20 May 2014
(Questions Without Notice, 15 May 2014, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
My question is directed to the Minister for Family and Community Services. To protect vulnerable and elderly tenants, will the Minister consider proposals to retain social and affordable housing in Millers Point, Dawes Point and The Rocks, including through working with community housing providers and other proposals raised in the social impact assessment?
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: I have met with the member for Sydney and I know that he is a passionate advocate for his local community. We both want to protect the vulnerable in our communities.
The SPEAKER: Order! Government members will come to order. The Minister has the call.
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: We all want to protect the vulnerable in our community. Those on the front line are expecting us as members of this representative Parliament to do our best to work together to protect those most in need. The New South Wales Government inherited a system that simply managed disadvantage. However, the community expects a social housing system that breaks disadvantage, not just manages it. It is the definition of insanity to do the same thing time and time again and expect a different result. We cannot do what we have done for the past 30 years if we expect the next 30 years to be different.
I assure the member for Sydney that the New South Wales Government's decision to sell the public housing in Millers Point was not made lightly, but it is the right decision in the interests of a sustainable and fair social housing system. The significant expense of maintaining those properties had to be balanced against the needs of the people on the public housing waiting list. The member for Sydney is representing the views of his constituents, but I am representing the views of the more than 50,000 people on the public housing waiting list and the views of the entire New South Wales community.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will come to order. There is too much audible conversation in the Chamber. The member for Wollongong will come to order.
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: It is important to recognise that the proceeds from the sale of these properties—
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Murray-Darling will come to order.
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: —will be reinvested in the social housing system. The money will be used for such things as new houses—
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Shellharbour will come to order.
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: The New South Wales Government's approach to the relocation process has been informed by the recommendations of the social impact assessment of Millers Point, to which the member for Sydney referred. Having met with the independent facilitator, Lynelle Briggs, and the Millers Point relocation team, which I visited, I know that the needs of the residents are at the heart of the relocation process. The team is working with each tenant to ensure that they are provided with suitable accommodation and are well settled in their new community. The approach is personalised and sensitive to their personal needs. The Millers Point relocation team is doing a commendable job. It is listening to the tenants' concerns and replacing misinformation with facts. The fact is that Millers Point is unsuitable for many tenants who are elderly, frail or have a disability. They will be found more suitable accommodation that better meets their individual needs. The Government is delivering for the people of New South Wales.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Toongabbie will come to order.
Ms GABRIELLE UPTON: As the Minister for Family and Community Services I will ensure that the Government continues to make the social housing system fairer and more sustainable so that we can break the cycle of disadvantage, rather than manage it.