Aboriginal community groups have come together to launch a campaign seeking government action and targets for Aboriginal affordable housing in the Redfern and Waterloo area.
The petition launched by The Redfern Waterloo Alliance of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Allies calls on the NSW government to commit to 10% Aboriginal Affordable Housing in all government redevelopments in the Waterloo area.
They also want the government to ensure community housing providers are Aboriginal owned and managed or work in partnership with an Aboriginal led organisations.
“We seek a policy response and commitment to targets from the NSW Government to deliver Aboriginal affordable housing on all “government controlled” land in the Redfern Waterloo area,” they say in the petition.
Redfern is an important place for Aboriginal people and has set the scene for many important events in the Aboriginal civil rights movement including significant self-determination actions like the 1938 Day of Mourning and the 1965 Freedom Ride.
Gentrification has meant that historically working class inner-city suburbs such as Redfern and Waterloo have become highly desirable suburbs in the ‘property market’. But these rent hikes have meant much of the property in the area is unaffordable to Indigenous people.
A home in the inner-city
Siobhán Bryson, CEO Weave Youth & Community Services said it is crucial that Aboriginal communities still have a home in the inner city.
“The Aboriginal young people who we support at Weave Youth & Community Services are very much connected to their community and proud of where they come from. This is where they grew up and it’s where their friendships, family and cultural roots are,” she said.
“We need to make sure there is still a place for them in this community into the future, a place that they can afford to live as they grow and develop, enter the workforce, start their own families and make their way in the world.”
In January 2019, the NSW Government released their Master Plan for Waterloo which would include 30 percent of new dwellings being set aside as social housing, 65 percent market and 5 percent affordable housing. In March, the City of Sydney countered with an alternative scheme which would see 50 percent social housing, 20 percent affordable housing and 30 percent private market housing.
Last Monday the City of Sydney council voted unanimously in favour of a motion put forward by Councillor Philip Thalis supporting the campaign. The campaign has also been backed by NSW and federal parliamentarians including NSW member for Newtown Jenny Leong and federal member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek.
As of printing, the petition had reached over 8000 signatures of the 10,000 signature target.