Friday, May 20, 2022
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Public housing – justice must be done

I, with the Church Council of St John’s, am very concerned about the NSW government’s recent decision to sell public housing properties in Millers Point Sydney and the subsequent planned eviction of the Millers Point residents. Together, we believe this decision fails to adequately consider the importance of public housing in the City of Sydney. It fails to recognise the dignity of the present residents. It fails to address the overarching need for more public housing by placing over 300 people at the top of the already very long waiting list, without any provision of additional housing to accommodate them.

We are conscious of the anxiety now experienced in Glebe in the wake of this decision.

As a Church Council, we do not have confidence that the proceeds of the sale will in fact go towards the acquisition or construction of needed public housing stock. We fear it will be the familiar story of sale proceeds from valuable assets covering recurrent costs; costs which should be part of a sustainable operating budget with an income from rent and investment.

We are convinced of four key priorities.

1. The NSW government of the day must have a sustainable and transparent policy on affordable housing, especially public housing.

2. People on low incomes, particularly pensioners, must have access to adequate housing which is readily accessible to transport and services.

3. The government must ensure the housing it provides, or helps provide, is properly maintained.

4. The presence of public housing, close to the city and in high-income areas, is good for the overall life of the city, because it promotes a healthy diversity and retards fortress and ghetto mentalities, both of which work against social cohesion.

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