MEDIA RELEASE: Greens condemn official approval of Waterloo public housing demolition
Today’s rezoning approval officially rubber stamps the destruction of the Waterloo South public housing estate and will force hundreds of Waterloo residents out of their home.
Member for Newtown and Greens Housing Spokesperson Jenny Leong said:
“Today’s approval rubber stamps the unacceptable destruction of public housing in Waterloo and will force hundreds of people out of their home and the community they’ve lived in for years.
“Like many public housing estates, Waterloo has been neglected by successive governments who have underfunded maintenance and let our public housing deteriorate to justify the widescale sell off of public land.
“The Waterloo community has resisted this redevelopment since it was shamefully first announced just before Christmas in 2015.
“Since then the housing crisis has only gotten worse and the chronic lack of public and affordable housing in Sydney and throughout NSW has intensified.
“This could have been a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the housing and inequality crisis and genuinely invest in a massive increase of public housing in the inner city
“Disgracefully this rezoning will see a huge amount of public land sold off and turned over to the private housing market for private profit, for a measly increase in the number of social housing units.
“Right now there are more than 100,000 people on the public housing waiting list, some of whom have been waiting for over a decade. This rezoning will do nothing to meet their immediate need for safe and secure housing.
“This destruction isn't inevitable. NSW Labor must commit to stopping the demolition and co-designing a renewal strategy with the community that keeps people in their homes and ensures the site remains 100% public housing - not a plaything for private developers.
“The Greens stand in solidarity with all Waterloo residents now facing forced relocations. We will always defend public housing and everyone’s right to a safe, secure and affordable home.,” Ms Leong said.
Sydney Metro and Waterloo Metro Quarter - privatising rail and airspace
The Sydney Metro City and Southwest has impacted local residents over many years with compulsory home and substratum acquisitions as well as changes to the heavy rail system which will mean that the Metro line will replace heavy rail services on the Sydenham to Bankstown line by 2024.
Sydney Metro City and Southwest will extend from the end of Sydney Metro Northwest at Chatswood and run under Sydney Harbour, through new CBD stations and south west to Bankstown. It is a massive transport project which has been partially privatised with the NSW Government's Transport Administration Amendment (Sydney Metro) Bill 2018 which was opposed by the Greens. You can read Jenny's speech here which calls out the privatisation of public transport and the closures of heavy rail corridors between Bankstown and Parramatta.
The bill established the Sydney Metro corporation as a corporation and a New South Wales Government agency under the Transport Administration Act. While this bill allows the Sydney Metro to be owned by the New South Wales Government and be part of the Government's transport cluster, it gives much broader powers to Sydney Metro, especially in relation to land acquisitions and residential and commercial developments. Our office advocated for local residents in the Newtown Electorate who found themselves unable to sell or take new loans on their properties for long periods due to the government's compulsory substratum acquisitions and bureaucratic delays.
Artist impression of Waterloo Metro Quarter
We've seen massive commercial and housing development proposals above some of the Metro stations on lands which were compulsorily acquired at rates which were under the market rates. These developments will have little or no affordable and/or social housing and community infrastructure such as schools and sporting facilities yet they will bring many thousands more residents into communities where the infrastructure is already inadequate.
In Waterloo where the Waterloo Metro Quarter development has been approved there will be three towers —a 17-storey office building, 24-storey apartment building and a 25-storey student accommodation building (which means that the accommodation in this building will not be subject to affordable housing percentages) as well as commercial and plaza space below with the new Metro station stop. Even though this development is right above a Metro station, there will be huge parking for tenants which will cause further traffic congestion in this densely populated area. This new precinct will cover the area bounded by Botany Road, Cope Street, Raglan Street and Wellington Street in Waterloo and yet it will not even have a community centre - which was planned but revised into a privatised childcare centre. More information here and here.
The Greens do not support the privatisation of public transport, lands and airspace such as is occurring in relation to Metro stations and believe that public transport must be publicly owned and managed, and that any Metro housing and commercial developments must include significant numbers of affordable and social housing as well as adequate community infrastructure.
Save public housing
Everyone deserves access to a safe and secure home. But successive Liberal and Labor governments have sold off public housing for private profit while starving the upkeep and maintenance of funding.
The public housing waiting list has blown out of control, with some people waiting up to 10 years for a home on the public housing waiting list.
And many people who are living in public housing are dealing with ongoing challenges around safety and maintenance, living with leaking roofs, broken stoves, mould, rats and dodgy plumbing.
The Greens believe housing should be a universal right. Just like Medicare and our public school system, everyone should be able to have access to public, community or affordable housing if they need it.
We want to see investment in public housing so that everyone on the waiting list has a home and all public housing properties are properly maintained.
Sign now to support public housing!
Add your name and call on the NSW Government to properly support and invest in public housing, including:
- Stop the sell-off of public housing and public land for private profit
- Massively invest in building more public, social and affordable housing, so everyone on the waiting list and everyone who is homeless - can have a home
- An immediate injection of funding to address the maintenance backlog and ensure decent living conditions for all public housing tenants
Did you watch 'Could you Survive on the Breadline?'
Like you, we are appalled by the conditions shown in this program with so many people being forced to live with inadequate income support and poor housing making it so hard just to survive.
The situation faced by Shenane or Simone in this series is not new. We’ve seen the punitive measures inflicted on those who are unemployed and the failures of successive governments to do more to ensure that no one is forced to live below the poverty line in NSW. We’ve seen them run down Centrelink payments and reduce the quantity and quality of public and affordable housing, leaving about 1.1 million people struggling just to make ends meet and living in housing that is inadequate and in shocking condition.
The Greens know that the government is responsible for making people live in poverty and for the growing economic inequality in this country. We have fought hard to lift the rate of Newstart and JobSeeker. The Liberal National government has made a political choice - a clear and conscious decision to keep people living in poverty while preferring to line the pockets of billionaires with tax cuts, while forcing millions of Australians to live without adequate income to buy enough food or pay the bills.
Governments can and should provide adequate income support as we saw when the Covid-19 crisis began. But now they are choosing to force people to try to live on just $44 a day in the middle of a recession due to a global pandemic.
$44 a day is not enough to live on. This means people go without meals, without medication, without the funds to pay for heating or cooling and many lose their homes. Jenny Leong has recently written about the unacceptable situation of people needing to access charities for food during the pandemic because the social support system is so inadequate. And she has called for real investment in social and affordable housing and for an end to the sell off and privatisation of public housing.
This SBS documentary series highlights what it means to have to try to live on an income which is below the poverty line and to have to live in public housing which has been left to run down over many decades and is badly managed and never repaired.
Jenny as the NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing has advocated in the NSW parliament for increased funding for public housing since 2015 when she was elected because we know that the housing system is broken.
Jenny was asked to participate in this series and to spend time living with sharing the daily challenges faced by people attempting to survive in very difficult circumstances. She accepted this offer to join the series so that she could further amplify the concerns of the people she met and lived with and those in the Newtown electorate she has been working for since she was elected.
If you need support or assistance or would like to share your thoughts on this issue, you can contact our office: [email protected] and also check out this information sheet which lists a range of organisations and services that are available in NSW.
Media Release - Greens slam NSW Budget’s failure to deliver a plan to address housing inequality
Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness has slammed the NSW Liberal/National Government’s 2021 budget which demonstrates they have no plan to end the housing and homelessness crisis for people across NSW even though they have the money and the solutions to do so.
“Today the NSW Liberal Treasurer said it was his job to imagine a ‘better future for everyone’, and yet there is no vision in this budget for a better future for those suffering housing stress, languishing on the public housing waiting list or seeking to find affordable places to live.
“Yet again, the NSW Liberal National Coalition has made a choice to ignore the massive, and ever-growing, housing inequality in this state by instead choosing to announce some small scale measures and spin them as a good news story.Read more
Community saves public housing but more to be done
The decision by Housing Minister Melinda Pavey to commit to 100% social housing in the redevelopment at Cowper St and Wentworth Park Road in Glebe is a huge win by the community and a welcome change but there’s far more to be done, say NSW Greens MPs, Jamie Parker and Jenny Leong.Read more
Save South Eveleigh Public Housing BBQ
The NSW Liberal National government is planning to demolish and privatise the public housing estate in South Eveleigh on Explorer St and Aurora Place.
Residents will be forced to relocate while high density housing is built on this site that will contain up to 70% private housing.
Currently there are 46 town houses on the site housing families and larger households. The plan is to increase the number of dwellings to 430 and make 70% of these private housing with only 30% public housing. This may also end up reducing the actual amount of public housing on the site as 3 and 4 bedroom homes are being replaced by 1 and 2 bedroom units.
Public land should not be given to private developers. We are facing an acute affordable housing crisis with some 50,000 eligible applications for public housing on the NSW waiting list with delays of up to 10 years for housing.
Communities in Glebe are facing a similar situation with the public housing estate in Franklin Street up for demolition and 70% privitisation as well.
Join the gathering and BBQ to keep public housing in public hands!
Save South Eveleigh Public Housing BBQ
Saturday February 13 from 12-2pm
South Sydney Rotary Park
Share this Facebook event
Co hosted by Jenny Leong MP and the Friends of Erskineville (FOE)
Read our media statement on this and the proposal in Glebe
Read the Resolution from the South Eveleigh Community meeting of Dec 2020
Sign the Friends of Erskineville and Hands Off Glebe petition to the Housing Minister
Read Jenny Leong MP's Notice of Motion in the NSW Parliament
Community rejects public housing redevelopment and sell off in Eveleigh
Local residents and community members in Eveleigh unanimously rejected the NSW Government's plan to redevelop the Explorer Street public housing estate at a community online meeting led by Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and Greens NSW spokesperson on Housing. The meeting opposed the plan to use this site to create a large number of high density private dwellings with a small increase in public housing and affordable dwellings.
The following resolution was passed on Dec 8, 2020:
This meeting of residents expresses its opposition to the proposed demolition and rebuilding of the social housing units at Explorer Street in Eveleigh.
We believe public land should be used exclusively for social and affordable housing. These projects won’t address the social housing shortage in the inner city, they are out of keeping with the low-rise character of Eveleigh and they will displace residents for years.
We call on the NSW Government to:
- Abandon their proposal to knock-down and rebuild this estate.
- Develop a comprehensive plan to fund a significant increase in social housing construction in NSW and significant maintenance works to ensure every home is in good, liveable condition.
South Eveleigh Public Housing Redevelopment
Jenny Leong MP gave a Notice of Motion raising questions about the redevelopment of public housing in Eveleigh and calling for improved and increased public, social and affordable housing on public land.Read more
Budget fails to deliver real outcomes in housing
This year’s budget was an opportunity for the NSW government to deliver major investment in social and affordable housing to address the urgent need for homes that people can afford especially at this time as we face the social and economic impacts of Covid in the coming year.
Unfortunately the Treasurer has not delivered any significant funds, plans or strategies to deal with the growing crisis in housing in NSW. This is in stark contrast to the $5.2b that the Victorian government committed to spend on the development of some 12,000 public housing dwellings in the next 4 years.
There is $110m this year to provide upgrades and maintenance to social housing properties, including properties managed by Community Housing Providers and this figure includes funds to provide jobs for this work.
This is important funding as it’s vital to address the chronic neglect of maintenance in the government’s social housing stock. However this funding does not address the urgent need to build and develop many more dwellings that people can afford to live in during 2020-2021.
The allocation of $182.9 million for the construction and acceleration of new social housing properties across NSW by the Land and Housing Corporation and the claim that this will result in an addition 1300 new social housing dwellings, is not adequate.
This will not produce homes for the more than 100,000 people on the social housing waiting list now or the many more who will need social housing as the economic situation worsens in the next 12 months as a result of Covid.
Just $17.3m has been allocated to funding Aboriginal housing for only 53 new homes in regional and metro locations. Included in this allocation is support for Aboriginal employment in the construction and trade industry.
The lack of social and affordable Aboriginal housing is severe and will not be solved by this small funding package.
$14.4 million has been allocated to support the Aboriginal Community Housing (ACHP) sector to undertake maintenance, roof restoration/replacements, air conditioning and solar power installation, and construct granny flats and extensions to improve living conditions for Aboriginal people in NSW.
Compared to the $100m allocation for sports infrastructure in NSW, these budget allocations are shamefully inadequate in addressing the urgent housing needs of Aboriginal people in NSW.
The support for homelessness services in this budget is welcome. The $291.8 million to deliver a range of specialist homelessness services across New South Wales is crucially important given the predicted rise in those experiencing homelessness as a result of the impacts of the pandemic and is testament to the positive work done by peak homelessness and housing bodies throughout the pandemic.
For those hoping to buy a home, the Treasurer’s statements on a potential transition away from the current transfer duty and land tax system should mean that purchasing a home is more affordable for first home buyers into the future.