Waterloo residents slam Labor’s housing plan

August 23, 2023
Waterloo South resident Karyn Brown (centre) with retired unionists and supporters of public housing. Photo: Rachel Evans

Karyn Brown, a Waterloo South resident and public housing activist, condemned NSW Labor’s decision on August 21 to demolish and redevelop Waterloo South.

“Demolishing homes is no way to deal with a housing crisis. It’s like trying to stop a flood with a fire hose. It will give Sydney yet another vacant block of land, of which there are many.

“We have done away with disposable shopping bags: it is time we stopped seeing people’s homes as disposable.”

Brown said that while construction supply costs are high and there is a shortage of labour, resources should go towards building public housing on existing land and refurbishing existing public buildings for the thousands on the wait list.

She said tenants, non-government and government organisations, students and many volunteers have “worked for decades to make the largest public housing estate in the country a secure and welcoming place for some of our most vulnerable citizens”.

“Rather than breaking up the community and dispersing it among the assorted private landlords that community housing providers are, it should be retained as 100% public housing, and the community supported to continue living here.”

Brown said the destruction of “perfectly good homes” is “environmentally unsound”. NSW Labor campaigned on a platform of defending existing public housing. Now it has announced it will “diversify” the estate with “social” and “affordable” housing.

Brown said the changes, adding 53 additional social homes and 373 “affordable” homes, are “completely inadequate”.

Action for Public Housing’s (APH) Alistair Sisson said Labor is rehashing the Coalition government’s plan that 30% of any redevelopment would be social housing.

“The homes in Waterloo South are decent quality; there has never been a condition assessment to prove they are beyond repair. A better approach would be to refurbish Waterloo South, acquire new homes and build new public housing on sites like North Eveleigh. This is the only way to make significant headway with the public housing waiting list.”

[A Housing Justice Summit is being organised for October 8 in select locations and online.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.