Princes Trust Development Glebe – Media Release

Media release
21 November 2019

Prince’s Trust Plan for Glebe Rejected

With homelessness up 13% and the waiting list for public housing blown out to 60,000, Hands off Glebe Inc is appalled by an agreement between NSW Land and Housing Corporation and Prince’s Trust Australia to build 75 affordable, social and private homes over two blocks next to Wentworth Park in Glebe.

The present buildings are on public land and are neither old nor in complete disrepair.  They already house people and housed even more before the NSW Government gradually cleared them out.

NSW Property Minister Melinda Pavey said the agreement will deliver new housing for the most vulnerable. Apparently, the Prince’s Trust is going to evict vulnerable people from the buildings in order to help other vulnerable people.  The result will be less public housing units than at present.

Cutting public housing and alienating public land in the midst of a housing crisis is a serious breach of the NSW Government’s responsibilities.

The Berejiklian Government claims that the Australian arm of a charity founded by the Prince of Wales aims to create a mixed-income community. However, the area is already mixed as the proposed development is close to Westend, a new development where penthouses are selling for $2 million.

It is clear that mixed-income development is really a code word for gentrification of our suburb or social cleansing.

Hands off Glebe Inc demands that the whole site remains dedicated entirely to the public housing which is so urgently needed.



Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace! jan 24 2016

Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The ten year framework on public housing released today is a recipe for more disadvantage and more unaffordability in the housing market.  The Hands off Glebe group a public housing advocate group situated in the suburb of Glebe but with links to many other groups across NSW condemns the outright theft of public property to aid the developer, the construction companies and NOT the people who need a home.

“Covered by smooth words and a few tidbits of genuine progressive ideas is the bare faced theft  of the property of the people and bestowed on the rich, a move taken straight from the neo liberal manual of less government and socialism for the wealthy.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Hands off Glebe group.

“The private sector cannot solve the housing crisis neither can ‘Housing providers’, the framework is a con designed to obscure theft and leave unaffordability a more entrenched problem for the years to come.

“Framework contains phrases such as ‘community housing providers would do a great job’, long on wishful thinking and low on reality.  It is obvious that ‘community housing providers’ have to run on a profit to enable them to grow and maintain the maintenance costs.  Like private hospitals, difficult clients and the most expensive are left to the public sector to fix while the best or most able to pay rent are taken by the private sector.

“$2 million on childcare is ‘chicken feed’ compared to the support services needed.  $2 million would only build one or two childcare centres.  The TAFE system has been run down so comprehensively by this Government yet it is expected to give damaged people the ability to lift themselves up by the bootlaces.  Wishful thinking at best and at worst according the well-worn practice of past housing ministers in this liberal NSW Government weasel words.  Shameful!

“‘Mix’ is another weasel word which in reality means nothing.  Wherever private housing is next to social housing, the private owners team up to build a fence to make the separation real between them and those in social housing.

“Old stock contains some of the most important heritage cottages and architectural icons of the past century and the bulldozing of them will not please anyone let alone those among the population who value our urban heritage.

“The stock is in a shocking state we agree but we add that is because past State and Federal Governments have allowed the stock to deteriorate, the auditor General said two years ago that the present Government was $300 million behind in its maintenance tasks.  Despite earning nearly $1 billion a month during the housing boom the Baird Government cynically refused to invest in public housing and maintenance.  Instead they spent it or are spending it on ‘white elephants’ such as the ‘Westconnex’.

We call on the Baird Government to think again about public housing and its objectionable ‘ten year framework’ which will usher in an even more disadvantaged underclass in this state than we have at present!

We call on the Baird Government to first of all set about housing those on the waiting list, the homeless, and to invest in maintenance of the present stock of social housing.  When this is nearing completion it will be time to think of a fair and just ten year scheme for public housing.

A British commentator speaking of the housing crisis in the UK made a comment that can equally be applied here:  “We are in a housing crisis that extends from the homeless on the street well into the middle class.  We have couples deciding not to have children because they do not have the space to house them.  We have people paying extortionate rents,  Yet ministers just sit there like gouty old men in the 19th hole.

Nick Cohen Spectator.  (UK)

For more information:  contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or Julie Brackenreg 0401 516 482

Visit our website:

Or our Facebook page:  hands off glebe

Glebe Development a disgrace wrapped in lies and greed 14 June 2015


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.




“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:

or our facebook HandsoffGlebe


Residents take action on Cowper Street mess

Media Release
Friday, October 24, 2014


A rally to be held at 12 noon on Saturday 25 October on the corner of Bay and Wentworth Streets, Glebe will demand a massive increase in spending on public housing and its maintenance and an immediate start to building public housing on the Cowper Street site. Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker and ALP candidate for the seat Verity Firth will speak at the rally.

A recent NSW Council of Social Service report shows that that 56 per cent of people who are eligible for social housing in NSW are missing out.

Yesterday Minister Gabrielle Upton announced a rise of 3.6 per cent in the public housing waiting list to 59,000 people. The average waiting time is four years with some unfortunate families waiting up to 10 years.

The waiting list for public housing is now over 27,000, with an average waiting time of four years.

The NSWCOSS report also reveals that New South Wales has nearly 900,000 people or 14.6 per cent of its population living in poverty, more than any other state.

“Enough is enough,” Denis Doherty, spokesperson for Hands off Glebe, said. “The NSW Government has failed to respond. They do not even have a housing minister.

“Hands off Glebe asks why the Baird Government can’t build new public housing on the site in Glebe bounded by Bay and Cowper Streets. Following demolition of good homes and the loss of a community, trees, gardens and birds, the site has remained vacant for four years.

“It has become painfully clear that the Baird Government does not care about public and affordable housing.

“Instead they are running down public housing with sell offs, demolitions and evictions while the housing crisis deepens,” Denis Doherty said.

“With the Cowper Street site, the Baird Government has continued a policy begun by the previous NSW ALP Government of planning to sell off half the site to private developers, but has left the site empty for years.

“Hands off Glebe has been campaigning for this site to remain devoted to public and affordable housing but the Government continues to ignore our demands.

“We feel it’s time to take more action to bring attention to public housing.  We do not intend to drop off our campaign any time soon,” Denis Doherty concluded.

For more information: Contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

Visit our website:

Defend Public Housing Rallies – Media Releases

Media Alert

Defend Public Housing Rally at Parliament


A rally to defend public housing and demand better maintenance of public housing homes will be held at Parliament House onThursday 27 March.

The rally will be addressed by representatives of public housing groups at Millers Point, Waterloo, Glebe, Auburn, Camperdown and Balmain as well as Opposition Leader John Robertson and Green MP for Balmain Jamie Parker.

Organised by Hands off Glebe, participants will assemble at the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park North at 11 am. They will then walk to Parliament House for the rally.

For more information, please contact Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe on 0418 290 663

Visit our website:


Media release
6 am Thursday 27 March


Community groups unite to demand:

No more social cleansing. Defend public housing

Public housing groups from across Sydney and as far apart as Millers Point and Wollongong are coming together today for a rally at Parliament House to defend public housing and for an end to social cleansing of public housing tenants.

“We want proper maintenance,” said Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe, the group organising today’s protest.

“We are sick of neglect and lack of care by this heartless government which does not even have a housing minister.

“While tenants suffer in below standard houses and waiting lists grow, the NSW Government is selling off public housing and is $330 million behind in its maintenance load,” Mr Doherty said.

“Speakers at the rally will come from public housing estates across Sydney. They are united in calling for more resources for maintenance and for much more new public housing.

We are also saying no evictions at Millers Point and the Rocks and no more social cleansing of public housing tenants.

Opposition Leader John Robertson has agreed to address the rally which is also supported by Greens MP Jamie Parker and union speakers from the MUA and CFMEU

“A decent home is a human right,” Denis Doherty said. “That’s all we’re asking.”


For more information, contact Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe on  0418 290 663

Visit our website:

Media Release on Glebe Youth Service

Fightback against closure of Glebe Youth Service


Community protest has erupted after youth workers were suddenly locked out of the Glebe Youth Service (GYS) building at 84 Glebe Point Road for alleged fire safety reasons.

“Housing NSW has refused to release the fire safety report which makes us suspect that the real intent is to sell the building for several millions,” said Hannah Middleton who has begun a daily vigil outside the locked GYS building.

At a public meeting last week local Green MP Jamie Parker, ALP shadow housing minister Sophie  Cotsis, Sydney City Council Deputy Mayor Robyn Kemmis and representatives of the Glebe Society and Hands off Glebe joined community members in condemning the closure.

“I decided to vigil daily outside the GYS building as one of many efforts to make the NSW Minister for Community Affairs Pru Goward reverse the decision and give us back our youth service,” said Hannah Middleton, a member of Hands off Glebe and the local Port Jackson branch of the Communist Party.

“I will also be collecting signatures on protest Christmas Cards to be sent to Minister Pru Goward.

“I am outraged that on the eve of Christmas the Minister has closed the service as it swings into action to provide activities for young people from 12 to 18 to provide an alternative to what can be risky behaviour.

“We feel the closure is part of a pattern in which social services and public housing tenants are treated as liabilities while buildings are valued as assets.

“Our community is justifiably suspicious of a government interested in cutting rather than providing services, and suspect the motivation is to sell off the building and sell out Glebe’s young people.”

“We are coming together to battle this injustice perpetrated by a heartless O’Farrell Government and we will not stop until we have our Glebe Youth Service back in its home in the heart of Glebe,” Hannah Middleton concluded.

For more information:  Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098

Visit our website:


Media Release Aug 17 2013 LAUNCH OF GLEBE GRAPEVINE

Media Release

For immediate release.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Community newsletter – the Glebe Grapevine to be launched Sat Aug 17

On Saturday 17 August 2013 at the Old Fire Station 115 Mitchell Street Glebe the Glebe community will come together to launch its newsletter The Glebe Grapevine, and the DVD 50 ways to hold your fence up.  Urban protection icon Jack Mundey and local Greens MP Jamie Parker will be asked to launch the community newsletter, The Glebe Grapevine, and a satirical you tube “50 Ways to Hold Your Fence Up” at the Old Fire Station in Mitchell Street, Glebe this Saturday 17 August at 2pm.


The newsletter and DVD are an initiative of Hands Off Glebe, a resident’s group committed firstly to the preservation and extension of public housing as well as the conservation of the historic urban landscape of Glebe.


According to the Auditor General’s recent report on Making the best use of public housing July 30 2013:  “It is estimated that all social housing only meets 44 per cent of need in New South Wales.”


The State Governments of both major parties have been trying to free themselves of the responsibility of public housing and it shows in Glebe as well as in other places.  Neglect and selling off of public housing in Glebe is common it is time for this process to be stopped by concerted community action.  Hence our campaigns via the newsletter Glebe Grapevine and social media.  We have had some success in getting some maintenance carried out.


Hands off Glebe started because of the Cowper Street Project in Glebe where 134 units were demolished to make way for high rise development and 50% of the public land is to be alienated to the private sector.  An issue we are still fighting.


For more information contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

Visit our website:

View our you tube film:

South Sydney Herald article on the film and Song date June 2013

by Denis Doherty

A song and a community newsletter have helped challenge Housing NSW’s widespread and shameful neglect of public housing in Glebe, particularly the broken down fences in many streets.

Residents have come up with ingenious ways to hold up their fences but many have lost the battle and whole sections of fences have fallen over.

The back fence of an elderly woman’s property collapsed. She did not feel safe in her own backyard and the garden chairs she used to sit in the sun were stolen.

Residents are afraid to go into their yards after dark, while others can’t hang out washing due to lack of privacy and security.

They complain that Housing NSW’s usual response is to send a ‘tech officer’ to take a photo and then nothing happens.

Hands off Glebe, a group dedicated to improving the quality of life for local residents, produces a community newsletter called The Glebe Grapevine .

An article in first issue, entitled “Residents left de-fence-less”, exposed one fence that had been lying broken for months. The article was accompanied by the photo (see below).

A song called 50 Ways To Hold Your Fence Up (based on song by Paul Simon) was written, recorded and combined with pictures of Glebe’s fallen fences released on you tube. The chorus goes:

Just prop up the gate, Kate

Use an old rope, Hope

You can even use string, Bing

Just listen to me.

……Keep livin’ in Glebe



In a victory for the community and for The Glebe Grapevine, this fence is now in the process of being replaced and a whole row of picket fences in another street has also been replaced.

However, much more still needs to be done and not just mending fences.

Housing NSW has a massive backlog of maintenance needs in Glebe public housing as the process continues of demolition by neglect to drive tenants onto the private market.

And its not just Glebe. There is an avalanche of maintenance needs in public housing across the state.

Hands off Glebe is fighting for social housing tenants rights, for more social housing, to stop privatisation of public land, and to prevent over development of sites like Bay Street and Cowper Street.

Contact us at

Sydney planners ignore community housing concerns

At the Central Sydney Planning Committee meeting on December 1st, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and members of her team John McInerney and Di Tornai together with Labor appointee Craig Knowles and former Liberal planning minister Robert Webster voted to go ahead with the Elger Street development, despite trenchant opposition from residents, residents action group Hands Off Glebe, and the Glebe Society.
Denis Doherty of Hands Off Glebe explained:
“In June of this year demolishers torn down 134 flats and ripped out 170 trees in what was a quiet cul de sac in Glebe. Most of the public land is to be sold off to pay for building new flats.
“There was nothing wrong with the old flats and they had gardens and parking and solar access that the new flats will lack.
“Residents at the meeting were told that the new flats will suit disabled people because lifts will be installed. These ‘planners’ don’t seem to realise that lifts were installed into the old units only a few years before they were demolished.
“The project will cost $170 million, most of borne by taxpayers, and is aimed at delivering profits to developers at the expense of the Glebe community.
“The Elger Street development is simply privatisation. It is not a good, socially balanced development helping to meet our city’s housing needs.
“The council’s own report lists over 17 instances where the project does not conform to planning requirements yet the Planning Committee disregarded these obvious faults and voted in favour of the proposal.
“Residents objections have been comprehensively ignored since the project was announced in April 2008,” Denis Doherty said.
“Hands Off Glebe has been pressing for proper consultation about the future of the site for the past three and a half years.
“We and the Glebe Society are concerned about the impact of high rise high density development on the adjacent Victorian townscape Glebe Estate, and on the local community.”
Mr Doherty pointed out that the NSW Government proposes to extend Elger Street to Bay Street, a move which will inundate the eastern side of the Glebe Estate with traffic.
“The City of Sydney Council seems to be pursuing a social cleansing agenda by trying to reduce the proportion of public housing in the City from 10.4% (in 2006) to 7.5% as part of the Council’s 2030 Vision,” Denis Doherty said.
“The NSW Government is spending millions of taxpayer’s dollars to build new housing, but each year since 2006 has seen further decline in the number of public housing tenancies, and those that are left are shockingly maintained.
“This NSW Liberal Government does not even have a Minister for Housing and it is clear that decent affordable housing for low income earners is no longer a priority of government.
“Something must be done to correct the housing crisis.” Denis Doherty concluded. “Tearing down inner city housing estates is not helping the situation.
“A decent home should be a right, not a source of profit.”
For more information, contact Denis Doherty on 0418 290 663 visit our

Come to the Xmas Party

Houses in Leamington Ave Newtown were due for demolition to make way for a State Rail project.

This was stopped by a concerted campaign by residents and their supporters!

We can do the same!

We are calling on all residents of Glebe whether they are private owners or private tenants or public tenant to join us to save houses.

If they can ride over public tenants without regard for the community then they can do it anywhere and who will be next?

Join us to save the houses of Cowper St. Glebe.


The NSW Department of Housing is proposing the redevelopment of a housing estate in Glebe bounded by Wentworth Street, Bay Street, Cowper Street, and the rear of premises on Queen Street, on which are situated 129 flats occupied by Department of Housing.

Map of the site?

Why Are We Concerned?

The proposal threatens the uniqueness of the area’s largely intact medium density residential neighbourhood close to the CBD. Unlike other suburbs close to the CBD, containing mixed use areas with high density development, the Glebe Estate has been consistently used and occupied as low income residential housing for about 140 years.

According to the Department of Housing, the “robust but utilitarian” flats no longer meet the needs of its clients. The Department says that tenants are better served by smaller units(!?!).

Local, State and Federal Governments see the proposal as a convenient way to reach housing targets but where is their concern for the disadvantages to the local community?


  • Public land in the hands of private developers
  • Tenants thrown out of their homes: their social and support networks disrupted, their lives dislocated
  • Demolition of well-built and useful housing
  • Removal of well-established vegetation, including many mature trees
  • Green light to very large development with attendant social problems
  • Overshadowing of open space and surrounding houses by multi-storey (6-10 storeys high) development
  • Four-fold increase in housing density – a blight on an area with a consistent and moderate housing density
  • Traffic and parking problems: In an area already facing traffic congestion, the proposal to extend Elgar St to Bay St and to realign Phillip St will only help “rat runners” and will not improve traffic problems suffered by residents in the area
  • Does not address the crisis of affordable housing the two Housing Ministers say it does.


The latest information

The Department of Housing is planning to have everyone moved out by December 2010. The plans are not going on display for another month and the project is proceeding at pace to prevent questions being asked like the ones from Hands off Glebe.

They will not release accurate information on where they are going to situate the buildings and how many people will be jammed into that confined space.

But as always they are making room for shops and private business at the expense of the housing commission tenants of Cowper St.

Hands Off Glebe! Contact the State Government

The proposed redevelopment is the brainchild of the State Labor Government. We all know that the ALP State Government is heading for a disastrous election in March 2011, if this development goes ahead you need to tell them that they will further alienate you and you will be looking to put your vote elsewhere.

Verity Firth’s office is at 112A Glebe Point Road. She invites people to drop in between 9am – 5pm. Her telephone number is 9660 7586, and her Email is

Frank Terenzini State Housing Minister can be contacted on 9228 3777.Email:

Hands Off Glebe! The Sydney City Council

Sydney City Council is preparing planning instruments to allow the proposal to go ahead. Tell the Mayor and Councillors what you think this proposal will do to the area and the community:

Clover Moore (Mayor) 9265 9229


Chris Harris (Greens) 0407 469 384

If you’d like to help make sure that private developers keep their HANDS OFF GLEBE, please email: