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Media Release: Campaign against sell-off of public housing builds

The Member for Balmain Jamie Parker MP, along with local Greens Councillors Sylvie Ellsmore and Irene Doutney, have welcomed the convening of a meeting on public housing to take place at Leichhardt Town Hall on Thursday. The public meeting is one of many recent events being held across Sydney to support the campaign against the sell-off of public housing in Millers Point.

Local Greens have been campaigning for years to increase investment in public housing. Following a motion in support of public housing tenants passed by City of Sydney last night, Marrickville Council will be asked to consider a similar motion next week. 

Jamie Parker MP said, “The Millers Point public housing should concern all of us in the inner west.  All “high value” homes are now a potential target for evictions and sales. It comes off the back of action already underway by the State Government to sell off community housing in the Glebe Housing Estate.”

“The State Government’s approach is an attack on the most vulnerable in our society. It is a threat to diversity and social inclusion,“ said Mr Parker.

Public housing tenant and long-time public housing activist, Clr Irene Doutney, has been working actively with public housing tenants and through groups such as REDWatch and ‘Save Millers Point Community Housing’. During last night’s City of Sydney Council meeting Clr Doutney spoke passionately in support of a motion to protect public housing in Millers Point.

Clr Doutney said, “Millers Point is one of the strongest public housing communities in the State. It was protected through community action such as the Green Bans, which led to the birth of the Greens as a political party.

“On the day the Liberal State Minister announced the Miller’s point sell-off she had 40 officers on the ground handing out eviction notices. Misleading media packs were released suggesting residents had let their homes run down, and that was the reason for the sell-off.

“Like Jamie, I know first-hand from all the public housing residents that I have assisted in disputes with the Department about maintenance, that successive State Government have deliberately run down public housing. The State Government has refused to repair public housing,” said Clr Doutney.

Mr Parker said, “In the past both Labor and Liberal government have failed public housing tenants. The former State Labor Government allowed a deficit of over $300 million in maintenance of public housing to develop.

“The Liberals are accelerating an existing policy of public housing sell offs which started under Labor, with serious consequences for diversity and social justice. This Liberal Government can find $300 mill in tax concessions for the poker machine industry but say there is no money for social housing.

Greens Councillor and Chair of the Marrickville Affordable Housing Committee, Sylvie Ellsmore, said, “Now that the ALP is in opposition, the Greens welcome the change of heart about the sell-off of public housing. The campaign to protect Millers Point will only be successful if politicians of all persuasions work together. The Greens are committed to doing that.”

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