(10am, Sunday 14 September 2014, Millers Point)
Welcome everyone to the Millers Point Spring Picnic Day.
Today is about celebrating your community, and acknowledging your strength and resilience during what has been an exceptionally difficult time.
The dismantling of this unique, heritage-listed community is a significant loss not only for the tenants that call Millers Point home, but for all of Sydney.
For 189 years Millers Point has been a living example of a close, socially mixed community and, in 2003, was listed on the State Heritage Register as "a living cultural landscape".
Housing NSW's own Conservation Management Guidelines 2007 describes Millers Point as "a priceless asset of the people of NSW and Australia".
Many residents have connections that go back generations. They can talk vividly about Sydney's history as a working harbour and have an irreplaceable connection to their local neighbourhood.
This connection and this community are vitally important for our city.
As both Lord Mayor and the former Member for Sydney, I called on successive Labor and Liberal NSW Governments to maintain and protect public housing in this historic precinct.
The City of Sydney has repeatedly opposed the sale of these properties since 2006, when the former Labor Government proposed the sale of 99 year leases for 36 properties.
The time bomb planted by Labor exploded this year, and I met with the new Minister to voice my strong belief that residents had been denied fair process.
But as long as you're here, the City will be here to help you.
The City has provided a $100 0000 grant for Redfern Legal Centre to provide assistance to the tenants of Millers Point, Dawes Point and The Rocks area affected by the relocation.
Redfern Legal Centre staff hold advice sessions from 4pm-6:30pm each Wednesday in the Harry Jensen Centre and by appointments throughout the week.
The Harry Jensen Centre and Abraham Mott Hall continue to be open and available each week, operating beyond normal hours with additional staff available.
A range of other programs are still delivered at the Harry Jensen Centre, including lunch-time meals Mondays to Fridays, computer tutorials, special events focussing on Community Health issues, bus trips, music sessions, painting classes and AA.
The local community has rallied together to oppose sales in the area. The three Millers Point residents groups joined together to form the Millers Point Community Defence Group to ensure tenants have a strong, unified voice.
Council has also supported this group with a generous grant, to ensure they are well resourced to fight this decision.
The Millers Point community is one of the best in the State - it is a community that looks out for each other, cares for each other and it is also a community that knows how to come together and celebrate its strengths.
I will continue to fight this decision alongside you.
I hope everyone here enjoys the day.