Surry Hills Social Housing Meeting

(11am, Tuesday 30 July 2013, Northcott Centre)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our meeting, the last for 2013. 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'm pleased to welcome Councillors Robyn Kemmis and Irene Doutney. Councillor Christine Forster sends her apologies.


Since we last met in February, the Belvoir Street pedestrian crossing has been given a minor upgrade to make it safer for seniors, with two metal railings installed for support. We've been told by many residents that this small improvement has been very helpful.


The Safety Audit report and schedule of actions are progressed each month through the Working Group which meets at 2pm on the second Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for August 13. This group is open to anyone interested, and includes the Surry Hills Public Tenants' Association, local police, Housing NSW, NSW Health and the City. Issues discussed by the Working Group include waste, lighting, access, and graffiti.


Re-numbering Northcott was one of the recommendations coming out of the last four safety audits. It began early this month [is due to begin at time of writing] and should be complete in the next few weeks. A range of signage improvements accompanies the re-numbering program to improve the look and feel of Northcott, so congratulations to Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation for carrying out this program.


A big thank-you to all the residents who continue to encourage their neighbours to sort their waste in the recycling bays. The safe collection and disposal of sharps away from the general waste stream is a significant improvement, and Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation are now considering replicating the Northcott model for sharps management at other locations.


A no-alcohol zone has been introduced at Ward Park, and is being monitored for its effects on anti-social behaviour by City staff and Surry Hills Police.

It's always preferable to manage the issue with early intervention and engagement wherever possible, and the feedback we're hearing is that the space is well-loved and meets the recreation needs of a broad range of people, including both public and private residents, and dog-owners.


The 6th annual Pet Day will be held in Ward Park on Saturday September 28, from 11am to 3pm. Operation Cat will operate in Surry Hills from the second to the 11th of September. The City's run this program for a number of years to offer discounted de-sexing.


The Surry Hills Library and Neighbourhood Centre provides a great range of resources and activities for local residents, including computer and internet access. Activities and services include the monthly markets, the Late Night Library program, regular community meetings, the annual Surry Hills Festival, the monthly Surry Hills Community Drug Action Team and programs designed for this community.


The City is writing a new Safe City Strategy which will take us through from next year until 2017. A Social Housing Wellbeing and Safety Action Plan will come under the new strategy, and we're planning consultations and surveys over the next few months. Dom Grenot, our Social Housing Project Manager, Safe City, can give you more information about this.


Housing NSW is going through some changes this month, aligning its areas with health districts. The Sussex Street office has now moved to the corner of Chalmers and Cleveland Streets along with other FACs departments. Housing staff here today can give you more information on this.

We meet with Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation to deal with numerous issues including:

  • Companion animals
  • Recycling and waste management
  • Crime prevention and community safety
  • Access to grants and services
  • Alcohol management in public places
  • High rise living
  • Community engagement
  • Long-term asset planning and
  • Government strategies to meet the need for affordable housing


The Inner City Mental Health Recovery working group continues to meet every month. It includes representatives from St Vincent's Mental Health, local Police, Housing NSW, the City, service providers and residents.

It's been meeting for many years now and has been pivotal in establishing the CADRE pilot project. This is an effort to improve the ability of local residents to support people living with mental health issues, and includes organising events and information during Mental Health Month in October.


The association continues to represent residents, meeting regularly under the chairmanship of Colleen Hepburn. The Association is a proactive group, successfully operated by volunteers. Any offer of help is great appreciated, and Colleen will be happy to meet anyone interested in volunteering at the end of this meeting.


Light Rail

The NSW Government initially recommended a tunnel beneath Devonshire Street and I supported the tunnel option under Surry Hills if a station was located in Surry Hills.

Now, however, given the NSW Government's decision, I believe that the City of Sydney and the community need to work together to get the best possible outcome for Surry Hills.

The City will do everything we can to ensure people's homes and businesses aren't significantly affected by noise and ensure that people get fair compensation if their houses are resumed.

The City will work to get additional parkland and improve the safety and amenity of our streets, including improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. We want to minimise the loss of street parking and improve local access, and ensure construction is carried out with minimal impacts.

The route should run under Moore Park and a pedestrian bridge should be provided over Anzac Parade.

At the community meeting I chaired on 15 April, the Minister indicated the community would have input into the impacts on parking and local traffic, the location and design of light rail stops, the method of crossing Moore Park and the hours of construction.