The Millers Point community has taken yet another hit from this ruthless state government with the removal of a number of ‘peppercorn rent’ arrangements. Under these arrangements non-profit community organisations are offered the use of government owned properties at a miniscule rental fee. These successful arrangements have allowed organisations to focus their energies and resources on serving the community. The abolition of the peppercorn rent policy will mean the closure of organisations like Darling House which is home to a number of elderly and vulnerable people.
There are approximately 1200 properties being let under peppercorn rent agreements and the future looks bleak as many of these organisations will not be able to afford market rent. We are yet to ascertain how many of these community services exist within the City of Sydney.
This latest move by the Baird Government affirms their commitment to remove poor people from our waterfront suburbs. At Monday’s Council meeting I will be asking my fellow Councillors to stand against these attacks on the community by supporting my Notice of Motion. This month I am calling on Council to stand against the Government in support of independent community services that are supported through peppercorn rent arrangements. The motion also calls on Council to oppose the sale of the Aboriginal Home Care service which the Baird Government intends to sell off as part of Home Care NSW.
Although the sale of Home Care NSW is a privatisation issue it is important we recognise these moves for what they are: an attack on our community. The loss or privatisation of these services in addition to the eviction of Millers Point Housing residents is the clearest sign yet that this Government is constructing a class narrative of the deserving and the undeserving in the inner city. If my motion is passed we will have a clearer idea of exactly how many services will be effected and I will be urging Council to take bold, practical steps to protect these critical services.