Public And Affordable Housing Needs To Be Key In Waterloo Metro Development

NSW Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong, which covers the Redfern area, and Jan Barham, Housing spokesperson have responded to today’s announcement that a private Metro station will be built in Waterloo highlighting the serious housing concerns.

Two thousand existing public housing residences will be demolished to make way for the development.

Member for Newtown Jenny Leong says:

“The announcement by the state Government today will see Urban Growth taking over the development of large parts of our Redfern/Waterloo public housing community. This is cause for serious concern – not because redevelopment of public housing isn’t needed, but because Urban Growth’s track record in our area has seen some pretty devastating outcomes – including the selloff of the Australian Technology Park site and massive proposed overdevelopment at North Eveleigh.

“While we acknowledge the Government’s commitment that the number of social housing dwellings will be maintained in the new development, we need to ensure that these dwellings will continue to house the same number of residents.

“We have seen cases of redevelopment of public housing where the number of dwellings has been maintained but with a significant reduction in size. As a minimum we need a commitment that there will be no reduction in the number of bedrooms or number of residents that can be housed.

“Our community needs a significant investment in affordable housing, which needs to come on top of any commitment to maintain existing public housing.

“Reports suggesting two thirds of the redevelopment will be private and one third social and affordable housing has the priorities wrong – we need to see these figures reversed.

“Urban Growth might pull all the strings when it comes to decisions made by the NSW Government but they do not control this community.

NSW Greens Spokesperson for Housing, Social Housing and Homelessness Jan Barham says:

“With almost 60,000 people on the waiting list for social housing in NSW it’s not enough to maintain existing numbers of social housing properties. The redevelopment around Waterloo is a prime opportunity to provide more inner-city social housing, which allows people experiencing disadvantage to live close to transport and with good access to opportunities for work, education and support services.

“The private rental market in inner Sydney is simply out of reach for people on low and moderate incomes, leaving too many essential workers forced with long commutes and reduced quality of life. The windfall that will come from the private residential components of this development should allow the Government to allocate a higher percentage of the dwellings to be affordable rental housing to accommodate more of these key workers.

“It’s important that the design of this area promotes accessibility and creates housing opportunities for people with disability and older people, for whom much of the existing housing stock is inappropriate.

“Minister Hazzard’s assurance that existing residents will have the opportunity to transition into new social housing in the area where their life, services and social supports are based is welcome but must be managed appropriately. It’s essential that the Government minimises displacement and disruption for tenants and makes every effort to ensure they maintain their community connections and aren’t forced to move far away due to the lack of suitable housing nearby.”

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