This position was reversed in a letter sent on behalf of the Minister Upton, dated December 23, 2013, which said: “Attendance has been a challenge to maintain with respect to competing priorities within the gamut of tenancy management responsibility.” The letter went on to say that “staff will not be attending the Precinct Meeting on a regular basis in future”.
This position was restated by a senior staffer 11 months later whilst handing copies of the Social Housing in NSW discussion paper to tenants. The staffer then urged the tenants to provide innovative ideas for the reform of the social housing system in NSW. The irony of “we do not want to engage with you, however now we do want you to talk to us” amused the tenants.
If the Minister had not changed the decades-old practice of staff attending Precinct meetings the Minister and the Department would have had knowledge of the tenant body’s concerns and ideas that could be fed into the deliberations arising from the discussion paper.