These are very difficult times for many people, especially for those living in high-rise housing in our inner city. Our office is working hard to ensure that during this time, all public housing buildings across NSW are kept clean and safe for all residents, NSW Health leads any emergency response plans and procedures if there is a COVID-19 cluster in a public housing tower and most importantly, that the dignity and rights of public housing tenants are protected.
Update 17 July 2020
We have produced a community safety notice in eight languages and will hand deliver this with a letter to all people living in high rise public housing in our electorate. This will give tenants the latest information we have about action being taking by the NSW Government, provide them with details of the assurances we have been given, as well as encouraging them reach out for help if they need it.
Update: 10-14 July 2020
We have been in direct communication with the office of Minister Ward, who is responsible for public housing tenancies, and a received a briefing from the Department of Communities and Justice. In response to our requests they have now outlined the action they are taking.
We have been advised that from this week:
- Cleaners will be onsite in high-rise buildings from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, to regularly clean lifts and common areas
- Hand sanitiser will be supplied at all security points and replenished by cleaners
We also pushed for all the common laundries to be fixed and an audit of this, with a view to resolving it is under way.
The well-being of public housing residents is our priority and that means we will continue to work to ensure:
- Public housing buildings across NSW are kept clean and safe for all residents.
- NSW Health leads any emergency response plans and procedures if there is a COVID-19 cluster in a public housing tower.
- The dignity and rights of public housing tenants are protected.
Update: 10 July 2020
We delivered hand sanitiser to entrance foyers to people living in Redfern, Waterloo and Surry Hills high rise public housing in our electorate. Supplied to us by NSW Health, we hoped this would be an interim measure while we got action to have hand sanitiser stations installed.
This was also a great opportunity to chat directly with residents who live in these communities about how things were going on the ground, and what they felt were the biggest needs in terms of prevention and community well-being. Cleaning of common areas was the main concern. A new issue raised was the issue of common laundries not working, so more people than needed to be sharing the ones that were working.
See more pictures on Facebook here.
Update: 7 July 2020
Following the deeply concerning scenes happening in public housing in Victoria, we wrote to the Premier urging her to give her assurance that:
- Proactive preventative health measures are being implemented in public housing across NSW,
- NSW Health is and will continue to be the lead agency for handling and managing clear contingency and emergency response plans and that protocols are in place should a similar cluster arise in a public housing high rise building in Sydney,
- Dignity and rights of public housing tenants will be protected should there be an outbreak, and that these people will be treated in the same manner and with the same level of care, support, and treatment as all others in our community.
We also requested immediate preventative action, including:
- Increase to daily cleaning of common areas, including lifts, laundries, hallways and entrances
- Hand sanitizer stations installed and maintained at all entrances to buildings, in common areas and by lift entrances
- Health signage in a range of languages reminding people about hand hygiene, social distancing and symptoms throughout buildings and in lifts