82 Wentworth Prk Road Glebe Grapevine

Grapevine Sept 2023

The fight for 82 continues

At a rally at Parliament House on 23 August organised by Hands off Glebe, local MP Kobi Shetty accepted over 400 letters from Glebe residents demanding renovation not demolition of 82 Wentworth Park Road.

Kobi delivered the letters on our behalf to Housing and Homelessness Minister Rose Jackson. We had invited the Minister to join us to accept the letters personally but she declined.

Glebe residents and businesses (see below) responded really well to the letter campaign which had an impact on Minister Jackson.

Following the presentation of letters objecting to the planned demolition of the public housing complex 82 Wentworth Park Road, Housing Minister Rose Jackson invited Hands off Glebe to send a delegation to discuss the issue with her.

The delegation was made up of Denis Doherty and Te Raina Watego from Hands off Glebe, Glebe Society President Ian Stephenson and award winning architect Hector Abrahams. They visited Parliament House on 31 August and received a friendly reception by the Minister Rose Jackson.

Although they were told the meeting was to explain why the government will not budge on its plan to demolish 82, the delegation put the case for an alternative proposal which is energy efficient and designed to enhance the quality of life for residents.

It provides a high degree of accessibility, natural daylight and cross ventilation, is considerably cheaper, does not reduce the current supply of public housing, produces less greenhouse emissions and fits in with the character of the neighbourhood.

A Step Forward

In response to the case presented by our delegation, Minister Jackson proposed a meeting of specialists from both sides to further discuss the conflicting proposals.

Hands off Glebe is encouraged by this development and hopes we can persuade her staff to adopt the latest thinking on housing construction and pour their creativity into refurbishing existing buildings, rather than demolishing them.

The government must recognise the human, financial and
environmental costs of demolition. Until they do, Hands off Glebe members and supporters will continue fighting
to save 82
Wentworth Park Road.”

Haff is not the answer

By Hannah Middleton

The housing crisis continues to deepen with an estimated shortfall of 640,000 homes. Labor’s solution, the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), is misleading in its claims and falls far short of what is urgently needed.

The government has loaned $10 billion to the Future Fund Board which will manage its investment in shares and other products with the aim of raising the income to be spent on housing and the costs of operating.

The costs of the bureaucracies, financial institutions managing investments, staffing, etc are estimated to be $200 million which will come out of the returns from the HAFF which the government says will be $500 million each year. However, investing in shares and other financial products is risky. Some years the HAFF might make huge returns, other years it might lose money.

In return for Greens support for the HAFF, the government has promised $1 billion for housing this year. This is in addition to a $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator (SHA) for states and territories until the HAFF is up and running and a guaranteed spending of $500 million each year, regardless of whether the HAFF makes a profit.

The government says the HAFF will deliver 30,000 social and affordable homes over 10 years but this is a fiction. The housing is to be built by the private and the community sectors. Not all the new housing will be rental accommodation.

The homeless and those facing housing stress are not statistics. They are real people struggling to make ends meet, to live dignified lives and put a roof over their heads.

The HAFF program hardly scratches the surface of the housing crisis. It amounts to wilful and shameful neglect by yet another government after decades of dismantling of public housing.

Additional funds for public housing could be found by ending the $11 billion annual subsidy on fossil fuels and cancelling the $368 billion AUKUS nuclear submarines.

There is no impediment to Australia once again adopting a large-scale commitment to public housing. The problem is government support for private profit-making in the housing sector.

Housing is a basic human right. In a wealthy nation like Australia there is no excuse for homelessness or people being forced to live in sub-standard conditions.

Remembering Jesse

Wreath for Jesse on the Robyn Kemmis Park fence

By Emily Vallentine

Hands off Glebe and St John’s Church worked together and held a memorial service for Jesse who was killed by police on the Franklyn Street housing estate.

The tenants and I would like to thank both groups for their support and say how much it helped us all unite in our grief and shock after the appalling incident.

As a result of the notices put up around the estate, Jesse’s mother Judy contacted me. She was moved and grateful for the service.

His death has devastated her and made her very angry. She is pursuing justice for him and for all those with mental health issues who are confronted by poorly trained police. The coroner is investigating the death.

Thankyou to local businesses

Hands off Glebe sincerely thanks two Glebe businesses who agreed to be collection points for signed copies of our protest letters to Housing Minister Rose Jackson about 82 Wentworth Park Road. We hope that our supporters will return this support by shopping at these businesses.

Hands off Glebe would also like to thank Kobi Shetty MP and her staff for collecting copies of the signed protest letters.