Millers Point Social Housing Meeting

(10am, Friday 11 October 2013, Abraham Mott Hall, Millers Point)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our meeting. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

I also acknowledge those speaking here today - Inspector Anthony Bell - Sydney City Local Area Command; Anne-Marie Sabellico - FACS Southern Eastern District Director Housing NSW; Dare Kavanagh - NSW Land & Housing Corporation; Alex Greenwich MP; Dom Grenot - City of Sydney; Toni Rankin - Barangaroo; Vanessa Tiernan and Niall O'Brien of Baulderstone. I also acknowledge City Councillors in attendance today.

This is our third meeting for the year, following earlier ones in February and July.

HOUSING NSW

The Land and Housing Corporation has rejoined Housing NSW under the Family and Community Services umbrella. The corporation will remain a separate entity, with Housing NSW sitting alongside Ageing, Disability and Home Care, and Community Services. Both Housing NSW and the corporation now report to the one minister, Pru Goward.

Other changes since the last meeting are that Housing NSW boundaries are now aligned with the Health Districts, so Millers Point now becomes part of the South Eastern Sydney health district.

Housing have moved offices from Sussex Street to the corner of Chalmers and Cleveland Streets in Redfern.

The City continues to meet regularly with staff from both Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation staff on strategic and operational issues.

The Estate Advisory Board continues its valuable role in the community as a bi-monthly gathering of tenant representatives, Government and non-government representatives to deal with on-going needs and problems. There are maintenance problems now with some of the guttering and drains. Residents say there are now 40 vacant properties in the area, and that as properties become vacant, they remain untenanted.

SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

A Social Impact Assessment on the potential sale of properties in the area was conducted over the last six months on behalf of Housing NSW and the Lane and Housing Corporation.

Residents should have another opportunity to give their feedback when the assessment is made public, but there's no information yet as to when, or if, the assessment will be released.

A public meeting hosted by Sydney MP Alex Greenwich was held on September 12, with over 150 residents turning up. Both CoRE and the recently formed Public Housing Tenants Group made presentations about their preferred strategies which were followed by lively discussion and questions. Residents remain very concerned about vacant properties, further sales and relocations.

I recognise that there are different views in the community about the best way forward, but it is very important that residents work together and focus on campaigning to protect their homes.

I understand that there hasn't been any significant progress since that meeting, however Alex can give you an update on his action on this issue at a state level.

SAFETY STRATEGY AND WELLBEING PLAN

The City continues to work towards a draft three-year Safe City Strategy to be finished by the end of this year. Sitting under this strategy will be a number of Action Plans, the first being the Social Housing Wellbeing and Safety Action Plan. A draft will be completed in early December and available to you for further comment. Dom Grenot is heading up the writing of this very important document.

OVER 55s and YOUTH

Both the Harry Jensen and the Abraham Mott Youth Centres provide a range of activities and programs for all ages in the community. A small restructure within the City has seen Colin Huxley appointed as Area Manager North City Spaces, overseeing these and other facilities.

HARBOUR VILLAGE NORTH INTEGRATION

This work for Millers Point and the Barangaroo Headland Park has involved numerous meetings in September to advise on proposed works, on City owned and managed land, as well as work being carried out by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

Issues and concerns have been raised about noise and dust from the ongoing Delivery Authority work, as well as about pedestrian safety, increased traffic, the heights of hotels and the Casino. The Authority has committed many times to consulting and communicating with the community and other stakeholders, and it held a number of information sessions in mid-September.

The City will continue to work with the Authority to improve access and amenity in the public domain, with $6.6 committed to our public domain improvements.

These include a development application currently on exhibition until Monday [Oct 14] outlines improvements to Argyle Place, Merriman Street and Munn Reserve where the City is creating a new community park.

The works also include footpath widening, improvements for cyclists and 60 new street trees to green the area.

Consultants have been engaged to work on the Kent Street underpass and will be consulting the community early next year.