The vigil will also be used to gather supporters for the signing of a petition asking the NSW Government for “restoration of all funding to NSW women’s-specific homelessness services”.
Summer, a university student who has been involved in organising the event and who has spent most of her life in homelessness facilities told City Hub she feels women’s only services are essential for the safety of young women.
“I have spent time in all kinds of homelessness services. I personally had very traumatic experiences in mixed gender services, which really highlights why it is so important to have women’s only options,” she said.
“When I was very young, a man threw a pot and a pan at me because he thought I hadn’t done the dishes and I was injured as a result. I have never experienced that kind of violence in a women’s refuge.”
“In the women’s refuge I felt safe from violence and I felt comfortable asking for help.”
Summer said she hopes her personal experience highlight the importance of fighting for women’s services.
“People don’t like to think about things that make them uncomfortable, so no one is recognising what is at stake here.”
“I guarantee that if anyone had experienced what I have, or if their daughters or sisters or mothers had experienced what I have, they would understand why we are fighting these reforms.”
“Women’s refuges are simply the only safe option for us.”
Thursday’s vigil also aims to highlight the impact of the closures on groups of women the organisers feel have not been considered in the implementation of the Going Home Staying Home reforms.
One group the vigil will focus on is Sydney’s culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse women, who organisers feel are disproportionately affected by the reforms.
“People of culturally diverse backgrounds are at higher risk of intimate partner abuse and homelessness and we really wanted to highlight that,” said Phoebe Moloney, SWOS spokesperson.
Women’s Officer for the NSW branch of the National Union of Students Amy Knox echoed this concern and also expressed concern for women of religiously diverse backgrounds who may be unable to access independent refuges following the cuts.
“It will be very hard for these women to feel comfortable approaching large faith-based organisations,” said Ms Knox.
“Women from non-English speaking backgrounds are already not comfortable accessing these services so the cuts will hit these women especially hard,” said Anjana Regmi, the Convenor of Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum.
Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC of the NSW Greens, who will be attending the vigil, agreed with this concern.
“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to such a sensitive issue will lead to already vulnerable women and children being isolated and marginalised,” she said.
“I believe funding for specialist programs is essential for culturally diverse women who are at risk of domestic violence and homelessness.”
The vigil also aims to highlight the disproportionate impact of the reforms on students and young women.
“The first ever women’s-only refuge was started by Anne Summers when she was a student,” said Ms Knox.
“Students were at the forefront of this movement at the beginning so now that these services are facing closure we need to make sure that we, as students, fight to keep them open.”
Summer said her experiences growing up in homelessness shelters have highlighted the importance of refuges that are able to cater to the specific needs of girls and young women.
Also attending the vigil is City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott.
“It is impossible not to see a future for Sydney where more people, women children in particular, will be sleeping rough as a result of these reforms,” Cr Scott said.
A spokesperson from the Department of Family and Community Services said all women would be catered to under the reforms.
“Each of the organisations that will play a part in Going Home Staying Home is required to deliver services that are sensitive to the needs of clients in the community in which they operate.”
“Client groups that were supported under the specialist homelessness services program will also be supported under Going Home Staying Home.”
SWOS chose a candle-lit vigil rather than a conventional protest because they want to ensure affected women, children and families feel comfortable getting involved in the event.
Ms Moloney said she hoped the vigil would help to raise awareness about the issue.
“We need to send the message that Sydney must be safe for women.”
The vigil will take place this Thursday July 24 at 5.30pm in Pitt Street Mall.
Local politicians have joined the opposition to NSW Government’s plan to sell public housing in Millers Point to fund a Housing NSW … Read more]]>
Local politicians have joined the opposition to NSW Government’s plan to sell public housing in Millers Point to fund a Housing NSW property shortfall and maintenance backlog.
The significance of the Millers Point housing was highlighted by Lord Mayor Clover Moore last Friday as she opened Sue Rawlinson’s exhibition that documents the plaques of protests and simple yellow ribbons, which now hang in residents’ homes in the suburbs.
The Lord Mayor reiterated her support for low income housing in the CBD.
“We’re funding Redfern Legal Centre to assist residents in their fight,” she said.
It is understood the mayor has donated $100,000 to assist the community in pursuing legal avenues to combat forced eviction notices, which were delivered to residents last March.
The government has maintained that the relocation of Housing NSW tenants is necessary because of the high maintenance costs of the properties.
“I recognise some tenants have lived in public housing in Millers Point for decades, and moving to a new location may be difficult. This decision was not taken lightly, but it is the right decision in the interest of a sustainable, fair social housing system which currently has more than 57,000 families on the waiting list,” said NSW Minister for Planning Pru Goward.
Member of the Save Millers Point Community group Wendy Ford believes the Government’s action is about short-term revenue raising and could affect more people than Millers Point.
“I think its quite strange when [Pru Goward] set up a commission to look into public housing across the state, she goes and announces before this commission has finished, that she’s going to sell these houses off.”
Last year Housing NSW sold 1386 houses and built 536.
Minister for Housing Gabrielle Upton did not respond to questions but referred them to a departmental spokesperson, who said the sell-off is more equitable.
“For each Millers Point precinct property sold, the government can build three modern, purpose-built houses which are better suited to social housing.”
The Shadow Minister for Housing, Sophie Cotsis, doesn’t believe there is any provision for new property acquisition.
“When you subtract how many they’ve built from how many they’ve sold, we’ve got about 800 less houses. The housing portfolio is in crisis. They’ve had three ministers since August last year. It is very clear there has been no planning and no strategy from Government.”
“In the last budget that Labor handed down in 2010, the budget for building housing was $240 million. In 2014 its $120 million; that budget has been halved. Its not sustainable,” Ms Cotsis said.
In a NSW Government inquiry into social, public and affordable housing in May, Anne Skewes, Deputy Director General of NSW Land and Housing Corporation was unclear about how many new houses the sale proceeds would afford.
“[The sale] is money back to the Land and Housing Corporation to support the maintenance backlog and also to support new supply.”
Sydney MP Alex Greenwich believes the Government’s move equates to an act of social cleansing, motivated by the development of the nearby casino.
“The government changed the rules to allow fast-tracking of a second casino, preventing open tenders and consideration of public benefit. Many people have identified that badly-maintained social housing is not the right image to attract big spending gamblers to a new casino and hotel.”
Mr Greenwich has pledged his continued support to retain inner city public housing.]]>
When asked whether action had been taken in response to complaints about these properties, a City of Sydney spokesperson said: “The City of Sydney takes all complaints seriously and we currently have more than 65 investigations underway.”
The spokesperson also said the City cannot comment on ongoing investigations.
On Thursday July 17th, two years since The Bays Precinct Taskforce released its Strategic Framework Report, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Planning Minister Pru Goward announced a 30-year strategy for the revitalisation of 80 hectares of Sydney’s inner harbour.
The Bays Precinct comprises Blackwattle Bay, the Sydney Fish Market, Rozelle Bay, Rozelle Rail Yards, and the heritage-listed White Bay Power Station.
Part of the proposed redevelopment includes new housing and areas for recreation, retail, tourism, commercial and maritime use along the 5.5 kilometre stretch of waterfront in the Bays Precinct.
“The Bays Precinct is just two kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, and presents possibly the most exciting and ambitious urban renewal and city building opportunity in the world today,” Mr Baird said.
Mr. Baird labelled the land “an urban wasteland that is four times the size of Barangaroo”.
“Our plans to regenerate The Bays Precinct will deliver vibrant and dynamic places for cultural, maritime, recreational, retail, residential and commercial use,” Ms Goward said.
UrbanGrowth NSW, the government’s urban renewal authority, is leading the revitalisation of The Bays Precinct.
Rozelle Residents Action Group spokesman Mark Wallis said that whilst development of the Bays Precinct was “inevitable”, the government must take on board community concerns.
“Any development must be appropriate to the rest of the area. Our greatest worry is that what we are promised in the initial stages will not end up as the final result.”
President of the Glebe Society John Gray welcomed the government’s announcement but warned against letting private interests win out.
“The Government must ensure that the public interest is protected. Sustainable development must have precedence over economic development,” said Mr Gray.
“We are determined we will not permit another Barangaroo – with little consideration of community wishes, secret decision making and a development outcome which blatantly favoured private interests over that of the community.”
“We will not be Barangaroo’ed.”
Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne demanded the NSW Government avoid repeating the mistakes of the Barangaroo development in the Bays Precinct.
“The people of Sydney will be concerned that when Mike Baird says he wants to undertake ‘urban renewal’ of the Bays Precinct, this is code for letting developers run rampant through harbour front land,” Cr Byrne said.
Greens MP Jamie Parker also cited Barangaroo as an example of the NSW Government’s problematic attitude to development.
“This precious public waterfront land must not be another Barangaroo where deals for mates and behind-closed-door negotiations deliver profit for developers at the expense of the community. When it comes to development in this state we have seen time and again developer greed trump community need.”
Cr Byrne also expressed his desire to see social benefits for low-income earners and those displaced by the Millers Point evictions.
Property development industry group The Urban Taskforce believes the development will be a boon for Sydney’s burgeoning population.
“The Bays Precinct has been struggling for many years and it is a credit to UrbanGrowth NSW that a way forward is now occurring,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.
The City of Sydney, a major stakeholder in any future development as a part of the Bays Precinct Taskforce, warned that the NSW Government must deliver detailed plans for public access, infrastructure and building controls.
“The City of Sydney will be working with UrbanGrowth and the NSW Government to find the best outcomes for the future of this site over many years,” said a City of Sydney spokeswoman.
“The State Government should deliver a diverse mix of social and affordable housing in the area. An integrated public transport strategy should be developed, which examines the expansion of ferry services and light rail, while also maximising the opportunities of the future heavy rail.”
Mr Baird and Ms Goward also announced an international summit for November, inviting urban renewal experts from across the globe.
“By bringing together the best local and international expertise, we believe we can achieve a great outcome for the people of Sydney, while setting a new benchmark for what is possible in the regeneration of iconic urban destinations,” said Mr. Baird.
“The public and other stakeholders will also be asked to provide input as we develop plans to revitalise this area.”
Urban Taskforce noted that local expertise must be enlisted.
“While international experts are a good way to begin a project we also need to build in local experts who understand the climate and character of Sydney Harbour.”
The outcomes of the international summit will be put to the community at a stakeholder event to be held in February 2015.
The Glebe Society will be collaborating with other groups to convene a community meeting to protect the public interest in the Bays Precinct urban renewal project on Monday August 4.
Babi Yar commemorated at Waverley
Waverley Council has agreed to erect a plaque in Waverley’s memorial gardens to commemorate the Babi Yar … Read more]]>
Babi Yar commemorated at Waverley
Waverley Council has agreed to erect a plaque in Waverley’s memorial gardens to commemorate the Babi Yar Massacre for the first time ever in Sydney. Babi Yar, a ravine in Kiev, was the site of a series of massacres carried out by German forces during their WWII campaign against the Soviet Union. Mayor Sally Betts said Waverley has a very large Ukrainian population and it is fitting that this massacre is remembered. On September 28 2014, there will be a commemoration ceremony for the Babi Yar Massacre in Waverley Gardens.
Waverley parking dispute heightens
Labor Councillor John Wakefield has proposed significant parking reforms for Waverley Council without success. Cr Wakefield said that now council has significantly increased rates and laid off a large number of staff, there was no financial reason why council could not return some of that economic benefit back to the community. “The Liberal party on council is attempting to continue to perpetuate a parking system which takes money from residents.” Cr Wakefield said he has put forward these reforms on various occasions and Mayor Betts and her colleagues have rejected them repeatedly. “If [Mayor Betts] wanted the parking reforms she could have approved them on the spot.” Mayor Betts said she was confused by the suggestion that Cr Wakefield’s proposed reforms had been rejected. “Cr Wakefield was attempting to have his suggestions looked at by the review committee – of which he is part – by resolution of council. This is completely unnecessary as he, and all councillors, have been invited to submit any suggestions to the Director. He still has that option.” Mayor Betts said council had previously unanimously agreed to review the pricing structure of parking and councillors were asked to send suggestions to the Director.]]>
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has recently returned from a two-week long visit to China and Singapore, in an effort to strengthen economic, … Read more]]>
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has recently returned from a two-week long visit to China and Singapore, in an effort to strengthen economic, political and cultural connections between Chinese provinces and the City of Sydney.
Visiting five different Chinese provinces as well as attending the World Cities Summit held in Singapore, Ms Moore met with local politicians and public to discuss a range of shared policy issues – including carbon emissions, light rail networks and education and university partnerships.
When visiting the city of Shenzen, the Lord Mayor met with city Mayor Xu Qin, where he informed Ms Moore of his low carbon plan for Shenzen from 2011 to 2020. Shenzen has already established a successful emissions trading scheme, with the Lord Mayor noting “it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that China could introduce a national emissions trading scheme before Australia, putting them at an economic advantage”.
Meeting with the Mayor of Guangzhou, Chen Jianhua, Ms Moore oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – a symbolic bilateral agreement between governments expressing a common line of action and cooperation – that aims to establish closer ties between the two cities in education, trade, culture, business and sustainability.
The Lord Mayor also met with Ding Wei, Vice Minister from the National Ministry of Culture, who spoke positively about the strong relationship between City of Sydney and the Chinese government, noting especially Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival and confirming his continuing support for the festival.
Liberal City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster is very positive about building trading relationships with Chinese provinces, but is sceptical about the Lord Mayor pushing her own agenda too heavily by exclusively meeting with similarly minded leaders.
“It is very worthwhile to build relationships with China, but going to like-minded provinces and discussing like-minded policies is not productive. A lot of these policies – light rail, bicycle networks, carbon emissions reductions – are already being pursued in Sydney,” Cr Forster said.
“A lot of these discussions are outside the purview of her role as Lord Mayor. They’re just about projects that she is pushing, or wants to implement in Sydney.”
Professor Kerry Brown, director of the China Studies Centre and professor of Chinese Politics at Sydney University, said that the visit targeted a mixture of well-developed cities with a combined population of roughly 100 million people.
“Many of these people fall into China’s middle class. They are important potential tourists, consumers of Australian and Sydney services, and investment partners. Raising the profile of Sydney as a distinctive economy amongst this group is important.”
One of the recommendations arising from the diplomatic visit was the establishment of a Friendship City relationship with Wuhan, as agreed under a second MOU signed by Moore and Mayor of Wuhan, Tang Liangzhi.
“Friendship cities relationships create an awareness of what places might have that they can offer each other, and a means of promoting their economic, cultural and other offerings,” said Prof Brown.
“Sydney is widely known in China as a tourist destination, but probably not as a finance centre or a service centre. So this sort of visit helps to change perceptions amongst Chinese and start to view Sydney in a different way.”
Cr Forster criticised the outcomes of the mission as “all abstract, nothing practical and not a lot of concrete actions”.
Prof Brown expected more precise agreements between these cities and Sydney to be formulated in the coming months to carry forward educational, environmental and financial cooperation.]]>
With Sydney set to host the annual Australian University Games in September, concerns have been raised that The City of Sydney and … Read more]]>
With Sydney set to host the annual Australian University Games in September, concerns have been raised that The City of Sydney and the NSW Government have not done enough to prepare.
As the games is the largest yearly multi-sport event in Australia, a source at a Sydney university told City Hub there are growing concerns that the seven thousand estimated participants would not receive adequate return for the $10 million they are expected to put through Sydney coffers.
Traffic and congestion is an obvious concern surrounding any major tourism event and the lack of visible action from both the City of Sydney and Transport for NSW was the catalyst for the largest concerns raised, according to the source.
In dialogues held with both the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast City Council, who hosted the event last year, City Hub found that this apparent inaction was not unusual. The Gold Coast Council worked as a sponsor of the games and on small logistics, and the Queensland Office of Transport and Main Roads played no organisational role.
“We were not a part of the transport options for the games,” said a spokesperson for Scott Emerson, Minister for Transport and Main Roads.
The games’ founding body Australian University Games (AUG) will take on the majority of the responsibility for transporting the athletes to and from the events with an extensive shuttle service to all of the sporting venues not within walking distance from a major railway station. The shuttles will run on loops, some as often as every 25 minutes.
“As in previous years’ AUGs, we will be providing a bus loop from the particular social venue each night past the accommodation locations. This transport option will be available to all AUG accredited participants,” said Mark Lockie, project manager at AUG.
Accommodation arrangements for the seven thousand athletes has also been a cause for concern among students.
“Each university is responsible for making its own accommodation arrangements for the AUGs. From the booking information we have to date, the accommodation booked by universities is almost entirely in the CBD and Darling Harbour area,” said Mr Lockie.
A Transport Management Centre (TMC) spokesperson said Transport for NSW is working on ensuring the Games do not cause congestion problems in Sydney, however it appears plans have not been finalised.
“Transport for NSW’s Transport Management Centre helps coordinate the traffic and transport arrangements for hundreds of events across the state each year and is currently developing plans for the Australian University Games,” the spokesperson said.
“There are already well-established public transport links with the Sydney Olympic Park precinct where many of the sports will be played, and the TMC is working with event organisers and other relevant government agencies to ensure transport arrangements contribute to the overall success of the AUGs.”
The 2014 Australian University Games will be held in Sydney from September 28th to October 3rd.
Residents mobilised when council resolved to remove the tree in order to accommodate a set of traffic lights to assist the use of the Broadway Link Cycleway.
Construction of the cycleway will begin in October, with a set of traffic lights to be installed on the corner where the jacaranda tree currently stands in order to help cyclists cross the busy intersection.
Chippendale resident Danelle Bergstrom has been heading the campaign to save the tree since June of 2013. Ms Bergstrom submitted a petition of over 1100 signatures to council last month.
Ms Bergstrom expressed concerns about the manner in which council dealt with the petition.
“I originally submitted the petition with all contact details partially obscured to protect the privacy of the signatories, however I was advised that only an original copy would be accepted with all email addresses shown in full,” Ms Bergstrom said.
“Before agreeing to submit the original document, I asked Mayoral staff to confirm the contact details would not be used as any more than a reference and that no one who signed the petition would be contacted. It was stressed to me that this would definitely not happen.”
Approximately five weeks later, however, petition signatory Michelle Perry received an email from Lord Mayor Clover Moore outlining the reasons council would be going ahead with the removal of the tree.
“I refer to the petition you signed about the jacaranda tree at the corner of Myrtle and Abercrombie Streets,” the letter read.
“We will replant the jacaranda tree during the current cool weather to give the tree maximum opportunity to establish itself in the new location.”
Ms Perry said she felt this was cause for concern.
“I feel my privacy has been severely breached by the Office of the Lord Mayor as I was assured the Office would not use my contact details in this way,” she told City Hub.
A spokesperson for Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it is council’s policy to contact petitioners and that the Lord Mayor’s office is not involved.
“The Lord Mayor’s office has no involvement in replying to petitions.”
“Under the City of Sydney’s petition guidelines, we are required to respond to all petitioners, especially if their petition has been tabled at council as this one had.”
Ms Bergstrom is also concerned about council’s response to the community’s initial concerns.
“Council told me the matter was to be determined by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and resolved to write to RMS to request advice on whether it is necessary to remove the tree, however when I spoke to RMS they said they knew nothing about the tree,” Ms Bergstrom said.
Correspondence from RMS provided to City Hub reads: “There has been no indication of the need to remove any trees as part of the installation of RMS traffic signal hardware.”
In a map provided to RMS by the City of Sydney Council detailing the intersection in question, the tree is not marked.
This week the City of Sydney Council placed a notice on the jacaranda tree informing residents of the tree’s removal.
“The tree will be removed and transplanted to its new position in approximately 4-6 weeks,” the sign read.
Barnardos Australia, 1800 061 000]]>