Increased evidence of homelessness in Melbourne’s iconic graffiti laneway, Hosier Lane, has prompted outrage from government and local businesses in recent weeks.
"The Waterloo Tent Embassy has made a big impact, is winning growing support every day, and has already gained government action on fixing longstanding maintenance problems at the Waterloo public housing towers," Richard Weeks, spokesperson for the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG), told Green Left Weekly on July 20.
Melbourne's Age newspaper has run a series of articles highlighting what it calls middle class “white flight” from inner north state schools closest to the Housing Commission towers, leading to unofficial segregation along race and class lines. Experts say this phenomenon is mirrored around the country in areas where public housing meets affluent areas, such as the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton and inner-Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Glebe, as the gentrification of public schools with booming enrolments impacts on poorer students' access to a good education.
Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a new report launched on April 21 by Anglicare Sydney.
In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance activists speak on issues that affect young people. This week, Emma Fields discusses the right to free, decent housing for all. * * * When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights talks about “standard of living adequate for health and well-being”, it means suitable access to food, clothing, housing and medical care.
On June 14, NSW Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard unveiled plans for a $170 million development on the inner-Sydney Cowper Street, Glebe, block, which has lain vacant since the previous state Labor government demolished a low-rise public housing estate on the site in 2011. According to the government's plan, the new 500-apartment development would include about 250 private apartments, 150 public or social housing units and about 100 "affordable housing" apartments, reserved for "essential workers", such as nurses or teachers.
Public housing residents in Millers Point facing eviction orders are so distressed that one of them committed suicide this week, Save Millers Point campaigner Barney Gardner told a public housing protest outside NSW Parliament on March 10. The protest united several campaigns against NSW government attempts to privatise public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and elsewhere in the state, to highlight public housing as an important election issue There has been at least one other Millers Point resident who attempted suicide earlier, Gardner told Green Left Weekly.
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.
Residents of the Millers Point public housing community and supporters protested outside the private auctions of the first two houses sold in the NSW Coalition government's planned sale of nearly 300 government-owned homes in the suburb. The auctions were held at real estate agents’ offices in Edgecliff on August 21 and Woollahra on August 26. The first house was sold for $1.9 million, and the second for $2.6 million. Protesters draped banners condemning the sales on walls and fences nearby the offices, as security guards and police guarded potential buyers going inside.
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.