to make more money, there is a great deal to be done to protect public housing across NSW..
Make your opinion heard
Gather in Park cnr Glebe Street and Mitchell Sts at
12 noon and march to Verity Firth’s office
Saturday 27th November 2010
We need to stop what NSW Government is doing to the Elger andCowper Streetarea development.
Hear what is happening in this campaign
Find out what you do to help
Resident ofElger St
Residents of Queen’s St
Jamie Parker Greens Candidate for Balmain
Denis Doherty – local activist and well known identity
Glebe is under attack
We have lost
- the Post Office
- Cowper Street
- Harold Park
The residents have not been well served by the ALP members both Federal and State who are neglecting us