The Save Millers Point spring picnic, held at Argyle Place in the heart of the historic inner suburb on September 14, drew thousands of people to support the campaign to stop the sale of public housing by the NSW Coalition government. Live music, market stalls, a free BBQ and information about the campaign were features of the day.
An art exhibition and film screening was held. In addition, a history walk took attendees on a tour of the unique architectural sites of the area.
A public forum heard speakers, including Sydney Mayor Clover Moore, independent state MP Alex Greenwich, Labor candidate for Sydney Eddie Lloyd, Greens councillor Irene Doutney, Maritime Union of Australia NSW secretary Paul McAleer, and Save Millers Point campaign spokesperson Barney Gardner.
Doutney told the audience of several hundred in the Abraham Mott Hall: "Miller Point residents have tried everything to stop this sell-off. The bureaucrats of Housing NSW are working overtime to divide and conquer the community.
"This attack is a wake-up call for public housing tenants all over the state. We deserve to be treated with respect.
"There is absolutely no guarantee that money from the sale of Millers Point properties will go into funding public housing. Casinos are more important to the NSW government.
"Say no to the forced evictions. Stand with Millers Point residents."
Paul McAleer talked about the maritime history of the area, including its involvement in major industrial disputes over the years. "Millers Point is losing its working class character to a gentrification process," he said.
"The Liberal government are thieves who are robbing our heritage. These corrupt politicians are the same people who robbed the Aboriginal people of their land.
"Long live Millers Point as a community, not as a rich enclave of thieves.”
In discussion, calls were made to boycott any real estate agents involved in the sale of Millers Point public housing properties. Protests outside auctions of Millers Point houses will continue.
Barney Gardner reported that the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union committee of management has decided to place a green ban on renovation work on sold-off Millers Point houses.
"Other unions are also getting on board the campaign," Gardner said. "The government won't succeed in getting us out."
[For more information on the campaign, visit savemillerspoint.blogspot.com.au.]