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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Waterloo Public Housing & Metro Station Redevelopment / The 2015 Announcements / Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory Community Centre) Statement

Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory Community Centre) Statement

Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory Community Centre) issued the following statement regarding the announcement on 17 December 2015.

Press statement: Response to the Redevelopment of Waterloo Announcement

FACS Minister Brad Hazzard announced the redevelopment of the Waterloo estate today following the decision to build a Waterloo metro station in the area.

Counterpoint Community Services has being supporting social housing residents in the Waterloo Redfern area since 1977. We have worked with a number of state government agencies over the last decade advocating for decent consultation, but we have struggled to ensure residents' views are heard.

Over the last few years the community has been involved in discussions with Government over various plans to redevelop the estate, however the new plan is substantially larger than anything proposed by the earlier RWA/SMDA Built Environment Plan or the Housing NSW Master Plan and does not address the complex redevelopment issues earlier raised by the community. The new plans have hence come as a shock to even engaged community members who will not see the detail they have required for some time, and are left with only government assurances in which they have little faith.

A large number of previous Government plans, studies and documented feedback from residents have either been ripped up, or buried so deep, they will never see the light of day and at significant expense to the tax payer.

These latest plans that have been announced today will come as shock to many, and again we find ourselves in the position that the community will be consulted after the decision has already been made.

We welcome Minister Hazzard’s commitment that there will be no net loss of public housing in the area and potentially an increase. The increase in social housing stock is desperately needed given the length of the current waiting list for public housing which currently 60,000 and projected to rise. We also acknowledge the Minister’s undertaking that there will be no eviction for those services that are operating out of Housing NSW properties, and his guarantee that all tenants who will be relocated will be guaranteed a return tenancy in Waterloo.

In addition his commitment that there will be no reduction of current community services in the area as experience in other redevelopments indicates that there will be a need for increased government and non-government resources and services to help the community in this difficult time.

Geoff Turnbull of REDWatch echoes this by saying “Redevelopment of the buildings will not result in improvements for residents unless it is accompanied by changes in the way the government allocates high needs people into housing and changes the support services provided to help high needs people maintain their tenancies with minimal impact on their neighbours.”

Counterpoints Executive Officer Michael Shreenan said “This development, along with the others that will surely follow in the surrounding area, will have a profound effect on the public housing community who are rightly concerned and anxious about the news. Given issues such as traffic congestion, the lack of plans to improve currently inadequate social and community infrastructure, coupled with the projected increase in density, will come as no surprise to residents who are cynical after previous unsatisfactory discussions with Government.”

He goes on to say “We are also perplexed as to the reason of choosing to make the announcement just before Christmas when a large number of the respected local support services are about to close, and a lot of local senior bureaucrats take leave for a month. This will surely result in a lot of vulnerable residents feeling needlessly anxious and seeking answers to questions that they won’t receive.”

“As a lead community agency working with residents and partner agencies we will advocate strongly to ensure that the Government honours their promises and guarantees that the needs of the current residents are placed in a higher priority than that of the government’s balance sheet or the needs of hungry private developers.”

Bill Yan, Executive Officer South Sydney Community Aid, also had concerns saying "While the letter from the minister outlined and addressed some of the timeline issues, the fact that the letter is written in English and was distributed on the morning of the announcement creates additional anxiety, especially to the elderly CALD communities tenants who are from a non-English speaking background. Some of them have the idea of being relocated by mid-2017."

Counterpoint will work with our partners in Government services, Minister Hazzard and our partner NGO services to ensure that these plans benefit both the current and future community of Waterloo.

However Government will have to ensure it puts in place adequate resources that are independent and impartial, to support residents through this transitioning process. We have to ensure that the current fabric of long established community networks and support networks that current residents have and rely on are not lost in this process.

For more information please call Michael Shreenan Executive officer or Laura Kelly, Community Development officer on 9698 9569 email info@counterpointcs.org.au