Budget heartless and shortsighted, says community housing group

Hands off Glebe Inc, a community public housing advocacy group, has condemned the Federal Budget as “heartless and shortsighted” for failing to fund an increase in social housing in the face of huge and growing unemployment and cuts to income support payments.

Treasurer Frydenberg committed to an extension of the First Home Loan Deposit scheme and 1 billion in concessional loans to community housing providers to build affordable housing. The Budget also includes a cut of $41.3 million from homelessness funding in July 2021.

However the government failed to make any direct investment in desperately needed social housing infrastructure and instead continued to shift responsibility to charitable organisations, a form of privatization.

“Subsidies to first home buyers mean the government spends far more on private housing than it spends on public housing.  These schemes are welfare for real estate agents and developers,” Dr Hannah Middleton from Hands off Glebe Inc said.

“This money would be far better redirected to public housing to build and maintain public housing stock. 

“There are over 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list in NSW alone,” Dr Middleton continued. “And the number will grow as the impact of the pandemic and recession grow.

“Before COVID-19 there were 116,000 homeless people in Australia, and more than 800,000 living in rent stress.

“And it has been estimated that homelessness in NSW will increase by as much as 16,000 people as a result of COVID-19.

“Construction job losses are also growing and the sector may lose up to 205,000 jobs by next March,” Dr Middleton continued.

“But spending big on social housing would provide a boost to the struggling industry, and support the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness in the wake of the pandemic.

Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense.  Investing in residents is not money wasted. In reality it contributes to progress, creating job and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services. 

“Building public housing is an effective stimulus, and it’s faster to roll out than most other infrastructure projects. The National Housing Finance Investment Corporation found 9 jobs were created for every $1 million in social housing investment;

And polling showed that 60% of Australians believe investment in affordable housing should have been a Budget priority

spending big on social housing that will be key to providing a boost to the struggling industry, and supporting the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness. “Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense. It contributes to progress, creating jobs and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services. 

“Instead of its heartless and shortsighted approach, the Government should have committed funds in the Budget to build 30,000 public and affordable housing units, at a cost of about $10 billion, creating about 18,000 construction related jobs a year and helping to pull Australia out of recession.”

Glebe Grapevine July 2019 – Page 1 on homelessness

Lord Mayors plan action on homelessness

We need the Federal and State/Territory Governments to take real action by increasing funding for social and affordable housing, particu-larly in inner cities,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said at the meeting of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors in Brisbane on 10 July.

“We need to work together to reduce the number of people experienc-ing homelessness and housing stress in cities across Australia. As Mayors we want to work together with State and Federal Govern-ments to create a national homelessness strategy. The summit will help fast-track our efforts and bring national attention to the homeless-ness we’re seeing far too often on the streets of our major cities,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp.

Lord Mayors resolved to organise and host a na-tional homelessness summit in the next few months to bring together decision makers from all levels of government to address this growing is-sue.

The summit would seek agreement to create a national homelessness and housing strategy to take urgent action to address the homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Australia’s cities.

Video report back to the wider community

Dear all,

In very inclement weather we persisted with our rally to defence public housing and to assist where we could with the Save Millers Point campaign.  We have uploaded several videos of the demo which you are welcome to view.  We were extremely pleased with the turn out.


Note we use triple M to signify March for Maintenance in March


  1. MMM – beginning




  1. MMM- Save Millers Pt




  1. MMM – Jamie Parker MP




  1. MMM – NSW Opposition Leader




  1. MMM – Public Housing Tenants speak out




  1. MMM –Hands off Glebe




  1. MMM – Wendy from Wollongong




  1. MMM – Finish








Happy Viewing






Newspaper article on the March for Maintenance in March(27)

This is our city!


“This is our city and we will not be driven out of 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 27 March.


Hands off Glebe, a small community group campaigning for public housing, had organised the March for Maintenance which was expanded to include the fight to save Millers Point, a historic Sydney suburb the NSW Liberal Government wants to sell off to the private sector.


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


The marchers also demanded “No more demolition by neglect”, No more eviction by neglect, and Stop social cleansing of public housing tenants.


There was also a call for Housing NSW to sack Spotless, the maintenance providers which was described as another PPP gone wrong.


Barney from the Millers Point Community Defence Group spoke passionately about the devastating personal and social costs of focibly evicting people from their homes.and called on the crowd to fight to defend public housing throught New South Wales.


Public housing tenant Kelly told how the mould in her home was so bad that she and her daughter are constantly sick.


It’s so bad, I just don’t want to go home,” she said. “I’d rather live on the streets than in that place.”


MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker from the Greens, was warmly welcomed by the demonstrators as he attacked the O’Farrell Government for its greed and callousness in its planned evictions and sell off of heritage properties in Millers Point and The Rocks.


He pointed out that despite having a responsibility to assist the most vulnerable members of our community, the Liberal State Government has continued the failure of the previous Labor Government to adequately fund public housing.


The former Labor government left a maintenance backlog of $330 million and this continues to grow.

The Liberal government has given $300 million to the poker machine industry in tax benefits but says it can’t find any additional funds for public housing.


Jamie Parker delighted the crowd by ending with the story of the Glebe Youth Service where the youth workers were suddenly evicted and the NSW Government said it was too expensive to upgrade fire precautions.


Glebe residents developed a big community campaign to stop it being sold off and the government finally gave in. The GYS is functioning again, showing that determined community action can win.


ALP State Leader John Robertson expressed his concern for the situation of many public housing tenants and said he wanted to hear their stories.


However, there was disappointment when he said Labor would not have treated the Millers Point residents “in the same way” as the Liberals.


Many in the crowd thought this was ambiguous and wanted a clear commitment from Labor that they would rescind the decision to sell off public housing at Millers Point.


Closing the rally, Denis Doherty said: “We must unite to defend and extend public housing otherwise our city will be constructed to suit the needs of the rich and powerful and we will be excluded.


“This is unacceptable. This is our city. We built it and we will keep on fighting to stay here!”

When is a leak not a leak? ans When housing say it is not a leak!

We received this reply to our letter about a leak at the rear of a property in Mitchell St.

“Land and Housing Corporation advise that plumbers have since located and repaired the leaking storm water drain.”

to which we replied

We have photos of this leak which we are putting online and we can give you the url so you can also see that the leak is not fixed.

At the same time it is wise to remember xxxx is dependent on a wheel chair and the spot where this leak occurs is right in the spot where XXX exits her property.  In a sense you are confining her to her dwelling and making it impossible for her to move around the community.

We demand urgent action as this type of response is against all the publicly stated sentiments of the O’Farrell Government.

Fixing a plumbing problem is not beyond the skill set of the Land and Housing Corporation.