The pages below give a brief summary of some of the campaigns that I am currently involved in in my roles as both a Councillor and social activist.

  • Public Housing Sell-off in Millers Point, as well as in other parts of inner Sydney, the government is planning to sell off public housing properties, tearing communities apart despite their own research showing this to be financially unsustainable.
  • Planning System Reforms – proposed changes to the way developments are approved look set to shut the community out and ignore preservation of the natural environment.
  • Council Amalgamationsa proposal to merge numerous Councils to form a ‘Global Sydney Super Council’ with 800 000 residents would be financially unsustainable and damage local democracy.
  • Lift Redfern – Redfern station is completely inaccessible to people with disabilities, please help us fix this!
  • Public Housing Maintenance – everyone has the right to a livable home.
  • Rebuilding Redfern – the government have grand plans to remake Redfern and Waterloo, but for whose benefit?
  • Peace and security for public housing tenants – far too many public housing tenants are living in fear in their own homes.
  • End income support inequalitythere is a class divide between people in different welfare programs in Australia. 

2 responses to “Campaigns

  1. Dear Candidate,

    In 1974 the Federal Government bought the Glebe Estate with the intention of preserving the townscape and protecting the low income community who lived on it. The Estate was passed over to the NSW Government in the mid 1980s subject to the same objectives. The number of dwellings on the estate has since doubled with sympathetic infill development.

    In recent years a contrary intention has emerged. Over thirty houses on the estate have been sold off, as well as several blocks of flats on Glebe Point Road.

    In April 2008 Clover Moore and the then state housing Minister announced a joint proposal to demolish 134 flats in Cowper Street and replace them with high rise, mainly private development. Initially the proposal also took in the Council depot on the city side of Bay Street but that aspect has been dropped. Further support came from the Federal Government in the form of a $9M grant towards site costs, such as demolition and remediation of the land.

    The proposal will see the 134 flats replaced with 500 units and some commercial space. About 153 of those units will be for social housing and another 90 or so for affordable housing. The remainder will be in private ownership. Contrary to claims made by Meredith Burgmann and Verity Firth the units will not be integrated. The 3 types of housing will be on separately owned and managed lots of land. The Cowper Street land has never before been out of common ownership. It was part of the Glebe Estate until acquired for housing purposes in 1949.

    The 134 flats (which were demolished in mid 2011) included 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom units. There will be a net loss of over 100 bedrooms when they are replaced with 153 social housing units. The old units were low rise, with gardens and ample parking. Over 170 trees, many of them mature, were removed in the course of demolition.

    The 153 proposed social housing units will have a much lower amenity. Many will have little if any solar access, virtually no open space and little in the way of landscaping, and no parking, notwithstanding that the proposed occupants are said to be elderly and disabled persons. The 153 units are to be constructed in a six storey building on a portion of the site behind the back fences of Queen Street. The private development is to have the best part of the site with views to the city. The so called affordable housing comes with the usual compromises as to size and density.

    A Council briefing note of 9 February 2011 noted that the proposed development complied with the 2030 Vision of reducing social housing dwellings in the city area from 10.4% in 2006 to an anticipated 7.5% in 2030. Council, with the connivance of the NSW government appears to be intent on reducing both the number of dwellings occupied by welfare dependant persons and reducing the size of the said dwellings so that the numbers of welfare dependant persons living in the city (other than on the streets) will decline sharply over the next decade. This form of social cleansing is insupportable.

    High rise development is most unwelcome in Glebe. Apart from one mistake in the early 1960s (Wentworth Street) there is none in Glebe. The proposed development in Cowper Street is to be 10 storeys high on parts of the site, including directly across the road from 1 and 2 storey Victorian development in Cowper Street. It will be brutal and intrusive. The overshadowing and overlooking impacts will be enormous, as will traffic and parking. The proposed development will see the Elger Street cul-de-sac extended to Bay Street with provision for 2 way traffic. This will encourage traffic through the back streets of the Glebe Estate to the detriment of residents, many of them children.

    The proposal has come before Council on a number of occasions, most notably when Council approved a spot LEP and DCP to increase density and height controls. Not a single resident has had a good word for the proposed development, yet the objectors’ submissions have been ignored time and again. By way of comparison, the proposed development will be higher (10 storeys vs 8) and much more dense than the Harold Park development.

    These days there seems to be no party which is interested in the preservation of heritage suburbs. Glebe is virtually unique amongst inner city suburbs in that it has retained its 19th century residential character. Its open space, tree coverage and social cohesiveness are the envy of other inner city suburbs. The Council, which seems to have far more money than it needs, is forever tinkering with the open space often to the annoyance of locals.

    Glebe also has a social character which is worth preserving. Houses in Glebe, particularly on the Glebe Estate, have been occupied by low income communities since those homes were built. In the St Phillips precinct you will see successive responses to the housing needs of persons on low incomes from the 19th century, through to the early 20th century and to some duplexes built in the 1930s. The Cowper Street flats were a continuation of that tradition of providing good quality homes to persons on low income. Those flats prior to demolition were in very good condition and it was a criminal act to force the tenants out and destroy their homes. Some of those tenants had been in occupation since the flats were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Hands Off Glebe will not be voting for any candidate who supports the Cowper Street development proposal and who is not committed to keeping high rise development out of Glebe. We propose to campaign against such candidates. We therefore ask you to indicate your attitude towards:

    • The Cowper Street development proposal
    • High rise development in Glebe.

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