Sydney unionists and public housing tenants rally for housing justice
Image: National Housing Justice Campaign, Facebook
by GRACE JOHNSON
This International Human Rights Day weekend, public housing tenants, renters, homeless people, unionists and community organisers will rally in Sydney’s inner west for housing justice.
A spokesperson for Friends of Erskineville (FoE), a residents action group, told City Hub, “This rally is significant because we are bringing together a new National Housing Justice coalition calling for housing justice and for governments at all levels to acknowledge that housing is a human right.”
“We are calling for no demolitions of public housing and no privatisation. Specifically, this is happening at Explorer Street, Eveleigh, and at Waterloo, under current plans.”
FoE worked with Action for Public Housing throughout November to submit 400 objections to the Department of Planning on the Explorer Street plans, and 100 emails to the Minister for Housing Rose Jackson. They are yet to receive a response.
As plans currently stand, the government plans to demolish and rebuild the Explorer Street public housing estate in South Eveleigh.
The Explorer Street estate, built in 1991, has 46 homes with mostly 3 and 4 bedrooms.
Coalition’s plan in 2020 to privatise 70% of the site was heavily protested.
But Labor’s decision to continue the demolition proposal contradicts its election promise to end the sale of public housing, and Labor’s own binding policy (the 2022 Conference Resolution to legislate a moratorium on the privatisation or outsourcing of any public housing assets or services).
Explorer Street is now in the same situation as other public housing demolitions being planned at Wentworth Park Road, Glebe and South Waterloo. This weekend’s protest is just one part of the huge community campaign to save the public housing estates and to keep Labor to its pre-election promises.
FoE’s submission on Explorer Street states, “The fundamental problem with this proposal is that the NSW government is trying to
increase the supply of public housing by privatising the very land on which it sits. It is no different to that of the previous government and is based on a flawed model.”
They noted that Housing Minister Rose Jackson herself admitted this problem at Budget Estimates on November 1,describing the way public housing is funded as “a snake eating itself”.
The submission states, “Rather than demolish 46 homes that are only 31 years old, the urgent priority must be to build new public housing on vacant land. Local examples of this include North Eveleigh and 600 Elizabeth St, Redfern, which are already publicly owned.”
When: 11:30am Saturday
Where: Explorer Street Estate, Explorer Street, South Eveleigh
Meet at Explorer Street Estate, Explorer Street, South Eveleigh. Convoy to Waterloo BBQ and Sydney Street Choir at 12.30pm, 95 Wellington St, Waterloo by 12.30pm.
Contact Sarina 0452 433 358