Evictions in Wentworth Park

Media release

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

Wentworth Park evictions Martin Place all over again

The Berejiklian Government is moving on the homeless people living under the arches in Wentworth Park.  It is a victory for appearance versus real action on homelessness in Sydney and smacks of a heartless Government.

“The homeless have been promised 7 day free accommodation and further month of free accommodation while a permanent home is found for them.  We welcome good accommodation for all people but we suspect that this approach is just superficial ‘tidying up’,” said Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe.

“Police are in attendance from time to time to add muscle to the evictions while a 24 hour presence of security officers is employed to keep the arches ‘clean’ of people.  Investment in enforcement instead of investment in people.

“Almost within eyesight is the development where public housing land has been converted into ritzy apartments with names like West End and costing as much as $2.3 million each.

“But where is the NSW Government investment in housing for the homelessand the services they need to live successfully in new homes?

“Instead, as the waiting list for public housing goes over 60,000 the NSW Government has sold off about 4,000 public housing places in the inner city and failed to invest funds in public housing, Denis Doherty said.

“The actions of police backed up by the new laws is part of the process of preparing Wentworth Park for the new Fish Markets which will see the building of 2,760 apartments, not one of which will be for social housing.

“The time for a rethink about housing for lower social economic groups has long been with us.  The solution is not the use of police but investment in social housing,” he concluded.

 

 

Media Release on Fish Market Survey – Community rejects Government Plans

Media Release

Monday July 3, 2017

Community Survey rejects Government’s plans for Fish Market.

The announcement of the architect for proposed changes to the Fish Market coincided with an extensive community survey being conducted by the local activist group Hands off Glebe Inc.  Surveys were on line and nearly 6,000 questionnaires were distributed throughout Glebe and Ultimo.

Hands off Glebe Inc runs a local newsletter called ‘The Glebe Grapevine’ which is a bi monthly publication placed in letterboxes around the suburb.

“This month’s edition of the Glebe Grapevine spurred on by a very successful public meeting about the Bays Precinct, the Fish Market and associated issues, decided to conduct a survey of Glebe and Ultimo residents using the hand delivered Grapevine. We also provided an electronic survey for people outside the suburb. The questions are the work and responsibility of the committee,”  Denis Doherty, convenor of Hands off Glebe, said.

“We had a good response to our survey and local businesses were prepared to be drop off points for completed surveys.  The responses were in the majority from Glebe (84%) while we received 3% from Ultimo, 3% from Drummoyne, 3% from Leichhardt, 2% from Annandale and the remaining 5% from other suburbs.

“Residents are alarmed that the very valuable park near the site is in danger of being eroded by the new development.

“They are not happy that the residential area is largely for the wealthy and does not make allowances for social housing.  This is an insensitive response to the current housing crisis in Sydney.  Local residents know that in direct eyesight of the new development nearly 100 homeless people are living in tents under the viaduct which cuts through Wentworth Park.

“The greater influx of traffic caused by the new expanded market will only result in further congestion of an already congested Glebe and Ultimo.

“There are other concerns highlighted by the survey such as pollution of the bay.  The effect on the school has not been considered.

“By far and away the most important issue to the community was access to the foreshore for passive and active recreation.  The community wants the walkway around the bays to the city extended through this site as well open space for all.

 

Copies of the survey results and questions are available on our website.

www.handsoffglebe.org

for more information

contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

 

FEDERAL ELECTION 2016 – EXTENDED COMMENTS ON HOUSING

JULY 2 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION

CANDIDATES FOR SEAT OF SYDNEY

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates were contacted and sent replies which are published in full below

 

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

 

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates were contacted but did not reply

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

 

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates had not nominated when the Glebe Grapevine sent out the questionnaire and were therefore not invited to respond to the questionnaire

 

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party


 

Responses

Sylvie Ellsmore    Greens

The 16 year waiting list for public housing in NSW has been caused by under-investment by successive State and Territory Governments, who have not only failed to build sufficient new housing, but failed to maintain existing housing stock, creating a false sense of crisis and is being used as an argument that public housing is too expensive to maintain, and needs to be selectively sold off.

The Greens strongly support greater funding for public housing. Specifically, the Greens will reform negative gearing and removing capital gains tax discounts, and redirect the $6.8 billion estimated cost pa to increasing public housing and homeless services. It is possible to redirect this funding to provide housing for everyone on the public housing waiting list by 2030 – the Greens have costed plans available at http://greens.org.au/

The Glebe Estate has been a vital part of Glebe for generations, and must be protected. The Greens are proud to stand with residents in their campaign to protect against attempts to run down or sell public housing in Glebe. As someone who grew up in Glebe and whose family still lives here, I know first hand the valuable contribution that estate has made to making Glebe a strong community.

  1. It is a national disgrace that in Australia, as one of the richest nations in the world, 105,000 Australians don’t have a place to call home, and that more than a quarter are children under 18. Seventy percent of young people who end up homeless are fleeing domestic violence or family breakdown.

With most crisis refuges reliant on Federal funding, and only 6% of people seeking long term accommodation being housed, a key action to address homelessness is to significantly restore and expand Federal
funding for refuges, including specialist refuges to tailor for key groups at risk at homelessness including woman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young people. At the State level the Greens strongly opposed reforms which saw specialist women’s refugees become general services.

In addition to those noted above, federally the Greens housing proposals include:

– Doubling the federal funding for Specialist Homelessness Services under the original National Affordable Housing Agreement (and index the funding by 7%), at a cost of $507 million pa;
– Signing a new ten year National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and double funding under the original agreement, at a cost of $320 million pa; and
-Reversing the cuts to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which helps people on low incomes afford the extremely high rents in Sydney.

Obviously homelessness is a complex issue, and addressing homelessness also requires ensuring there are other adequate, publicly accessible social services for the inner city.

Also, for those living in housing stress who are at risk of homeless, most of whom are in the private rental market, the Greens support national standards to increase rights for renters, including protection for security of tenure, an end to no fault tenancy terminations and the generally capping of annual rent increases to CPI.

  1. As our city grows, it is important that new housing is built close to transport – which includes increased densities in the inner city. However, this must be sustainable, meaning that new development must be accompanied by infrastructure including new green spaces, child care centres, schools, public transport and other strategies to reduce car dependence.

Crucially, residents must have a genuine say about development in their local area. As a former Marrickville Councillor I was proud to both work to ensuring that new builds included genuine affordable housing where possible, and to stand with residents in campaigns against proposed over-development in the innerwest. Too often exceptions and concessions are given to large developers, with minimal requirements to give back to the community. In Glebe, the Greens were proud to stand with in their community campaign residents to win concessions at Harold Park, but we still have far to go to ensure our laws are guided by community needs and not developer greed.

The lack of ability for local Councils to enforce genuine affordable housing targets in new developments is out of step with other global cities like New York and London, and is helping drive housing unaffordability in Sydney. The Greens support a 30%-50% housing affordability target for large urban growth projects.

  1. I support a vacant property tax. Recent research shows inner city vacancies of rental properties is very high in inner Sydney – up to 14%. Despite a very tight housing market, tax incentives encourage some landlords to leave properties vacant. This must change. As part of our housing policies, the Greens have released a “convert to rent package” which includes incentives for landlords to convert vacant properties to low cost rental.

For more details about the Greens policies please see: http://greens.org.au/ or contact the campaign at sydney@nsw.greens.org.au
PETER BOYLE – SOCIALIST ALLIANCE

  1.      Do you support greater Federal funding for public housing?

 

Yes. The federal government needs to take major responsibility for infrastructure in all major cities because that is where most people live and it has the power to raise revenue though progressive income taxation.

 

Federal and state governments have been neglecting public infrastructure for decades because they believed that cutting social spending and increasing corporate handouts would be “good for the economy”. It didn’t work. The rich just got richer while our public services and infrastructure — including public housing stock — were run down and distorted.

 

Now, we have to catch up for these lost decades of privation.

 

A major federal investment in public housing is a key infrastructure need.

 

Sydney’s “housing market” might be producing big profits for developers, real estate agents and speculators, but it is failing to deliver affordable and quality housing.

 

More and more people – especially people with young families – are finding it impossible to afford to rent, let alone buy.

 

At least two generations have been denied the dream of owning their own home, while others have become debt slaves to try to pay off ridiculous mortgages.

 

Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a study by Anglicare Sydney.

 

And the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market is shocking. They are total dumps!

 

There were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year in NSW. The Baird Coalition government has only promised to build 9000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock.

 

This is a social disaster that the federal government needs to address.

 

We need to make housing a social right. We could build quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing at a fraction of the price that “the market” is demanding.

 

This is also part of the urgently needed infrastructure investment in addressing the climate change emergency.

 

  1.      How would you resolve homelessness in Glebe?

 

The preconditions for addressing homelessness in Glebe – and anywhere else – are: a. More affordable housing; b. More appropriate housing, addressing the special needs of many of the people who are currently homeless; and c. More appropriate social services, including mental health services, which are all currently facing cuts.

 

Once again, federal funding is needed to address these needs for the reasons I cited above.

 

  1.      What is your view on inner city housing density?

 

There is a social and environmental need to have more medium density housing in Sydney. However, under the current rules and regulations, big developers are having a field day and residents and communities are severely disempowered.

 

Driven by sheer greed, developers are trying to squeeze in as much high-rise housing and commercial buildings into inner city along key transport corridors.

 

Mirvac’s high-rise plans for the Pyrmont Shopping Centre re-development and the Central to Eveleigh precinct are examples of this. Another example is Deicorp’s plans for the historic Redfern Block. And who knows what other horrors are planned with the Waterloo public housing redevelopment?

 

The community is never told the full story, and what we are told often comes far too late for effective community response.

 

The rules and regulations favour the big developers and often the community has no real say at all.

 

As a general rule I favour a five-storey limit on all suburban, including inner-Sydney suburban, housing developments. This would cater to social well-being as well as the community’s need to preserve heritage and historical significance.

 

Relatively high housing densities have been reached in cities like Barcelona, with similar restrictions on high-rise building.

 

  1.      Do you agree with a vacant property tax?

 

Yes, a vacant property tax would play a useful role in reducing the high rate of vacant housing in Sydney.

 

According to a recent media report, 90,000 properties are left vacant across greater Sydney, with the vacancy rate as high as one in seven in some parts of the Sydney electorate.

 

This adds to housing shortages and lifts rents. Basically, speculators are “parking” money in vacant buildings and just waiting to rake in capital gains in a skyrocketing property market.

 

 

Biography for Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney

 

I have lived in Sydney’s inner-west for 25 years and have raised two daughters in the area.

 

I have had a long involvement with the Aboriginal rights’ movement, especially in the campaign against deaths in custody and the struggle for land rights.

 

I have also been involved in protests to save public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and in Redfern.

 

I was one of the founding national convenors of the Socialist Alliance and I now co-convene the Sydney Central branch of the Socialist Alliance. I write regularly for the newspaper Green Left Weekly.

Tula Tzoras — Online Direct Democracy

  1. I personally support greater funding for public housing and we offer voters the opportunity to vote online taking the majority vote straight to Parliament.
  2. My view is that no one need be homeless in Australia. The Federal Government should make all property available and cap rental costs. People should not pay more than 30% of their income in rent. I have suffered having to move countless times due to no fault of my own. Housing is vital to one’s safety and wellbeing.
  3. The Sydney electorate is a densely populated area, with Westconnex weather, we can however control our waste and emissions by choosing public transport instead of cars, doing everything we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible.
  4. My own opinion is that vacant property should be put to use by housing the homeless. Otherwise yes I do support a vacant property tax. Of course my own views don’t matter as I represent the people.

 

Geoffrey Winters    Liberal Party

The coalition recognizes the shortage of housing in Australia is a serious social issue and the impact it is having, particularly on families and lower income earners.

The Turnbull Government is committed to a strong new economy, with a focus on creating jobs for all Australians.  Having a strong economy will ensure all Australians who can work, can gain employment.

The Turnbull Government provides a strong and targeted safety net to support Australians who are not working, spending $158.6 billion in 2016-17 (35per cent of the total government Budget).  Our safety net provides income support, rent assistance, rent assistance, and employment service support to try and help people back into work as soon as possible.

Labor cut funding for homelessness in their last budget, failing to make any provision for National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness after 30 June 2014.

The Turnbull Government has not only restored this funding, we have extended funding for the NPAH providing $115 million a year to State and Territories for a further two years.

Housing density and property taxes are matters that are responsibility of the state and territory governments.

 

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:  www.handsoffglebe.org

Or our Facebook page:  hands off glebe

Housing in the news – Oct 24 2014

Governments sleep at the wheel as housing affordability crashes

16 October 2014

The Australian Council of Social Service today urged Australian Governments to take coordinated action to tackle the worsening housing supply crisis.

“New data shows that the housing supply crisis is getting worse and this is taking a heavy toll on first home buyers and low and moderate income renters who are under increasing financial stress,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

The new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlighted the serious gap between housing demand and supply, with as estimated shortage of 284,000 dwellings in 2011 projected to increase due to population growth, ageing and decreasing household size.

“‘We know that exorbitant rents, particularly in our major cities, is placing a great deal of stress on families, with 47% of low-income earners paying more than 30% of their income in rent. This is one of the major factors driving people into poverty.”

“Commonwealth Rent Assistance has a major impact on households’ rental affordability, with the AIHW report showing a 27% point reduction in the number of low-income recipients in housing stress after receiving this targeted assistance. Our concern is that this vital rent assistance payment is not keeping up with the rise in community living standards and call for an immediate increase in the maximum rate. The gap between the maximum rate of Rent Assistance and average rent has grown steadily because CRA is linked to the CPI, rather than to national average increases in rent.

“The report also found that social housing schemes, which are highly targeted to people in greatest need, have been extremely effective, however waiting lists continue to grow and supply is not keeping up. As at 30 June 2013, there were over 217,000 households on waiting lists for social housing. There is a critical shortage of over 500,000 rental properties that are affordable and available to low income renters which must be addressed.

“While Australia’s housing situation becomes ever more critical, governments seem to be asleep at the wheel. There is no national affordable housing strategy and growing uncertainty about the future of funding for housing and homelessness investment and programs.

“The most recent budget reduced funding to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which will result in a loss of 12,000 affordable housing dwellings. At the same time, it extended funding for homelessness services for only another 12 months, with growing uncertainty again in the sector about the future of services and those who rely on them for support.

“The Federal Government has a vital leadership role to play in setting national housing policy to ensure all arms of government are working towards increasing the supply of affordable housing stock, alleviating rental stress and ensure pathways out of homelessness. This cannot be achieved without changes to current housing tax settings which encourage speculative investment in existing housing stock, inflate house prices and do little to increase affordable housing stock,” Dr Goldie said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas – 0419 626 155

Social housing shortage leaves nearly 4000 ‘at risk’ applicants out in the cold PDF Print

23 October 2014

The community sector is calling for urgent action to address the State’s social housing shortage ahead of the upcoming election as new figures show tens of thousands of people across NSW are left waiting, sometimes for over ten years.

Council of Social Service of NSW CEO Tracy Howe said figures released today by the Department of Family and Community Services show the social housing shortage is leaving 3941 people waiting for urgent accommodation despite many being at risk of harm, experiencing homelessness or having a severe, ongoing medical condition.

“These numbers alone show the need for swift action to address the State’s social housing shortages.

“In the past people allocated to the priority housing list would receive housing relatively speedily. These are people experiencing a crisis and they need a stable roof over their head. But they are waiting because there isn’t enough accommodation available.”

Ms Howe said the 3941 people with priority status waiting were included in the nearly 60 000 households on waiting lists to access social housing.

“A stable roof over your head is a basic need. Without one people find it almost impossible to get and keep a job, to send their kids to school or to address any other ongoing issues in their lives.

“Services across the sector are telling us that one of the biggest, ongoing issues the people they work with face is finding stable, affordable housing.”

Ms Howe said recent reports that the NSW economy was now the number 1 performer mean the state is in the best position in nearly a decade to address this challenge.

“A clear, funded plan supported by all sides of politics is needed to fix the issue in the long term. Affordable and social housing that is close to jobs, health services and public transport improves people’s ability to contribute to economic and social life and has a positive effect on the wider economy.

“Before the upcoming election we’ll be looking for a plan from all sides of politics to address the housing shortage.

“We all need to recognise that supply of social and affordable housing is a key infrastructure challenge facing the state and all future infrastructure planning must feature growth in social and affordable housing as a critical element.”

NCOSS launched its full election platform last night. It is available for download at speakplanact.net

Media Contact: Laura Maclean, 0412 867 658

 

United Nations Working Group on Ageing (5th Session), New York.

Ms Kim Boettcher, The Aged Rights Service Inc.

Australia

Thank you Mr Chairman for giving me the floor.  I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and I pay my respects to their elders past and present.

My name is Kim Boettcher and I am a delegate of The Aged-care Rights Service Incorporated, an independent legal centre in Sydney, Australia which specialises in advising and representing older people. We thank the Member States for their attendance and concern about the rights of older people.

The Australian delegates who are here today stand in the legacy of an Australian lawyer and politician, Dr HV Evatt, elected the President of the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly that met here in New York in 1948.  He was known as ‘the Champion of the Small Nations.’

I am here representing people from one of the small nations, my older clients who are not seen and not heard in society.  It is often said that a society is judged by how it treats its disadvantaged and its minorities.  That treatment is better for recognising that basic human rights apply to all people rich and poor alike.

There is a storm brewing on the edge of Sydney Harbour, Australia, which epitomizes the problem we face with no international legal instrument for older people in place. In the shadow of the Sydney harbour bridge, the inner city known as “the Rocks” and Millers Point is being redeveloped.  A casino is being built on the old wharves by one company, residential and office blocks by another company, and surrounding properties are being sold off by government.  Over 600 public housing tenants are being forcibly displaced from an area where there has been public housing for over 100 years. Sixty per cent are older people and sixty percent are women.  These families have often lived there for generations- they worked at the wharves during times when there were no worker’s rights and they went home covered in flour and coal dust because there were no showers; they lived through a Great Depression, wars and worked hard to make my nation what it is today.  They are part of the fabric of society and a living heritage at the heart of the city.  Over the past year, they have been door knocked and interviewed by the authorities with no legal representation, no attorney, no guardian or even a support person in the room, telephoned, texted and inundated with letters about moving out. One older person was told that her home was being renovated.  She put up with the renovations for 8 months only to find she is being moved out.  As the wharves are being knocked down for the casino to be built, hoards of rats are moving up the hill and to the area where these people live.  Nothing is being done about the rats.  If repairs and maintenance need to be done, they are told “if it’s not a big repair job, we will do minor repairs.” Meanwhile down the street, millions of dollars are being spent on the empty houses being prepared for sale at large profits.  It is clear that we need infrastructure, businesses and healthy national economies but not by breaching the human rights of older people.

The residents are being asked to sign consent forms over a cup of tea and an informal chat, which would result in the handing over of all of their most personal medical, legal and family information.  They are asked to complete online surveys (which include identifying themselves) for the chance to win an IPad, which has the same evidential effect as the consent forms in disclosing private  information.  It is left to attorneys and advocates to raise the alarm.

Breaches of the right to privacy for older people by governments, corporations and individuals, is a precursor to elder abuse.  Privacy over health and medical records, legal and financial records, physical privacy and privacy over personal information should all be part of a Convention.  This would build on Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so that there is accountability for violations against older people.

It so easy to move people on once you know all about them and you can find an excuse to put them in an aged care home, under the care of the state guardian, in a mental health facility, or simply to move them to somewhere deemed more suited to them, but which isolates from their lifelong friends and community.

Back in Sydney, stakeholders with vested interests are courting the media, and the Australian public is being courted with a fiction that these people are dole-bludgers, or unable to care for themselves, derelict and worthless.  Public opinion has fallen for the myth that these older people have had their million dollar harbour views and it’s time to move on.  The truth is that most of them don’t even have harbour views and they have basic, modest accommodation.  They are wonderful, interesting, independent people when you bother to speak to them. One of the elderly residents told me last week that to relocate them away from their community, is “one step short of putting you up against a wall and shooting you because it’s saying you are of no value to society.  You are worthless.”

What is occurring is the dissolution of a community.  In fact, this is an opportunity for government and industry to follow the lead of entrepreneurs such as the Yunis microcredit projects to support the housing of older people, to engage in social business.  If only they would seize such a life-changing opportunity.

Let us not forget that the most displaced peoples are in conflict zones in many countries.  Older people often suffer the most if they are frail and vulnerable and have health problems. Along with women and children, they are the first victims of physical and sexual violence, torture and often death.  Older people in conflict zones don’t usually start the journey to my country by refugee boat, or by plane. If they miraculously make the journey, they would not be allowed in, because they are too old to be a young, skilled migrant.  I respectfully request that Member States think of these forgotten people who need the protection of the proposed Convention the most.

My organisation is a Member of the Global Alliance of the Rights of Older People Australia- GAROP Australia- rightsofolderpeople.org.au.  Our alliance of leading Australian organisations advocating for and representing older people was formed as a result of last year’s working group.  We are proud to declare that our regional alliance is flourishing with the support of prominent politicians championing our cause.

Finally, I am also a Member of the International Commission of Jurists Australian Section. Today, I bring a message from the ICJ Australia to this Session:

“ICJ Australia supports the work of GAROP Australia in strengthening the rights and voices of older people in our region. ICJ Australia supports the need for an international legal instrument to protect older people’s human rights in Australia and across the globe and to allow them to live free from discrimination.”

In conclusion, a convention is inevitable, but only if we all continue to work diligently to achieve it.  My organisation supports and commends the intervention by the IFA Delegate today in calling for a Chair’s summary on the main elements of a new legal instrument. I respectfully recommend that the Chair considers documents that have been drafted such as the Chicago Declaration of July 2014, and the 2014 Declaration of Rights for Older People in Wales. To my Welsh colleagues I say congratulations- iechyd da a diolch yn fawr!

 

Thank you

SELECT QUOTES FROM SELECT COMMITTEE

SELECT QUOTES FROM SELECT COMMITTEE

There is currently underway an inquiry into social, public and affordable housing n New South Wales conducted by the Legislative Council inquiry conducted by the Social, public and affordable housing Committee of the NSW Legislative Council.  The inquiry has attracted over 200 submissions.  Below are some extracts from those submissions.

“Our poor should not be unfairly exiled from the city to make room for the Wealthy..”:

The Factory Community Centre, South Sydney. Submission 43

I ask you to think carefully before allowing these people with dollar signs in their eyes to destroy the very fabric of the Public Housing system in this State. How many people will end up on the streets if this breaking down of the Public Housing systems is allowed to continue? Thisinsistence that elderly people need to live in high rise buildings with lifts is a fallacy. “Vertical Villages” did not work in the UK and will not work here either. Tenants will become isolated and scared.

Ms Marie Sillars, of the Ivanhoe Estate, Ryde.  Submission 37

….When we are forced out will be nothing so I please ask of you all to let the Govt know that it isn’t a good idea to destroy or maybe this Govt thinks of it as gentle genocide (not really destroying whole communities as has been done before in other countries but just removing us to where everthat may be.

Mrs Terry Tooker, Millers Point, Submission 28.

The Community here is so important, especially if you’re older and especially if you’re on your own. The community is what you’ve got. The thought of having to move form her …it’s terrifying. It really is.

“Jill” Millers Point. Submission 243

Millers Point has a proud working class history; this should not be sacrificed to the highest bidder.

Allana Walton, Millers Point.  Submission 243

 I cannot imagine living anywhere else as this community has always been like an extended family. We were taught respect and to look out for and help each other.

Glenda Cox, Millers Point.  Submission 243

I have witnessed many changes in the area, but the one thing that has stayed solid is the closeness, support and friendliness of this unique community.

Wendy Ford. Millers Point.  Submission 243

Private home owners attract 6 times more public money than public housing gets through first home owner grants, negative hearing, capital gains tax exemptions and other tax concessions…. the way forward is massive investment in public housing.

Hands Off Glebe, Submission 51.

As a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 the Australian Government is obliged ot respect, protect and fulfil the rightto adequate housing…. The right to adequate housing … is a right to live in peace, security and dignity.  … The Committee respectfully submits that the Government should be seeking to create a legally enforceable right to adequate housing.

Human Rights Committee,

The Law Society of NSW.  Submission 40.

The plan for those suburbs, and my premise however is that following rebuilding and reconstitution on state housing land blocks, some 70% of the rebuilt units will be sold or disposed of in the property market to private purchases or occupied by private renters in the private rental market (non-public housing tenants).  Only some 30% of current public housing premises will return as public housing dedicated premises under the guise of a new social mix.

Larry Billington, Redfern-Waterloo. Submission 166

As a resident in the west ryde/north ryde area, I am concerned for the wellbeing of the 500 people who would find themselves without accomodation if this plan is to go ahead. To kick these people out with the intent of making a profit from the new real estate is just plain wrong. Please do not allow this construction to go ahead.

Submission 185

We are very privleged to live in this country; a country where we have the ability and resources to help the poor and the needy. Let us use our advantages for all and not only for those who can “afford it.” 

Submission 194

 And from “Precinct News”, July 2014:

  “First they came in and refurbished the units, with new carpet and flyscreens. And then they started to install lifts and intercom for safety, and I thought, ‘wow!’ It was really terrific,” she says. “And then we hear that they’re going to demolish it. It was such a shock! I just thought ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it?’ They were in good condition.”

Barbara says residents and community groups tried everything to stop the demolition. “I was the last one to leave,” she says. “They wanted me to go to a new place in Lilyfield, but I didn’t want to leave Glebe, my friends and the community.Now it’s been a big hole in the ground for three years.”

Barbara Roberts-Simson was a resident of the former Cowper Street estate for 42 years before its demolition.

 

 

 

Councillor Irene Doutney visits the leak May 9

Councillor Irene Doutney Greens Councillor on City Council visited the leak behind the houses 77-67 Mitchell Street.

She agreed to ask traffic to fix the signs in the lane so that health dept truck can regularly get down that lane and clean it up until HOUSING fix the leak.

She agreed also that the drains engineer should look at the leak in an effort to get the water to run away from the back endurances of homes.

After 12 years this work is still a work in progress.

Denis