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Issue #1689      June 17, 2015

Glebe development wrapped in lies and greed

The Minister for Social Housing’s announcement that half the public land at Cowper Street, Glebe will be sold to private developers is a disgrace. It will do nothing to help solve Sydney’s housing crisis but will steal land belonging to the people and give it to the wealthy.

“The Baird government should use some of the billions it is raking in from stamp duty and land tax to start a major public housing building program to meet the needs of the 60,000 on the waiting list and the many homeless in our city,” Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe Inc said in Glebe this morning.

Over the past decade Labor and Liberal governments in NSW have privatised 7,000 public housing properties. The O’Farrell government cut $37 million from the housing budget in 2013.

“The truth is that the Baird Government wants to get rid of its responsibility for housing its citizens altogether. It is selling public assets on a massive scale, offloading $1 billion worth of property in the past two years alone.

“This is short-term interest being pursued against long-term interest of the people,” Mr Doherty said.

“The Minister should be ashamed of this development. Close to Cowper Street is the Wentworth Park Aqueduct where under each arch four to six people sleep rough each night. The government had a chance to build another ‘Common Ground’ establishment on land it owned in a key area yet they passed it up for a quick and shameful profit.

“The Inner City needs affordable homes for essential workers such as nurses, teachers, police and ferry workers yet only a small portion of the development will provide this. Cowper Street is close to three universities and student accommodation is also desperately needed yet there is no provision for this need.

Lies and more lies

“The Minister is repeating the lies of Housing NSW when they destroyed a thriving community of almost 300 people four years ago. The homes may not have been architectural marvels, but the claim that they had to be demolished because they were ‘old’ is a lie. Some of the 16 low rise buildings had just been renovated including $4 million for lifts.

“The suggestion that the development will provide ‘mix’ is another lie. Private and public housing will be physically separated by a busy road and his barrier will not be crossed.

“The claim of community consultation is another lie. There is no evidence that the community supports the Cowper Street development.

“Hands off Glebe is a local community group formed to defend public housing which has been campaigning for years to save Cowper Street public housing.

“We have organised postcard and letter writing campaigns, protest rallies at the site and outside Parliament House and much more.

“Recently the Minister cancelled an appointment to see a delegation from Hands off Glebe, saying he would be too busy for a long time to see us.

“It is criminal to privatise the dwindling stock of public housing and public land when there is a housing affordability crisis. A home is a human right, not just another way for the rich to make even more money,” Mr Doherty concluded.

Next article – “People, take the situation in your own hands!” – Mass protests in Greece

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