Woolloomooloo Social Housing Meeting

(11am, Wednesday 24 July 2013, Juanita Neilson Centre)

Hello, everyone, welcome. 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 welcome here today, Inspector Craig Lowery, Kings Cross Police, Margaret Macrae, Acting Area Director, Housing NSW and Dominic Grenot, Social Housing Liaison Officer, City of Sydney.


The memorandum of understanding between the City and Housing NSW has been simplified to help us achieve better results, and includes regular liaison with the Land and Housing Corporation. This reflects the separation of functions into assets and tenancy. The meetings consider a range of issues, including waste management, anti-social behaviour, companion animals, graffiti, mental health, and future asset planning.

If you have matters you would like raised, you can table them at the Neighbourhood Advisory Board, or directly through Dominic Grenot, project manager for social housing in our Safe City Unit.


Last August, the City - in partnership with local residents, Kings Cross Police, Housing NSW and other local agencies, led a community safety audit looking at the public housing precincts in Woolloomooloo. The report from that process was distributed last December.

A working group has been meeting regularly to deal with a range of concerns including:

  • Lighting
  • Signage
  • Trees
  • Car parking and
  • Waste and graffiti

Some significant concerns were raised recently by residents regarding the proposed tree pruning and removal works. A number of on-site meetings were held between the City, Housing NSW, the Land & Housing Corporation, contractors and residents which seem to have resolved the concerns.

The City will be overhauling all the black metal light poles in Woolloomooloo with new energy-efficient LED lights and giving the poles a fresh coat of paint which will improve the look and feel of these spaces. This work will continue through the second half of this year.


The City's Public Space Liaison Officers are continuing to work three mornings a week in Woolloomooloo to make sure rough sleepers help keep public space in a reasonable condition. This means arranging clean-ups, working with police and homelessness services, and liaising with local residents. Our Waste and Cleansing Unit carries out daily clean-ups in the area, including on Housing NSW land.

Homelessness and City Projects continue to work with rough sleepers, with police, agencies like Hope Street and Matthew Talbot, with local food services, homelessness services and with residents to improve the amenity and management of public space in your area.

We continue to co-ordinate the Woolloomooloo Integrated Services Hub, or WISH, that brings over 20 agencies together once a month to provide a co-ordinated service delivery to local homeless people and social housing residents. The agencies and services involved including Housing NSW, Centrelink, NSW Health, legal, education and employment services, Medicare, the NSW Ombudsman and various outreach services. The meeting is held on the third Friday of each month, with the next scheduled for August 16.

The City completed our 10th street count earlier this year, with another planned for next month. [Aug] We held the counts twice a year to find out exactly how many people are sleeping rough in the LGA. I'm happy to say that the numbers in Woolloomooloo are continuing to head downwards. The Way2Home, which is funded by the City and Housing NSW, and the Aboriginal Assertive Outreach Service together have helped more than 70 rough sleepers to get into long-term housing out of Woolloomooloo.

We're also continuing to monitor and work with the multiple mobile food services in the area and encouraging them to consider relocated to other areas of need so as to reduce over-servicing in this area. However, the food services that visit the open area in Tom Uren Square don't come under the City's control as this is State-government land.


Way2Home is continuing to work with rough sleepers in and around Woolloomooloo to try to find them housing and support. As part of Way2Home, the City is working with the st Vincent's health outreach team to increase primary health care and appropriate mental health and substance abuse help to rough sleepers. We're also about to start trialling an extension of the work done by our public space liaison officers with rough sleepers during the week to Saturdays and Sundays, giving us round-the-week coverage in Woolloomooloo.


Last year the City endorsed a request from Kings Cross Police to make the entire Local Area Command alcohol-free. We're also working with Housing NSW and police on improving alcohol-management strategies on areas of land managed by Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation.


In June we consulted with residents of McElohne Street on plans to plant 15 new trees.

Work on the kerb islands in the streets to allow for the tree planting will begin in the next few months and we hope to have the trees planted by September.

This project is part of the City's 2030 vision to green our City and improve our streets.


Earlier this year, Council endorsed a scoping report for the design of the refurbishment of the Centre. We'll consult you all and members of the Centre before developing the detailed design. A development application has been lodged for the work which will begin early next year.


The Mary MacDonald Centre has recently had some refurbishments both inside and out, and is now back in full use.


City staff have been talking with the police and your community about putting a community shed in the Bourke Street Park, which will be installed early next year.


The Woolloomooloo Youth services programs focus on strengthening and supporting existing youth services in the Woolloomooloo community, in partnership with PCYC, Walla Mulla and other groups. This year, some successful programs have been developed and held at PCYC.

In April, the City was involved in a range of successful events and activities as part of Youth Week. National Youth Week provides opportunities for young people from 12 to 24 years to share ideas, attend live events, meet other young people and involve families as well.

OVER 55s

Over 55s services produce the Growing Old Living Dangerously brochure twice a year, with a diverse and growing list of free or affordable programs in and around the City. Copies are available at the Juanita Nielsen Centre, Kings Cross Library, Kings Cross Neighbourhood Services Centre, the Reg Murphy Centre in Greenknowe Ave and the Kings Cross Community Information Centre. Residents who use the City's community bus service can also get a copy from your driver.

Services and facilities at Reg Murphy Centre include a trained community worker who can help you with information and referrals to home support. There are also affordable lunches, pool tables, computer access, bus trips, including fishing trips, trips to bingo with transport provided, acting classes and transport to aqua classes at Cook and Phillip Park on Friday Morning. There's also transport provided to a weekly, low-cost podiatry service at the Ron Williams Centre in Redfern. If you want to get to services where transport is provided, call the Reg Murphy Community Worker, Diane Giles, on 8374 6310.

Over 55s services also provide a number of low-cost exercise classes at the Rex Centre, including creative movement, gentle yoga, tai chi and feldenkrais.

Meals on Wheels provides home-delivered meals to local residents. Phone them on 8512 4230.

For more information about services for older people, phone the Community Information Officer, Natalie Wright on 9265 9489.


As part of NAIDOC Week, Walla Mulla held a successful family day on July 13 from 10am to 4pm. This was one of many NAIDOC Week events supported by the City around the inner city.

Community barbecues organised by Juanita Nielsen staff with other services and partners are held regularly in the Woolloomooloo area. The next one will be on Wednesday October 30 from 4pm in Sydney Place, and it will have a Halloween theme.

Thank you for coming here today.



THE OLD TRAMthat was to be placed in Bourke Street park as a 'community' shed will now not go in because there were a number of logistical issues and costs.

There will still be a structure going in and it will still be operating as a community shed for all members of the community. It is due for completion early 2014.


Residents have raised concerns about Housing NSW's tree pruning in the area.

Pruning and removal for specific trees were approved by the City

Housing were responsible for notifying resident's about the work.

I understand there was a backlog of work, so a lot of trees came out at once.

In response to concerns, there were a number of meetings on site with Dom Grenot, The City's Aborists, Housing NSW, Land and Housing Corp and their contractors.

HNSW have a responsibility to replace any trees removed.

Residents can also apply for a "Neighbourwoods" matching grant to plant new trees in the area.


There are two issues we're facing - development application for the site at 164-166 Cathedral Street, which is now a matter for the Court, and the sale of public lands, which I will continue to advocate on.

164-166 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo

City staff, who assess the application, have recommended that Council refused it.

City Staff said it should be refused because:

  • The building exceeds our planning limits - it is too tall and it is too bulky.
  • It wasn't considered safe for pedestrians because cars would be entering through Junction Lane.

The developer lodged an application with the Land and Environment Court on 4 July 2013 as the application was not determined within 40 days.

The Court is now the Consent Authority. This means the court now decides whether the building shown in the plans can be built.

Now that the application is before the Court, city staff will include the views of all those who lodged objections to the DA in preparing its submission to the Court.

Council's solicitors will contact objectors about when and how they can participate in the court process, if they would like to do so.


Like you, I was upset to hear that this land, previously owned by the RailCorp, had been sold and that this proposed development would encroach onto Tom Uren Square.

Until now this land has been publically accessible and well used as a public meeting place by local service providers and neighbours, and as a communal backyard for children.

This sale of government owned land to a private developer means that part of a well-used public space has been lost.

Like you I am seriously troubled by the lack of transparency about the land sales in this area over a number of years.

The State Government is progressively selling off its land and properties.

These sales are occurring without notification, and local communities are not being consulted or included in decisions that have serious implications for them.

I also strongly believe that proceeds of any local property sales should be reinvested in local public housing.

I have written to the Premier about these concerns and have asked him to provide me with a list of all properties in the City of Sydney that are being considered for sale.

I have also requested from him public notification and consultation in advance on any decision to sell government owned properties or land in the City Of Sydney.

I call on the NSW Government to investigate all options to retain these properties instead of selling them off.