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BY KENJI SATO AND CHRISTOPHER HARRIS

Public housing tenants in the Redfern – Waterloo area have voiced fears that they could be forced to leave their neighbourhoods, according to City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott.

The Labor councillor told City Hub that she had been approached by public housing tenants, who had expressed fears that would they evicted following the government’s announcement of private redevelopment in the area.

She said residents were most concerned that they would not necessarily be allowed to move back into the suburb following the redevelopment, which is expected to take three years.

“I’ve written to Minister Brad Hazzard to call on him to provide an iron clad guarantee for current tenants to given priority to return to Redfern – Waterloo,” Clr Scott said.

Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard has not yet responded at the time of publication.

Clr Scott also said that the City area needed more affordable housing for essential service workers such as police, nurses and teachers, who are otherwise priced out of the area.

“The liberal state government’s planned redevelopment must provide additional housing for key workers and at the very least retain the number of public housing dwellings in Waterloo and Redfern.”

“I’ve put a series of measures to increase affordable housing on the table at the city, most of which have been rejected by the lord mayor. It’s my view that the City of Sydney has a strong role to play in ensuring that the inner-city is an affordable place to live and we need strong action to address the city’s affordability crisis, and it’s disappointing that the Lord Mayor continues to reject a role for council in addressing housing affordability.”

Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said that the government’s new policy could work. But he warned that the new policy must not be used as a punishment.

“Redeveloping large estates with 30 per cent social and affordable housing won’t result in enough low cost housing to meet community needs, but it makes sense to reduce concentrations of disadvantage,” said Mr Greenwich in an email to constituents.

“The government’s ‘Future Directions for Housing in NSW’ is a welcome step forward after many years of declining budgets, reducing numbers of homes and big maintenance backlogs, tied with increasing waiting lists.”

“The key strategy of handing public land to developers in exchange for redeveloping social housing will get the government out of the current limbo, but leave the community with a smaller asset base in future. Redeveloping large estates with 30 per cent social and affordable housing won’t result in enough low cost housing to meet community needs, but it makes sense to reduce concentrations of disadvantage.”