Following the recent decision by the NSW government to sell off the Millers Point housing commission units, community members and local councillors alike are raising the question that’s on everyone’s minds.
What will be next on the chopping block?
Sydney City Greens Councillor Irene Doutney believes that by looking at the rationale behind the Millers Point sale, the question has already been answered.
“The way I see it is if we use the same argument for selling off Millers Point [which is land value], then we can only expect to see more sales in the future.”
Cr Doutney expressed her concern for the public housing units in Redfern, Waterloo and Woolloomooloo.
“Look at the potential profit from the sale of those units. It would be naïve to believe they are safe.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has also expressed concern over further sales, based on the government’s argument that the cost of repair and maintenance of the Millers Point housing commission blocks had become unsustainable.
“Does this mean all inner city social housing, like in Glebe or Woolloomooloo, where people also live in 19th century homes is also under threat?”
When asked if Pru Goward, the NSW Minister for Planning, intended to sell off other high-value public housing properties in inner Sydney, a spokesperson said she was “not prepared to rule anything out.” But, she also offered assurance that “no decisions have been made by the government to sell any of those other properties.”
The Opposition and Cr Moore remain adamant about warning tenants of the potential risk as the government continues to sell homes to reverse a deficit of $330 million in the public housing system.
“All public housing tenants in the inner city are now put on notice that if the value of your home goes up, the government is going to put you out of your home.”
Woolloomooloo public housing resident Arthur Hammond describes the sales as “evil”.
“Things are getting so unfair. They are just lucky we are a civilised society,” Mr Hammond said.
“What I want to know is who else is behind the curtain. It wasn’t just one person calling the shots and we deserve to know.”
When asked if he was worried Woolloomooloo would be next, Mr Hammond said that the fear of losing Woolloomooloo was real.
“After Housing NSW [a department of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services] took over as the landlords, it has just gone downhill. We just don’t know where it will end.
“We all understand our homes have high property values but we have lived here for decades, even when they were not as highly valued. They shouldn’t be allowed to just put us on the streets.”