The local residents’ action group "Hands off Glebe" held a protest on May 18 to stop the demolition of public housing in Cowper St, Glebe. The 15 buildings on the Cowper St site have the capacity to house 289 people but the former NSW Labor government decided to sell most of the land to private developers, with the remnant being earmarked for new public and so called affordable housing. The newly-elected Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker, joined and addressed the protest. Workers on the site stopped work for the day in support.
"We have pointed out to the NSW government that there is no development approval for replacement buildings. We face the prospect of the area being an empty space for years", said Denis Doherty for the residents' group.
“This project was a travesty imposed on us by the incompetent former NSW Government and it is time that the new Government reversed this stupid decision.
“We have appealed to unions and to the Minister and also to the local member Jamie Parker to act to call off the demolition workers.
“This is one of the first real tests of the Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Women Pru Goward. Will she act to preserve public housing in the city area where homelessness is at an all time high?
“What is happening in our view is that perfectly liveable housing is being senselessly demolished in the middle of a housing crisis. With the outlay a small amount we would immediately have the facilities to house 289 people."
What is happening in Glebe, Doherty added, is just one small part of a drive to force public housing tenants out of the city. It is also happening in Redfern, Waterloo and Millers Point. Poor people have always lived in the city, and removing public housing only forces more of them into homelessness, he said.