When asked whether the Commander’s views were being taken on board, a spokesperson from the Department of Family and Community Services explained: “We will always listen to proposals from the Police and give them careful consideration.”
However, the president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, and a Housing NSW tenant of 25 years, Ray Jackson, expressed outrage. Mr Jackson argued that it is not the role of the Police to dictate who can or cannot live in the area: “Holding the addicts to account whilst not cleaning out the known drug dealers in the area smacks of you taking the lazy way out. Get rid of the dealers and the addicts will go elsewhere.”
Greens Councillor Irene Doutney said: “Saying that all public housing tenants with prior drug offences are going to be a problem is unfair and unrealistic.” She also pointed out the important role that Housing plays in helping rehabilitation. “There are a lot of people who when they are released from gaol, rely on public housing to get themselves back on their feet. You have to house people – if they are rejected from public housing they will end up sleeping on the streets.”
The issue of drugs, however, is not the only thing that has been affecting residents. The SSH has been contacted by residents from the Kendall Building in Redfern reporting that a previously evicted resident had moved back into the same building (on a different floor) and was vandalising his former floor. A spokesperson from the Department of Family and Community Services assured that it was not common for an evicted tenant to be resettled in the same building.
This is of little consolation to residents who have had to deal with 12 incidences of milk, garbage and/or faeces dumped in the hallways between June and October. Some of the damaged carpet has been removed but is unlikely to be replaced until the vandal is removed. The residents will have to wait till the New Year for a tribunal hearing.