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.
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.
Everyone deserves access to a safe and secure home. But successive Liberal and Labor governments have sold off public housing for private profit and failed to adequately invest in maintenance to keep public housing dwellings in good condition.
The public housing waiting list has blown out of control, with more than 50,000 approved applicants waiting up to a decade for homes that may never materialise.
Meanwhile, too many public housing tenants face unacceptable wait times for basic maintenance and are forced to live with significant health and safety risks like leaking roofs, broken stoves, mould, rats, and dodgy plumbing.
The Greens want to see immediate, massive investment in public housing so that everyone on the waiting list has a home and all public housing properties are properly maintained.
Add your name and call on the NSW Government to properly support and invest in public housing by:
- Stopping the sell-off of public housing and public land for private profit
- Massively investing in building new public and social housing to meet the needs of the growing waiting list
- Bringing maintenance back into government responsibility to ensure decent living conditions for all public housing tenants
Today's announcement by the NSW Minister for Social Housing, Pru Goward on the plans for the redevelopment of the Waterloo housing estate represents one of the NSW Liberal National government’s largest sell offs of a public asset, according to NSW Greens Housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown.
“This is public land and right now there’s an urgent need for a significant action to address the housing stress people in our city are currently experiencing.
“In the current crisis, it is unacceptable that 70% of the proposed development on this public land will be turned over to corporate developers to make massive profits – it’s time to call a halt to this scam.Read more
The Sydney Metro will be a privately operated metro line running from Chatswood to Bankstown. The southern part of the route from the CBD to Bankstown will replace the current Bankstown line on the Sydney Trains network – a functional line that is now in public hands.
The Bankstown line includes two train stations within the Electorate of Newtown – Erskineville and St Peters. The construction of the Metro will have significant impacts on services at those stations, as well as on services at nearby Sydenham and Marrickville stations that are also on the Bankstown line.
There will also be impacts on residents who live near the Marrickville ‘dive tunnel’ that will join the existing terrestrial train line to the new underground section of the Metro.
A new metro station will be built in Waterloo, where around 2000 existing public housing residences will be demolished to make way for a large residential development. There will be impacts on residents around that area too.Read more
Around 150 residents joined a public meeting at The Factory in Waterloo on Thursday 11th February, to voice their concerns about the future of public housing in Waterloo.
The cause of concerns is the announcement by the NSW Government late last year that two thousand Waterloo public housing residences will be demolished to make way for a development built around the new metro train station.Read more
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.Read more