The Grapevine October 2015

GG October 2015

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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.





The Glebe Grapevine Feb 2015

You heard it here!


February 2015


On Saturday 28 March NSW will go to the polls to elect a new State Government. Hands Off Glebe asked the candidates for the seat of Balmain — Jamie Parker (Greens), Verity Firth (ALP) and Lyndon Gannon (Liberal) — 9 questions about the future of public housing in Glebe.  Here are their replies.


  1. What should happen to the vacant land in Cowper Street?

Jamie – I will continue to advocate for public housing to be built – and soon – on the vacant land in Cowper Street.

Verity – We cannot allow this rare opportunity to expand affordable housing options in the Inner West to be stalled any longer or lost altogether. It is time to get on with the job of redeveloping the site for the purpose that was intended for it. While I believe a mixture of private, affordable and public dwellings is the right approach and would produce the best social outcomes, the priority of any proposed development must be the provision of accommodation for low income and disadvantaged individuals and families.

  1. Should any of the Cowper Street land be sold to private interests?

Jamie – No, I do not support any part of this land being sold to private interests.

Verity – I would support a development application for the site that provided a greater proportion of the housing mix for affordable housing and public housing.

Our comment: At a rally on 25 November 2014, Verity said there should be 100% public and affordable housing on the site. What has caused her to change her mind?

  1. How many units would your party, if elected, build on the Cowper Street site?

Jamie – The scale and density of development should be compatible with existing development in Glebe. This would mean no more than about 250 units on the site.

Verity – The final design, scale and height of the development must be subjected to extensive consultation with the local community and in keeping with the suburb’s heritage and character.

Our comment – Hands off Glebe has extensively consulted with the community since 2008 when the Cowper Street project was first mooted. There is very little support for high rise high density development in Glebe.

  1. Would all those units be retained as public housing? if some other arrangement is planned would you please outline it to us?

Jamie – Yes, with a mix of affordable and social housing.

Verity – Verity did not answer this question. See her response to questions 1 & 2, which suggests she supports some development on the site being in private hands.

  1. Would your party build units on the Cowper Street land more than 4 storeys high?

Jamie – No, this would be out of character with other development in Glebe.

Verity – Verity did not answer this question, and has not ruled out high rise development. See question 3.

  1. Does your party support the “social cleansing” of the city by moving public housing tenants out of areas such as Glebe, Millers Point, Redfern-Waterloo and Surry Hills?

Jamie – Absolutely not. The sell-off of public housing in Millers Point is a disgrace, and a betrayal of the community who lives there. Many families in Millers Point have lived there for generations. All “high value” homes are these days a potential target for evictions and sales. The Liberal government is continuing the former Labor government program which has seen the sale of so much public housing in Glebe. Their approach is an attack on the most vulnerable members of our community, and a threat to diversity and social inclusion.

Verity – NSW Labor opposes the social dislocation now being inflicted on the tenants of Millers Point by the current government and if elected, will put a stop to any further sell off of these properties. Labor is committed to the retention of the Glebe estate. Labor has also demonstrated that it is prepared to invest in the maintenance of these heritage homes. Labor’s approach is at complete odds with the Liberal government’s current policy of simply selling heritage homes and cruelly evicting tenants.

7…If not, what does your party propose to do to retain public housing neighbourhoods in the city area?

Jamie – The Greens will continue to oppose the sell-off and will call for increased expenditure on public housing. The Greens are opposed to massive subsidisation of private investors in the housing market, as this serves to skew the housing market without necessarily providing affordable, secure and decent housing for those in need.

Verity – Verity did not answer this question. See question 6.

  1. Does your party support the sale of public housing homes in Glebe and, if so, to what extent?

Jamie – No. There is no lack of demand for housing in Glebe and all public housing properties should be retained.

Verity – Verity did not answer this question. See question 6.

  1. Is your party committed to the proper maintenance of public housing homes in Glebe?

Jamie – Yes. There is a need for greater expenditure on public housing maintenance to address the $300M backlog. As well, the Greens have called upon the NSW Government to review its existing arrangements with maintenance contractor Spotless as service delivery has been very poor.

Verity – In the last term of the Federal and State Labor governments over $9.2 million was devoted to maintenance work for inner city public housing. In this tranche of the federal government’s stimulus program, $2.5 million was spent on maintenance work for 724 homes in Glebe. This expenditure was on top of the state Labor government’s existing maintenance budget.



Lyndon Gannon, Liberal candidate for Balmain, did not answer our questions but instead chose to send us a general statement.

The NSW Government inherited a social housing system that was unfair and unsustainable.

Since 2011, the NSW Government has worked hard to make the social housing system stronger, fairer and better.

We have made waiting lists transparent to help people make better decisions, run amnesties to crack down on those rorting the system, introduced measures so more people can access social housing and made decisions like Millers Point which will mean money for new homes and maintenance. However, there is more to do. The social housing discussion continues to face significant challenges.

That is why the NSW Government has released the Social Housing Discussion Paper which will guide future reforms. The Discussion Paper is based on three pillars: a social housing system that provides opportunity and pathways for client independence, a social housing system that is fair and a social housing system that is sustainable.

Our comment – Lyndon says nothing about injecting more money into housing. New housing is to be built by selling off homes in the inner city, cracking down on “rorters”, and promoting “independence.” A talkfest is not going to solve the massive shortage of affordable housing.

OUR VERDICT—In the race to provide a good policy on public housing, the clear winner is Jamie Parker. Verity Firth comes second and Lyndon Gannon last.


The winners were:

First prize        J. Simpson, Glebe;       2nd prize       I. Kirby, Glebe
3rd       donated to Centipede;           4th         A. Yates, Stanmore

Hands off Glebe expresses its appreciation and thanks to
the local businesses which donated the raffle prizes.

            Alfie and Hetty restaurant            Mr Falcon’s

            Galuzzo’s                                                      GleeBooks



Read the Hands off Glebe submission to the NSW Government’s Discussion Paper on Social Housing at

Read the Hands off Glebe leaflet protesting against the sale of Bidura at


Like us on Facebook — find us at handsoffglebe

Grapevine December 14 2014 issue


You heard it here!

The Grapevine wishes all our readers a happy
Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year
in a secure, decent and affordable home.

December 2014

Bays Precinct: Democracy or Profit?

Despite denials, it is clear the Baird Government is determined to ignore the community and international experts, and hand over our precious public harbour lands to private developers motivated only by profit. The community has developed Public Interest Principles which call on the NSW Government to:ensure that the Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Project follows a democratic and open process; enables public and private interests to come together creatively and imaginatively; ensures that the outcome will be a worthy of the site and of Sydney’s status as a global city; and properly protects the public interest.

Program for housing reform

In our next edition, the Grapevine will publish the responses of candidates for the 2015 State Election to our questions about housing. On page 2 of this issue, we set out the Hands off Glebe  program for housing reform.

The Mezzo—half baked

Developers of the site at the corner of Bay Street and Wentworth Park Road have lodged a DA with Sydney City Council. They want to build 213 units plus 4720m2 of commercial and retail space, in a 33 metre high development plus 2 levels of basement parking. If approved, it will be the densest development in Glebe. The site is particularly ill suited for such intense development because of noise and flooding. Undeterred by practicalities, the developers have been flogging unit sales for months. There are also serious fire risks in the current design.


The Grapevine marks the death of Gough Whitlam. Among his achievements, he, and Tom Uren, gave us the Glebe Estate. At the time of the Whitlam Government, Liberals and Labor alike supported public housing. Like clean water and public education, access to decent housing was a cornerstone of a fairer society, where opportunity was not just squandered on the rich. Secure, affordable housing improves access to education and employment, and lessens dependence on health and welfare services.

Hands off Glebe’s  program for housing reform includes:

  • Public housing should be available to all who need it, who earn less than $90,000 per annum, and should consume no more than 25% of income.
  • Stop knocking down and selling off our homes. Housing is more than bricks and mortar. It is community, diversity and heritage.
  • Stop selling public land, including the 80 hectare Bays Precinct.
  • Recognize tenants’ rights to stay in their homes, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Catch up with the maintenance backlog, with local maintenance teams employed by local housing offices.
  • Treat public housing tenants with respect.
  • Stop wasting public money on privately owned affordable housing schemes which benefit only the developers.
  • End negative gearing, which pushes up the price of housing by subsidizing speculation and tax avoidance.
  • The NSW Government reaps enormous and increasing revenues from housing by way of stamp duty and land tax. This year the budget is in surplus by $1.2 billion. Dedicate the income stream from these property taxes to build tens of thousands of new homes in New South Wales, thereby:

î  Providing homes to those on the waiting list.
î  Introducing real competition into the housing market. At present, developers build what they want, and charge what they like.
î  Creating jobs.

  • Recognise social housing as part of the whole housing sector, not part of the shrinking welfare system.

When affordable doesn’t mean affordable

What do you think when you hear the government talk about “affordable housing”? Inexpensive? Reasonably priced? Cheap enough for everyone to afford?

A rough estimation of affordability is 30% of gross income. This should leave enough to pay tax and other expenses like food, clothing, utilities, transport and medical costs.

In Australia there are a number of ‘affordable’ housing programs but the most common funding models are:

  1. a) a market rent reduction. This model is generally used by private developers who get a planning concession (for example more floors, smaller units) or a subsidy of up to $100,000 in return for providing some ‘affordable’ units generally for a limited period of time (often 10 years). The tenant in this model will pay 75% to 80% of the market rent.
  2. b) an income based model. This model is sometimes be used by government funded community housing providers. Some of the units are offered to a mix of people on very low and low to moderate incomes.

What do these two models mean in practice for someone living and working in Sydney?

Statistics kept by the NSW Government show that in the June quarter of 2014 the average market rent for a one bedroom unit in inner Sydney is $500 per week.  75% to 80% of the market rent means the tenant pays $375 to $400 per week. Using the 30% rule that person will need to earn $69,333 per year which is just under the median Sydney income. So a single person with an income of less $69,000 is unlikely to qualify for one of these units.

What about the second model? In the second model the landlord provides a mix of housing for people on very low to moderate incomes.  Only a small number of the units will be made available for those on very low incomes (defined as less than 50% of the median income $37,544). The remainder will be given to single people who earn between 51% (37,544) to 120% of median income ($90,105).

In addition because landlords usually want to maximise their income it is in their financial interests to house those households with an income as close as possible to the income limit. Again this means that those on an aged pension or on the minimum annual wage of $31,512 are unlikely to get access to this housing.

So next time someone tells you they are building affordable housing, ask how the rent will be calculated and  how many single people on a pension or on a minimum wage may be allocated one of those units.

You may be surprised how hard it is to get a direct answer.

What’s the difference?

Since Hands Off Glebe has been actively working in Glebe there have been many small victories and changes.

Hands off Glebe has been constant in keeping this and similar issues in the public eye through postcard and letter writing campaigns, petitions and protest gatherings and rallies in Glebe and outside Parliament House where we have twice met with Parliamentarians from different parties.

Hands off Glebe has been active in making submissions to enquiries into public housing, City of Sydney development proposals and letter writing to politicians.

Hands off Glebe members have attended a large number of public meetings focussing on public housing.

We aim to speak in the interests of public housing tenants and pushed for government commitment to the maintenance of public housing. We have joined with the tenants in Miller’s Point and formed links with other tenants groups in Sydney.

We  produce this newsletter, the Glebe Grapevine. Every second month a wonderful team of volunteers letterboxes over 5,000 copies across Glebe.

On the local front we have acted as advocates for a number of tenants on the Glebe Estate, Our campaign to Fix the Fences which involved a You Tube clip, meetings with FACS and letters to the Minister has resulted in a large number of fences being repaired and restored.

Some of this may have been “programmed maintenance” but  any of the fences we featured on social media were fixed within weeks, after years of tenants making complaints.

Hands Off Glebe has been busy making a difference.

Authorised by Denis Doherty. PO Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037

The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.

Contact: P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037.

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663


Grapevine Oct 2014

October 2014

Government must invest in public housing

Recent comments by NSW housing Minister Gabrielle Upton are revealing as to the thinking of the NSW Liberal government. Ms Upton said that public housing properties at The Rocks, which her department is in the process of selling off, were “not suitable for public housing” even though many tenants had spent a lifetime there. What she really meant was that, in her eyes, unless you can afford a multi-million dollar mortgage or pay thousands a week in rent, you don’t deserve to live in a nice house in a pleasant area.  Ms Upton it seems would rather move such people far from where many of them were born and had built communities and raised families. It also suits the NSW government agenda because the Abbott government has promised a 15 per cent bonus to the states for privatising public assets.

Upton claims that “it is simply not fair” to those on the social housing waiting list for the government to maintain these properties. If so, the question arises – why were these properties allowed to decay over the decades under both Liberal and Labor and why are the most vulnerable expected to pay the bill? It is also strange that these and other inner city properties were suitable for low income people when they were regarded as “slums”. The fact is spending on housing by governments has been falling for decades even though the private market in places where jobs are available is increasingly failing to provide sufficient housing stock at affordable prices.  That’s partly because high density housing has a bad name after some monstrous public housing blocks in places like Waterloo and the failure of successive governments to create an efficient public transport network.

But it is also because there are no votes in public housing. That view has to change. There is no economic reason why governments cannot build attractive, affordable housing that can be rented out to those on moderate incomes.

This problem is not confined to Australia, and stems from the philosophy that everything can be provided by the private sector and that anything governments do is “useless” or, if not, unaffordable. It’s a view that refuses to tax those who can afford it the most, including big business. Why? Because big business centred propaganda backed up by right-wing media have captured government policy through political donations, threats or outright bribery.

Bureau of Statistics figures show that back in 1983/84 state and federal governments contributed over 10% of total dwellings approved that year (Source ABS 8731.0). By 2013/14 that contribution had fallen to 1.5%. And while the population had increased by 33% over that time, the total number of all dwellings, both private and public being approved each year had increased by only 21%, despite massive subsidisation of property investors, through negative gearing and depreciation allowances. If government had continued to make the same percentage contribution it made in 1984 there would be another half million dwellings in Australia.

Government assistance for housing has been either ineffective or has arguably made the problem worse. Rental assistance, while essential for individuals, only increases the demand for limited rental accommodation and first home owner assistance just raises home prices if not enough homes are being built. The real answer is to increase housing stock and governments must play a greater part.


Bays Precinct — another Barangaroo?

On August 4 a packed meeting heard that community representatives on the Bays Precinct Taskforce had been pushed aside as the Baird Government declared full steam ahead with its Bays Precinct plans. The Bays Precinct consists of 80 hectares of public land including the heritage listed White Bay Power Station, Glebe Island, White Bay, Rozelle Bay, Rozelle Rail Yards, Blackwattle Bay and the Sydney Fish Market.

The development will be directed by UrbanGrowth NSW, a government body made up of business, real estate, media and Liberal Party representatives.

The main theme to emerge from the meeting is that consultation in Sydney is a farce. It is just an information session and then the developers, the State Government and the City Council do what they like.

The meeting was united on the need to mobilise our combined frustrations into a coherent rejection of what is proposed. Unless there is significant resistance to the Baird Government’s proposals, Glebe and the other suburbs surrounding the Bays Precinct will swamped by high rise, increased traffic and a loss of quality of life. Barangaroo again!

The Glebe Grapevine suggests the Bays Precinct development should focus on at least 70 per cent social and affordable housing, parks and job creation through a working harbour. We do not need another private residential development with the cheapest home at over $875,000,. We need homes for people on low incomes.

Public housing inquiry finds major problems

The release of the report from the NSW parliamentary inquiry into social, public and affordable housing, initiated by The Greens, has recommended key areas for reform tothe housing crisis. The report vindicates the views of tenants and their supporters that the current system is unsustainable, needs tenant involvement and lacks investment.

The inquiry recommends the State consider appointing a dedicated Housing Minister and establishing an advisory council. It also highlights the government’s failure to deliver policies for the future of social and affordable housing. So no strategy, no planning, so investment. Just more sell-offs and more frustration for public housing residents and those on the ever-increasing waiting lists

It found a great deal of secrecy around the widely condemned sell-off of public housing in Millers Point. It also found the sale of public housing started under Labor will continue under the Liberal government. Rather than providing more desperately-needed housing, the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by these sales will  be quickly swallowed up by the bureaucracy and the massive maintenance deficit that the previous Labor government allowed to blow-out. There is no commitment for new investment in new housing from these and other housing sales.

There is currently a waiting list for housing of 58,000 households. In the next two years, an extra 28,000 households are expected to join that queue.

The findings of the inquiry should be adopted by the government as a start to address the housing crisis.

We need to work together to pressure the government to support public housing tenants, stop the sell off and build more urgently needed houses.


Cowper Street Postcards

Hands off Glebe has launched Cowper Street postcards calling on the government to use the whole site for public and affordable housing. The postcards are in Glebe shops or text Cowper Street to 0418 290 663 to sign a card and get your friends and family to do the same.

Democracy denied

Thanks to the support of the New South Wales government and Fred Nile, the Shooters and Fishers Party’s plan to remove the long-standing democratic principle of one-vote-one value from local government elections became a reality when legislation was passed on 17 September.

In a blatant attempt to gerrymander the system, business will now have two votes in City of Sydney elections while residents will have only one. The compulsory double business vote is clearly intended to give power to the Liberals and developers and to defeat Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s team

Premier Baird has taken us back over 100 years!  We need to resist these new voting rules. Send us your views to or mail us at the address below.

Glebe Community Development Project Funding Cut

The Glebe Community Development Project (GCDP) has been told by Housing NSW that its funding ($35,000 pa) will cease from December 2014. GCDP work increases residents’ participation in a range of community activities, reduces social isolation and makes a significant contribution to the social well-being of the community. Support Sydney Council request to the NSW Government to continue funding the project.

Spotless Campaign Rolls On

We have received a lengthy but unsatisfactory reply from the corporate regulator ASIC and nothing from the NSW Government except to say they are considering a reply to our letters. Federal Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann has not replied at all to our letter sent in July.

We ask public housing tenants to send us details of the time taken for repairs to be done, how many times they had to come back and finish the job. We need a dossier on Spotless. Help us build it. Your details will not be made public. Contact us at the address below.

Support our Local Historian

Max Solling, Glebe’s great local historian, has just published a new book on the history of the Manning area (Taree, Wingham, etc). Max originally came from Taree but their loss is our gain!  Buy his book Town and Countryfrom Gleebooks.  In this month when the NRL has held their Grand Final Max’s other book An Act of Bastardry about how the Glebe Rugby League Club was axed by NSWRL is very timely.



Glebe Street Fair—Sunday 16 November


The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.

Contact: P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037.

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0426 503 351



July Grapevine read it here


You heard it here!

July 2014

Mixed News in NSW Budget

by Jamie Parker MP

There is mixed news in the NSW Budget for the Glebe community.The good news is that our work to get more money for repairs and upgrades is paying off. The budget for upgrades (on top of repairs) has increased again for our area with $3.410 million being allocated this year.

The sad tale of the housing in Cowper Street continues. Despite allocating over $12 million this year for construction it is still not due for completion until 2017. The plans still include selling off a large section for private housing despite the urgent need for more social and affordable housing.

The Liberal Government is continuing the Labor policy of selling houses to meet budget shortfalls. In the same way we stopped the sale of Glebe Youth Service we need to oppose the selling of public housing, maintain homes properly and ensure tenants are respected and valued.



Barney Gardiner of Millers Pt explains issues to the Public Meeting organised by Hands off Glebe.

Glebe residents met with Millers Point residents to combat the latest attacks on public housing.

Homes considered to be slums in the last century are now a property developer’s dream and the NSW Government wants to sell, sell, sell.

The previous and current NSW Governments between them have notched up over 200 relocations from Glebe and 500 from Millers Point public housing properties.

These relocations are usually made with the threat of tenancies being terminated if the offers are not accepted.

Hands Off Glebe is speaking to politicians from all parties about the future of public housing in this suburb. When they come doorknocking, ask them:

Does your party support ‘social cleansing’ of the city?

What will your party do to retain public housing in the city?

Does your party support the sale of public housing in Glebe?

Will your party properly maintain public housing in Glebe?

Will your party retain Cowper Street for public housing?

Who is spreading fear in the community?

Many Glebe public housing tenants fear what is going to happen to them. As a result some become immobilized and stay silent. Hands off Glebe is telling tenants the truth and is trying to help the community find its voice in opposition to these cruel and unjust policies.  This is a time to fight back, not a time for fear and silence.


Spotless has the contract for maintenance of public housing. We hear many complaints that Spotless takes ages to get anything done and that the work is often substandard and requires many call backs to fix the mess.

In May Spotless was launched on the stock exchange and the private shareholders raked in almost $1 billion for half their shares. The CEO made a cool $23 million on the deal.

The new Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, claims her department is spending an extra $1.5 million on upgrading works in Glebe, including a large re-roofing program.As far as we can see, the results have been hit and miss, with a surprising number of homes by-passed altogether.

We think a better approach would be to get rid of Spotless and set up a local maintenance team of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers and builders, who can take on and train locals.

In the meantime, if you need work done on your home and don’t have a spare lifetime to spend trying to get through on the maintenance line, call the Team Leader at Housing NSW’s Strawberry Hills Office on 9268 3480, or send a letter to:
Housing NSW, Strawberry Hills Office
219 – 241 Cleveland Street, Redfern NSW 2016


Australia’s first women’s refuge, Elsie, was established in Glebe in 1974. Last week manager Tanya Smith learned the service was to be taken over by St Vincent de Paul.

Under the NSW Government’s Going Home Staying Home program, 336 individual services have been consolidated into 149 packages operated by 69 non-government organisations.

Under the changes, women-only services will no longer exist as they do today and women dealing with trauma and sexual abuse may be offered counselling participation in residential programs with men. For women who have experienced domestic violence, such options are unacceptable and will therefore not provide them with practical assistance.

‘‘We don’t actually know what will happen with the service until they make some kind of announcement about the direction they want to take,’’ Tanya Smith said. ‘‘We hope it would still be kept as Elsie and as a domestic violence service for women and children.’’

Write to the Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, asking her to reconsider the Going Home Staying Home program because of the impact it will have on services offered by Elsie to vulnerable women and children in inner Sydney.

That Leak — What Next?

 that leak2


The leak behind Mitchell Street has been fixed.  This is the culmination of a 12 month campaign by Hands of Glebe. After a lot of buck passing between Housing NSW, Sydney Water and Sydney City Council, Housing NSW finally fixed their part of the problem. However, there is still storm water which is a Sydney City Council responsibility.

Hands off Glebe has asked Councillor Irene Doutney to get Council to replace the parking signs in the lane so it can be cleaned efficiently without parked cars getting in the way. We have also asked that the gutters be reconstructed to facilitate easy draining of any storm water overflows.




Raffle results

First prize          Joyce
Second prizes Glebe Grapevine Bags       Kate, Maurice

Hands off Glebe Inc thanks ESCA  for donating the raffle prize.

ESCA restaurant 333B Glebe Point Road Glebe NSW 2037

Garden notes

Mulberry trees fruit in September, We will be looking for good fruiting trees so we can make jam to raise funds for our work. Can anyone help us on this?


As always we provide free worm liquid fertilizer and castings to interested people around Glebe.  Contact us if you can use some of this material.












The Glebe Grapevine April 2014


You heard it here!

April 2014




Wednesday 7 April

7 — 8.30pm

Old Fire Station
113 Mitchell Street, Glebe


Tenants from Millers Point
tell of their fight to save their homes

Hear the latest plans for Cowper Street


Support Hands off Glebe


Prize: breakfast, lunch or dinner to the value of $50 at ESCA
333b Glebe Point Road (near Wigram Road)

Tickets $1 each or book of 12 for $10

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 for tickets

The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.

Contact: P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037.

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0426 503 351




Save Millers Point

A large and angry meeting at Balmain Town Hall has endorsed Leichhardt Council’s community campaign to protect public housing tenants from eviction.

The meeting followed Minister Pru Goward’s announcement that 300 Housing NSW properties in Millers Point will be sold. Leichhardt is seeking cooperation from neighbouring councils to prevent sell offs in other areas such as Glebe. The sale of Millers Point adjacent to Packer’s Barangaroo redevelopment will destroy a community that has been there for generations.

The Balmain meeting called on the State Government to increase investment in new public housing and maintaining existing homes.

The meeting also called on local Councils across Sydney to take a stand against public housing sell-offs and to attend a mass rally to demonstrate support for public housing in our city.

Sydney City Council has voted $100,000 for legal support for the Millers Point tenants and $10,000 for the community campaign.


Selling Wentworth Park

A sigh of relief could be heard when the O’Farrell government rejected a proposal to sell Wentworth Park greyhound track and parts of Blackwattle Bay foreshore for 700 apartments.

However, with Barry O’Farrell’s resignation as Premier things may change.

The racing track at Wentworth Park is public open space on Crown Land, not privately owned by Brookfield Multiplex or Greyhound NSW.

Local MP Jamie Parker said: ‘With huge and increasing demand for sporting and open space in the in the local community, this proposal was sheer fantasy.


That leak ….

The leak behind 75-67 Mitchell St is still there.  It flows into Boughton Lane and out on to Mitchell Street Housing NSW have assured us there is no leak, if there is a leak they have fixed it and it’s the Council’s responsibility to fix it, not theirs.

Yesterday upon the street

I saw no leak beneath my feet

It wasn’t there again today

I wish that leak would go away





Cowper Street three years on

Three years post demolition the Cowper Street site remains a peaceful oasis with Ibis and ducks attracted by fresh rainwater ponds and new growth. Last year many locals collected Christmas trees that had sprung up in the wake of destruction.

The NSW government says it intends to transfer part of the site over to social and affordable housing provider Bridge Housing to build high rise towers for public housing with a completion date of late 2016.  Bridge Housing have been around since 2009 and depend upon grants and property transfers to exist.  They made an operating loss of over $400,000 last year and have a history of increasing tenant complaints and maintenance backlogs.

Former tenants had been told they would be given the option of returning to Cowper Street but recently Minister Pru Goward announced that evicted Millers Point and Rocks residents will be moved into Cowper Street on completion.

Welcome home to residents who were moved from Cowper Street to the Rocks 4 years ago!

Hands off Glebe opposes plans to sell off parts of the site to the private sector.  Privatising half the land will mean a loss of public housing which is unacceptable, especially at a time of huge waiting lists and growing homelessness.

Hands off Glebe will be launching a postcard campaign soon to inundate the Premier with demands that the entire Cowper Street site be kept for public housing.

Selling off our homes

Hundreds of homes across the state have been sold by the NSW Government on the promise that the proceeds will be used to fund more public housing. In 2001 there were 124,098 public housing dwellings but by 2013 the number had dropped to 117,798.

The only criteria for sale seem to be that the house is worth a bob. Beach suburb houses in the Illawarra built on swamp land close to sewerage works 40 or 50 years ago are being sold and their tenants evicted. Inner city terraces once considered slums are being sold and the tenants moved on. According to Pru Goward the suburbs around Campbelltown are suitable for public housing. Tell that to people who have lived in the inner city all their lives.






‘This is our city and we will not be driven from it!’ declared Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe to the cheers of about 150 people outside NSW Parliament House demonstrating in support of public housing on March 27.

Defying constant rain, public housing communities from Millers Point, Wollongong, Balmain, Glebe, Camperdown, Auburn, Marrickville, and other suburbs marched through the streets chanting “Defend Public Housing! Save Millers Point!”

Representatives from public housing groups, ALP state leader John Robertson and MP for Balmain spoke at the rally.

Pru’s Contempt

The Select Committee into Social Public and Affordable Housing was announced on 13 November 2013.  Submissions closed on 28 February 2014 and public hearings are currently underway.

By announcing on 19 March 2014 that all public housing in the Rocks and Millers Point area is to be sold, Pru Goward has treated the community, the entire committee, and the Parliament, with contempt.


Council ignores community over Harold Park

At a packed meeting at the Sydney Town Hall, a motion to widen a road into the planned Harold Park oversize supermarket (formerly the Tram Sheds). The road threatens access to the park and put children dogs and adults in danger. The motion went through quickly amid shouts of disapproval from the audience – “You work for Mirvac, not the residents!!’  The community had held a protest on the site the day before but fell on deaf ears as every councilor except the Greens Irene Doutney voted for it and against the community.


Westmoreland Street

Sydney City Council objected to our article about changes to Westmoreland Street in February’s Grapevine. Follow the debate on our website at Click on the Westmoreland tab in the menu.

Hands off Glebe are consulting with residents in Westmoreland Street and will let the community and Council know the results.


Local gardeners can obtain a litre or two of worm wee or a kilo or two of worm casings free by emailing Denis at or ring 0418 290 663.






December 2013 Issue Grapevine

 December 2013

Stand Up for Public Housing

Community Barbeque a Success

 Jamie Parker said of the Stand Up for Public Housing community barbeque on 6 November 2013:

We had a great turnout for our community BBQ and I spoke to a number of local residents about big issues in the community, especially in relation to public housing.  I’ll continue to fight to improve living conditions for people in public housing and will keep working hard to get homes fixed, reduce waiting times and keep the government accountable.”


Undaunted by residents’ opposition Council Planners have recommended approval of Mirvac’s plans to build a retail complex the size of a football field, half being a new Woolworths, on the historic Tramsheds site at Harold Park. The proposal is to be considered by Sydney City Council on 3 December 2013 at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee commencing at 5pm.  If you would like to



Secret History of our Streets

Those of you who missed the BBC series, The Secret History of Our Streets, recently shown on SBS TV, can buy the book at Gleebooks (Cost $19.95).


Some parts of London have a lot in common with Glebe.  There, as here, government and councils deal with ‘housing’ in the abstract.  In the private sector, that means forget the people and think of the profits. For social housing and affordable housing tenants, planning is paternalistic,from the top down, planning that assumes, or is indifferent to, the consent of the community that lives here.


As in London, restoring and looking after the heritage housing of Glebe has returned social and economic dividends undreamt of by those who lived here during its hard times.  Glebe today is a wonderfully liveable diverse and interesting suburb for people of all ages and conditions.


The political and administrative elite in London did not ask people who lived in areas marked for redevelopment what they wanted.  Parts of Georgian Victorian and Edwardian London were razed to the ground in the 1950s and 1960s and replaced with acres of high rise flats.  The old housing which survived ‘slum clearance’ is today worth a small fortune.


The high rise towers which replaced the old homes in London quickly dated and became, in the words of the authors of The Secret History of Our Streets, ‘a lock on the future, a brake on the development of the area’.  There are limits to the improvements than can be made to high rise units and real restraints on adapting them to the changing needs of family and community.  In London high rise estates have been plagued by poverty and crime and those who could afford to move out, have moved on.


Glebe Artist Wins Prize

Nigel Milsom has taken out the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

Nigel worked at a studio in Queen Street until recently. Nigel has previously won the Sulman prize with ‘Judo House’ (at bottom of page) and was runner up in the Archibald Prize.

Nigel’s winning painting ‘Uncle Paddy’ (below) is on exhibition at Juniper Hall in Paddington.  Admission is free.


Winner of the 2013 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize …. Uncle Paddy by Nigel Milsom. Photo: Supplied

Milsom’s Sydney gallerist Kerry Crowley,

Read more:



Wreck the flats with ball and hammer

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Turf the tenants ignore their clamour

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

‘Tis the season to make lolly

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

For developers fat and jolly

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

Fast away the old Glebe passes

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Hail the new yuppie classes

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Now’s the time to join the chorus.

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Sing as others did before us

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Hear our voices, all together,

Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Stay and fight it’s now or never

Fa la la la la, la la la la …

Listen on:


February 2014 Issue 5

You heard it here!

Issue 5.  February 2014


Join us to demand proper maintenance of public housing

Assemble 11 am Thursday 27 March

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park North

March to Parliament House 11.30am


We demand $330 million for
public housing maintenance in 2014



We are looking for supporters who will donate $10 each month to pay for printing the Glebe Grapevine. Our target is $3,600 to print 7 or 8 issues in 2014. Please send cheques, payable to Hands off Glebe, to P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037. Send electronic transfers to: SGE Credit Union, BSB  659000, account name Hands off Glebe-Grapevine; account number 755116.







Proposed “Silent” Changes to the Glebe Scene


A view of Westmoreland street today with its wide vista and lovely trees all of which are due to be removed

A view of Westmoreland street today with its wide vista and lovely trees all of which are due to be removed


This is one of the streetscapes of Glebe which we all know and love – the wide open vistas and tree-lined avenues that are Westmoreland, Derwent and Mt Vernon Sts. These views are under direct threat from City Council which is proposing large mid street plantings and removal of mature figs from footpaths and replacement with smaller trees. Very few people are aware of these proposed changes – the only consul-tation seems to have been a letterbox drop in Westmoreland St. Only three responses were received to this – two with strong reservations, one in favour. This is hardly “consultation”!

Commonwealth Bank

Another proposal which has “snuck in under the radar” is to demolish most of the Commonwealth Bank site in Glebe Point Rd. The proposal, which was lodged by the building owner [not the bank who rent the premises – it was a shock to them too] would replace the bank with two smaller commercial spaces and upstairs private units. At the very least the bank – the only one left in Glebe – will need to relocate. It could disappear altogether.  We are already the village without a Post Office – are we about to become a village without a bank?

Together we saved Glebe Youth Service!

In late November the Glebe Youth Service (GYS) building was closed and the workers locked out. Our community rallied to defend the building from being sold off by the NSW Liberal government, with a public meeting and then a rally at Glebe markets. Letters and petitions flooded into the office of the NSW minister responsible, Pru Goward. The support from political parties (Greens, ALP, and CPA), Glebe community groups, the Koori community and many others was fantastic.

Hands off Glebe was there. We held a daily vigil for 2 weeks outside the GYS building at 84 Glebe Point Road where 410 angry Christmas cards were signed and mailed to Pru Goward.  Signs saying ‘Save Glebe Youth Service’ lined the main road and many hundreds of commuters and residents of Glebe became well aware of the fight to save the centre.

As a result of all these efforts, the Glebe Youth Service will return to its home on Glebe Point Road by mid-February, a victory for the power of community campaigning.



Inquiry into NSW Public Housing

The ability of NSW public housing to meet demand over the coming decade will come under scrutiny during a parliamentary inquiry. The select Committee will examine social, public and affordable housing stock across the state to determine whether supply will meet demand.

Submissions can be sent to the inquiry until 28 February. Hands off Glebe will make a submission. We would welcome your suggestions about what should be included so please send us your ideas. Alternatively make your own submission.

Submissions should be sent to The Director, Select Committee on Social, Public and Affordable Housing, Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000




Many Glebe tenants have lived for years in substandard  homes because of the reluctance of Housing NSW to properly maintain their properties.  Time after time tenants call the ‘Maintenance Line’ only to have their requests for repairs and maintenance ignored.

This March, as well as marching on March 27, write to Housing NSW about your maintenance needs and demand to know when they will be attended to.  If your requests are not met within a reasonble time, you can apply for orders that Housing NSW carry out the work.  Hands off Glebe can put you in touch with organisations such as the Redfern Legal Centre who can help you with this.

Send your maintenance list to:
Housing NSW, 234 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
Remember to keep a copy for your records and make a note of Housing NSW’s response (if  any).

To get you started, we have compiled a list of frequent maintenance issues:

  • Do you have urgent repairs that need doing, such as plumbing or electrical work?
  • Is your home a health and safety hazard because of damp?
  • Are your stair railings or balconies in danger of collapse?
  • Are your gutters in poor condition?
  • Are your gates and fences secure?
  • Do your windows open and shut freely?
  • Are your floor coverings in a safe and serviceable condition?
  • Are your cupboards and benches in good and seviceable condition?
  • When was the last time your home was painted?
  • Are tree roots damaging your home?


Authorised by Denis Doherty

The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0401 516 482

Write to P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037.


Glebe Grapevine for Oct 2013 Issue 4


You heard it here!

Issue 4. October 2013


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:

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0426 503 351