Today the NSW Minns Labor Government has broken an election promise and shamefully announced it will press ahead with plans to privatise half of the Waterloo South public housing estate.
Under the plans, the current 749 public dwellings will be demolished to make way for 3,000 new apartments - only 30% of which will be social housing, which is just 2% more than the Liberals original plans. A further 20% will be “affordable” housing, and the remaining 50% will be private.
Jenny Leong Member for Newtown and Greens NSW Spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness said:
“Today NSW Labor has broken their election promise to Waterloo residents that they would stop the sell-off of the Waterloo Public Housing Estate.
“What they have announced today are plans that are in substance only marginally better than what was originally planned under the Liberal National government.
“NSW Labor had a chance to end the Liberal’s privatisation agenda, instead they are continuing this shameful legacy of evicting public housing tenants from their homes, for insulting increases to social housing stock that barely touch the sides of the housing crisis.
“The Greens will continue to stand in solidarity with the Waterloo community, public housing tenants and activists across the state - to stop the privatisation agenda, push for the site to remain 100% public housing, and for affordable housing to be actually affordable in perpetuity.“ said Ms Leong.
Sylvie Ellsmore, City of Sydney Deputy Mayor and Greens Councillor said:
“We are losing public housing in the inner city at a rapid rate. This project will mean we go backwards in terms of the percentage of public housing in the city.
“The Waterloo South plans have been sold as an increase in social housing, but in reality they will see the City’s largest public housing estate go from 100% public housing – which it is now – to 30% or less public housing.
“It is beyond disappointing that we have seen the continuation of many Liberal projects to demolish and privatise inner city public housing – not just in Waterloo, but in Glebe and Erskineville.
“The maths simply doesn’t stack up that we need to privatise so much public land to upgrade public housing. The decision to rezone and privatise public land worth billions of dollars need to be the subject of public scrutiny,” said Deputy Lord Mayor Ellsmore.
The Greens are calling on the NSW Labor Government to go further than their announced extension of temporary accommodation from 2 days to 7 days, and remove the cap entirely, to keep people safe and work towards ending homelessness.
Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown and Greens Spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness said:
“The Greens are calling for the limit on temporary accommodation to be scrapped, it would be near impossible for anyone to find long-term, secure housing in just 7 days - let alone people experiencing crisis.
“Extending the limit on temporary accommodation by just 5 days when the public housing waiting list in some areas is 10+ years, there is a dire shortage of transitional housing options, and affordable rentals in the private housing market are non-existent, is not enough.
“Any limit on temporary accommodation fails to put vulnerable people’s needs first - it is not a stable solution and means too many people will be forced back into unsafe situations.
“The limits on temporary accommodation need to be scrapped entirely, alongside a massive investment in specialist support services, so we can move to a Housing First approach in NSW that will end homelessness and keep people safe.
“Temporary accommodation should only end when someone is at the point of securing safe, affordable, ongoing housing.”
Abigail Boyd, Greens Spokesperson for Gendered Violence and Abuse said:
“We are in the middle of a housing and cost of living crisis. It’s almost impossible to find permanent accommodation, be approved and move somewhere within a week. It’s not just an unrealistic expectation, it's a dangerous one.
“Limiting crisis accommodation is one of the largest obstacles to escaping violence. The 7-day period is still 3 weeks short of the period that experts in the DFV sector have been calling for as their minimum ask, for years now.
“This government is still asking victim-survivors, at a time when we know they are at the most risk of harm, to scramble to secure accommodation within a week.
"We had expected this new Labor government to make tackling the domestic violence crisis in our state a far higher priority. They know the stories, they know the evidence, it's time they act on it.”
The Greens welcome indications that the NSW Labor Government will consider action on excessive rent increases, but a consultation paper won’t pay the rent. Renters need a freeze on rent increases while this longer-term reform is implemented.
Commenting on the NSW Labor Government’s rental reform consultation paper released today, Jenny Leong Member for Newtown and Greens NSW Spokesperson for Renters’ Rights and Housing said:
“The Greens welcome that the NSW Labor Government is coming to the table with reforms to make renting more affordable and secure - reforms that the Greens have been pushing on for years.
“The Greens and renters are ready to fight the powerful real estate and developer lobby that will no doubt be ready to stop reforms from undermining their profits.
“Ending unfair, no grounds evictions and allowing pets in rentals are long-overdue reforms that would give renters desperately needed security.
“But we need to ensure that no-grounds evictions are ended for all renters on all leases - including renters at the end of a fixed term lease.
“Any action on excessive rent increases need to include longer-term rent controls to ensure we are bringing down the record-high rent costs and actually making renting affordable.
“Dealing with rent increases isn’t a data or information sharing exercise - renters know when their rent increase is excessive, what they need is clear limits on what a rent increase can be.
“The Greens want to make unlimited rent increases illegal, establish rent caps, and put hard limits on the amount and frequency of rent increases.
“But a consultation paper won’t pay the rent and renters are in crisis right now. We need to freeze rent increases for as long as these reforms take to be considered.
“The Greens Emergency Rent Freeze Bill is before NSW Parliament right now - we could have this in place within the month if the NSW Labor Government backed it in.
“Across the country the Greens are standing with renters and pushing state and federal governments to go further and faster on rental reform.
“With rent caps now being seriously considered in NSW, a rent freeze not ruled out in Victoria yesterday, and renter’s rights pushed onto the national cabinet agenda - it’s clear a rent freeze is possible. ”
Just days after committing to ending no grounds evictions, NSW Labor have teamed up with the Liberal National Government to block the Greens bill to end no grounds evictions.
Greens and Independent MP’s voted in NSW Parliament this afternoon for the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Prohibiting No Grounds Evictions) Bill 2022 to be urgently brought on for debate and voted on before the end of the year.
Greens spokesperson for Renters Rights and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP said:
“NSW Labor are telling renters one thing and doing another by refusing to support a push in Parliament that could end no grounds evictions by Christmas.
“Labor’s election announcement is cold comfort for renters in this state who will spend the next six months in chronic housing insecurity waiting on an election promise that may never be delivered.
“Every month we delay means thousands more renters will face rent hikes they’re too scared to negotiate, evictions because they’re asking for repairs, or be forced to move out of their home for no reason.
“Ending no grounds evictions is not controversial. We know from housing experts and tenant advocates that it is a simple and long overdue reform, and the reality is renters simply cannot afford to wait for a potential NSW Labor Government for desperately needed housing security.
“When it comes to addressing the cost of living crisis, election promises won’t pay the bills. Ending no grounds evictions is an immediate thing that would relieve the pressure on skyrocketing rents.
“The Greens back renters and will vote for renters rights every MP, every vote, every time.”
Things continue to move rapidly when it comes to COVID restrictions and supports. We will do our best to keep this page updated with the latest information and links.Read more
Key suburbs in inner Sydney and Melbourne are showing significantly lower rates of Covid-19 vaccination rates than in surrounding suburbs but this appears to be due to a statistical anomaly.
These rates are being used to determine whether individuals will be able to enter South Australia in coming weeks and also whether South Australian residents will be required to quarantine upon returning from these areas in Sydney or Melbourne.
Our office wrote to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard about this issue in August. You can read this letter here. Minister Hazzard's response indicated that COVID-19 vaccination statistics may not accurately reflect current suburb populations.
We have written a joint letter with Ellen Sandall MP (Member for Melbourne) and Tammy Franks MLC (SA), to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Premiers of NSW, Victoria and South Australia calling for an urgent review of the figures used to calculate quarantine percentages. You can read this letter here.
NSW Health is using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population 2019 data which has been calculated on the 2016 Census, to calculate its postcode Covid-19 vaccination rates.
The reason for the vaccination rate percentage anomalies appears to be directly linked to the changes in the student population in these suburbs as a result of the pandemic. There has been a significant change in students living in and close to our major universities in Sydney and Melbourne. In the suburbs of Darlington, Redfern, University of Sydney, Ultimo, Chippendale and Kensington in Sydney and in several inner-city suburbs in Melbourne such as the CBD, there are significant differences in vaccination rates compared with the overall city percentages.
The reasons for this are simple. Many students who may have been located in any of these suburbs on the 2016 Census night are no longer living in these suburbs due to the impacts of the pandemic. Some will have moved back to live with their families and will have been registered at these home addresses when getting vaccinated; whereas many international students are no longer based in these suburbs and may be still overseas waiting to return; or other students who lost casual work in these suburbs, will have moved out of the inner city due to increased rental stress. We are also aware that people have chosen to move away from the inner city in Melbourne to outer suburbs and rural areas as working from home became the norm.
Reports from the City of Melbourne indicate that international students had comprised a third of the CBD’s population prior to the pandemic. The City of Melbourne estimates around 28,000 international students have left the city during the pandemic. This situation is very similar in Sydney’s inner suburbs which house 4 major tertiary institutions and a number of large TAFE colleges. As mentioned above, the pandemic has given people the opportunity to move away from their workplaces and work remotely in suburban or rural areas, however these movements will not be shown statistically until after the next census.
Although NSW is currently registering close to a 90% double vaccination rate, the University of Sydney 2006 postcode area is registering a single and double vaccination rate of less than 10%; while the adjacent suburbs of Darlington, Chippendale and Golden Grove (postcode 2008) are currently registering a double vaccination rate of between 50-60%, while Redfern (postcode 2016), Camperdown (postcode 2050), and Ultimo (postcode 2007) are all indicating between 60-70%.
Additionally the suburbs of Elizabeth Bay, Kings Cross and HMAS Kuttabul (postcode 2011) are showing a 50-60% fully vaccinated rate which we believe is due to the fact that the large number of personnel who would have been based at the HMAS Kuttabul navy base in Potts Point on Census night, are no longer based onsite and would have been off site for the purposes of vaccinations.
We are calling on the federal Health Minister and the Premiers of NSW, VIC and SA, to urgently address these statistical anomalies in relation to interstate travel to and from South Australia so that residents from these cities will not be unfairly impacted by travel restrictions which are based on outdated population predictions which have skewed the actual vaccination rates in these areas.
We have developed a directory of contact details for health advice, income support, government services and assistance available regarding COVID-19.Read more
Greens housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP, has condemned the headline initiative announced with the release of the NSW Housing Strategy today as a dream for property developers and a nightmare for people living with the reality of housing insecurity and housing stress.Read more
We are so pleased and hopeful that Lidia Thorpe has this week formally joined our team as the newest Australian Greens Senator. After the Victorian Parliament held a joint sitting to confirm her as a Federal Senator for Victoria, Lidia took her place in the Greens Federal Party Room.Read more
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP appeared on Ch.10 News regarding the Black Lives Matter protest.