Image: People gathered on Saturday to protest the selling off of public housing in Redfern. Photo: Jenny Leong.
By DANIEL LO SURDO
Protestors met on Saturday to take a stand against the selling off of a Redfern public housing site, which has drawn the ire of affordable housing advocates.
The protest, which was attended by Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong and Shelter NSW chief executive John Engeler, sought to gather support against the land sale at 600 Elizabeth Street, which was previously used exclusively for public housing. Ms Leong called the sale the latest example of the state government’s “long, disgraceful history of pandering to corporate interests and putting profit over people”.
“Housing is a fundamental human right, yet expenditure on public housing in NSW continues to decline,” she said.
The City of Sydney’s original development proposal for the site included at least 30 per cent of the total residential floor area to be used for social housing, with 10 per cent for affordable housing. The NSW government has since announced that 30 per cent of residential floor area will be used for a blend of social and affordable housing, reducing the initial targets set by the City.
In February, Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore accused the state government of having “snubbed” targets for social and affordable rental homes, saying that the government was missing a “vital opportunity” to increase public housing stock in Sydney.
Decision for Glebe public housing site earmarked for mixed-tenure reversed last year
The sale at Redfern comes after a decision to install a mixed-tenure model for a site in Glebe was reversed last year to allocate 100 per cent of its residential area to social housing, in what was seen as a “huge win” in public housing circles.
At the time, NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said that the move would give the government “greater flexibility” to install other redevelopment projects across the inner city.
In reference to the Glebe social housing site, Cr Moore said that “a similar outcome is needed at 600 Elizabeth Street if the government is to demonstrate it is taking the current housing crisis seriously”.