Alex's Update Issue 228
Tuesday 8 August 2017
Homelessness, Fish Market Precinct, Powerhouse Plans, Woollahra Election, Bid for Good Grants & WEL 45
The ongoing ‘tent city’ in Martin Place has drawn national attention to increasing homelessness and housing unaffordability, which is approaching a crisis. I understand why some ‘tent city’ residents do not want to accept temporary housing given hostels and refuges are full and they have food, clothing and feel safe at Martin Place. Getting authorities to dismantle the camp will only move rough sleepers to other areas like Woolloomooloo, Belmore Park and Wentworth Park.
While having homeless people in the middle of the city is confronting, it shows the scale of the problem and the only real solution is more low cost housing, including wrap-around housing that provides ongoing support to vulnerable people with complex needs like the Camperdown Common Ground project. , There also needs to be continued support for the assertive outreach programs helping people get off the street. Meanwhile there are over 100 homes in Millers Point and Sirius sitting empty waiting for sale.
More and more people are in housing stress and in Parliament earlier this year I called for a mandated 15 per cent target for social and affordable housing in redevelopments, developer levies and a fairer tax system, HERE.
I hope the media attention and public debate means that we get real action to help the 65,000 families on the social housing waiting list. A good start would be a high level taskforce with federal, state and local government to review expert advice about what works and then commit to action.
Fish Market Precinct
I’m very concerned about the fish market redevelopment to be funded by massive apartment development on the current site. The facility is supposed to link with Wentworth Park across four lanes of busy Bridge Road and through the fig trees. A master plan process is now underway and I urge concerned residents to have your say via online survey and workshops on 10 & 12 August: www.thebayssydney.nsw.gov.au.
I strongly oppose overdevelopment and will call for better transport connections, community and recreation facilities and protection of open space and public access.
The Powerhouse has successfully operated from Ultimo since 1893 and in its current adapted reuse building since 1988. Ultimo is the city’s creative and innovation hub, a leader in digital start-ups and close to cultural institutions, Darling Harbour and higher education, which all link with the museum’s core science, technology and design purpose. Much of the extensive collection is not on display and the Powerhouse could have been extended into Western Sydney while retaining the Ultimo museum, and exhibitions and displays could complement each other.
Ultimo Powerhouse Museum supporters will be disappointed that the government is still considering sale of the building, commercialisation and apartments on a site with rare public open space in what is already the most densely populated precinct in the country. The government must stop seeing the inner city as a ‘cash cow’ at the expense of community and city liveability and I will fight any sale of this important public asset and further overdevelopment in the region.
Bid For Good Grants
Sydney Community Foundation with Sydney Airport will fund a new grants program based on the proceeds of an annual lost property auction, with one grant of $100,000 and a number of smaller grants up to $10,000 depending on funds raised. Projects should focus on community, arts and culture; education and employment; women and girls or community cohesion and operate in suburbs around the airport, including the City of Sydney. Applications close 15 August, HERE.
Woollahra Council Election
Some NSW councils will have elections on Saturday 9 September, including Woollahra (but not the City of Sydney). Put the date in your diary or calendar.
Information about enrolling to vote is HERE.
Check you are on the roll, HERE.
If you’re considering standing for election, information HERE.
Councillor Jess Scully, Wendy McCarthy AO, Susan Ryan AO and Women’s Electoral Lobby members and supporters celebrated 45 years of work to improve the position of women and build a society where women and men share equally in rewards and responsibilities. Congratulations WEL! I hope that WEL and similar organisations continue this vital work towards equality.