Update Issue 159

7 March 2016

Homelessness Rise, Mental Health Needs, International Women’s Day, Seniors Awards, Street Trees and Dying with Dignity

Homelessness Rise

I took part in the recent City of Sydney Homelessness Street Count to make sure I understand the scale of rough sleeping across the Sydney electorate. Numbers have risen since 2013, with 890 people without a place to live: 486 sleeping rough and 404 in hostels – the highest for six years.

Homelessness NSW’s latest report shows that many of those on living on the street have serious health and welfare concerns. Their survey identified 72% of rough sleepers experiencing substance abuse and 49% some form of abuse, 53% have been in prison and 34% in foster care, 53% use mental health support and 35% have a disability.

At a time when private housing is advertised as ‘smart buys for $1million’, the NSW and Commonwealth governments need to make sure there is affordable housing and increase social housing with necessary support services in order to reduce the number of people sleeping rough, as said in Parliament late last year, available HERE.

I worked with the campaign to retain funding for women’s refuges and hostels and the Haymarket Clinic. While these emergency services are vital, we need homes for people to move into so that others can also get access to a crisis bed. Download and sign my petitions for homelessness services, mental health support, social housing and to keep the Sirius building in The Rocks for low cost housing, HERE

Mental Health Needs 

In Parliament, I spoke about important local initiatives in mental health like the Inner City Cadre Project and Urban Partnership for Integrated Inner City Healthcare and Wellbeing, along with many community organisations providing support. I called on the government to increase funding for wraparound care to fill the massive gap between need and support. My speech is HERE.

International Women's Day

Tuesday 8 March is International Women’s Day, with the annual march for equality plus a wide range of celebrations. Search for local events HERE

I’m joining the celebration of local women Saturday 10am 12 March at Pyrmont Community Centre details HERE

My nomination for Sydney Electorate Woman of the Year is Emelda Davis, who has led NSW Australian South Sea Islanders, helping get official recognition of Australia’s shameful slave labour trade of South Sea Islanders between 1847 and 1908. Congratulations Emelda!

Seniors Awards

Please consider nominating an older Sydney electorate resident or group for a Seniors Local Achievement Award, which help recognise and show appreciation for the talents, skills and experience of people over 60 (50 for Indigenous or homeless people), and the organisations working with them. Nominations close 5pm Friday 18 March. Nomination form is available HERE.

Street Trees

Following reports from residents in a number of streets in Paddington and Darlinghurst about destructive street tree pruning, I have asked the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy to review the guidelines for Ausgrid contractors. Street trees may be the only nearby trees for many inner city residents and their value has been recognised by the Commonwealth Government for their impact on environment and amenity. My letter is HERE

Dying with Dignity

Dying with Dignity (DWD) NSW’s latest video contributes to the debate on voluntary assisted dying with John’s story, watch video HERE. See also Andrew Denton’s international research project podcasts ‘Better Off Dead’ HERE.