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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Waterloo Public Housing & Metro Station Redevelopment / Waterloo Redevelopment 2016 / REDWatch - Initial questions regarding the proposed Waterloo redevelopment

REDWatch - Initial questions regarding the proposed Waterloo redevelopment

Below are a series of questions from REDWatch relating to the Waterloo redevelopment announcement. As the issues raised in many cases stretch across responsibility areas for UrbanGrowth, LAHC and Housing NSW REDWatch supplied these questions to all three organisations. REDWatch has previously been actively involved in the BEP2 and Housing NSW Draft Master Plan discussions and these discussions inform the questions raised in the attached document. The document is also informed by recent REDWatch forums on the Waterloo development and questions raised with us following the announcement and the subsequent HNSW forums and discussions. As answers to questions become available we will make these available on this website.

The Cabinet Decision

What was the proposal put to government for the renewal of the Waterloo public housing estate as part of the Waterloo station proposal accepted by government?

UG has said that the Waterloo decision was based on financial assessment. What were the parameters for that assessment in terms of FSR, land coverage, public private mix etc. and what is the estimated land cost of the Waterloo estate under these assumptions?

What has already been decided by cabinet about Waterloo public housing redevelopment?

What is open to further work within FaCS & UrbanGrowth?

What is open to community input and what is not?

Earlier Studies

The community have been involved in providing input to a range of studies in Redfern and Waterloo related to the renewal investigations of the public housing estates. That information is seen as being of benefit also to the community through the master planning phase. Will these reports be released so the community has background information to be involved in discussions with Government over the current proposals?

What were the recommendations of the Final BEP2 proposal and why was the proposal overall considered not to be viable?

What were the recommendations of the federally funded Housing NSW Draft Master Plan and what elements of this study are still relevant in considering options for the new proposal?

What did the Government Architect propose in the BEP2 review? What issues are relevant for consideration for options under the current proposal?


The Draft BEP2 was primarily about redeveloping the walk ups and infill on existing parks. The high rises were left because they were estimated to have a long viable life remaining. What is the basis for including the high rise in the current proposal? Will they be left to be redeveloped last as proposed under a later BEP2 revision?

Is any consideration being given to felling the high rise at the beginning of the redevelopment? If so has the dislocation of a large number of people been weighed against the smaller impact of starting on the walk-ups?

Clarification of proposed Housing Mix

The announcement talks of 10,000 units in the proposed re-development with 70% being private. Please advise what proportion is currently being considered for public housing, community housing, rental affordable housing, purchase affordable housing and private housing. It appears from HNSW comments at the Lord Mayor’s Forum in Waterloo that affordable housing will come from the private 70% and not the social 30%. Is this so?

Will the redevelopment increase the quantity of public / social housing in the Waterloo estate redevelopment?

One written question submitted at the REDWatch meeting said “What about social mix in Double Bay mate?” While this might be outside the UG and LAHC remit what is possible for UG is to look at if public and community housing can be increased in the broader Central to Eveleigh corridor along with affordable housing. Will this be considered and if not why not?

Housing and Social Mix

How is it proposed that housing mix be implemented? Will housing mix be within buildings or will there be different buildings for different tenancy types? If tenure mixed within a building will mix be on each floor or in different parts of the building. Will all tenancy types have access to the same community spaces and building amenities? Will they use the same front door?

Will there be place management post construction to help moved tenants and new private residents establish new genuinely mixed communities?

How is it proposed that housing mix will create social mix?

If different tenure types are in different buildings and if private developments have access to their own facilities such as gyms, pools and private open space which public / community housing tenants can not access then then public facilities will primarily be for public / community housing tenants and there will be little social mix around such facilities. Under this model how will tenure mix create social mix?

What examples of successful social mix in renewal of inner city social housing estates are Government using for its expectations of a) a successful mixed high rise neighbourhood and b) of reduced anti-social behaviour?

Are the examples above dealing with situations where Government is increasingly allocating people of higher and higher needs into high density mixed social housing as the old working class tenants pass on?

Housing renewal alone has not addressed social issues in problematic estates in other places. What changes / supports will government put in place to ensure the high density development becomes less problematic rather than more?

Human Services

Local human services and tenants were concerned about the lack of existing human service support and integration for current tenants prior to the redevelopment announcement. Is there a commitment to address this problem as a priority so tenants are properly supported heading into the lack of certainty about their housing?

Local services and tenants have been concerned about the “air gap” between inter-agency co-operation at a government department level and what NGO and community are seeing and doing on the ground. Is there a commitment to put in place a mechanism to improve co-operation, understanding and feedback between government agencies and NGO key local human service providers?

One person at the REDWatch meeting put the following written question that illustrates the problem from a community perspective: “Why is there already such poor community health services in this area? This has always shown how little the government cares about disadvantaged people. The government could be making life inside the existing buildings better”.

Will funding for integrated human service support for high needs tenants allocated into public / community housing in the new development be guaranteed in the long term? If not how is it expected that high density social mix with people of high and complex needs will succeed.

Will any human service referral role taken on by parties managing tenants post development be matched by the provision of new service capacity to handle the existing and projected level of need or will the current capacity constraints continue to mean people cannot get the assistance they need when they need it?

If it is proposed that there be improved human services support post development can these supports be rolled out immediately for the area to address existing problems arising from lack of integrated human service support.

Has any consideration been given to rolling out integrated human service supports in another estate (say Redfern) where the impact of improved supports alone can be compared with an estate renewal including increased supports? Redfern and Waterloo seem ideally suited to such a comparison.

Affordable Housing and transition in and out of Affordable Housing

What is being proposed for “affordable housing”? Will it be rental or purchase and based on percentage of income or percentage of market price?

Will priority be given to people who gain employment who are in public housing to transition to affordable housing? If so will there be a fast track to move back to public / community housing if their circumstances change from loss of job / relapse etc?

Can there be a system where designation of housing changes from social to affordable rather than people needing to physically move locations if their circumstances change?

Unit Mix

What is the current bed room requirement of existing Waterloo tenants and of those on the waiting list? Do these figures include carer provisions?

What unit size mix is proposed by HNSW and LAHC proposed for the redevelopment of Waterloo?

Will the mix of unit sizes for public / community housing match the current occupancy mix of Waterloo or is it possible that some people will be unable to return to Waterloo because there will not be larger units available to accommodate them?

There is concern that this may impact on some larger families including Aboriginal families. If larger families cannot be re-housed in the estate can they be advised of this at the time of their initial relocation and offered permanent relocated nearby - maybe in the conservation area?

The undertaking about retaining at least the same number of tenancies in Waterloo is presumably based on the number of front doors and not the number of bedrooms. Will the 30% of the public / community housing units equate to approximately 30% of the total unit floor space?

The initial Communities Plus tender proposed that “as a minimum the social housing will be required to meet the Silver Level of the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines as published by Liveable Housing Australia”. Will these provisions apply to all public / community housing in the Waterloo development?

Given the problems of people finding units that meet the eight core design elements covered by the LHA silver level and the intention that there will not be a distinction between public / community and private housing will affordable and private sale units be required to meet a similar LHA silver standard?

Given the size of the Redfern and Waterloo public housing estates and the number of aged people in public / community housing will provisions be made in the Master Plan for aged care facilities where elderly people can remain in their community when their needs change to require supported accommodation or a nursing home?

What provisions will be made for community gardens in the redevelopment given their existence and support on the existing estate?

What provision will be made for workspaces to fill the role currently played by some of the Housing NSW lockups that provide space for community and social blue collar enterprises, training, men’s / women’s shed etc.?

Moving and retention of existing tenancy rights

There is confusion in the community about the differences between public and community housing and the potential loss of tenancy rights in moving from public to community housing. The statement “In general, your lease will be the same” in the HNSW letter of 8 March 2016 to tenants has raised concerns about the exceptions.

The differences and implications of both signing new public housing leases and possibly signing new social housing leases need to be clearly spelt out to tenants, so they understand what the implications are, and where the relocation and right to return may not deliver the promised outcomes for all tenants.

Current public tenancy rights would seem be lost in transition to community housing providers as the person will need to sign a community housing provider lease. Is this so or has the Government guaranteed their tenancy rights will transfer?

How does the Minister’s launch undertaking that everyone will be able to return and there will no loss of tenancy rights mesh with HNSW policy on transfers? Do his assurances over-ride departmental policy for the Waterloo redevelopment?

Has the possibility of transfer of existing leases been explored as an alternative to new leases?

Given size of Waterloo estate, tenant turnover and that a number of people will wish to take the opportunity to permanently transfer elsewhere, will HNSW offer transfers out to those that wish to leave and make these units available for those under compulsory transfer if they wish to stay in the area to retain access to their supportive community and services?

Will the Government give priority to let people stay in Waterloo to maintain connections and mitigate the redevelopment impact should they need to be temporarily re-located?

Waterloo Conservation area

The project is currently limited to the consolidated Waterloo Estate. What then happens to public housing in the adjoining Waterloo heritage conservation area?

Will individual houses continue to be sold off and Waterloo see a decrease in public housing stock or will all loses in the conservation area be made up in the estate?

Is there a guarantee that there will be no loss of public housing in Waterloo or is the guarantee that there will be no loss of units in the Waterloo estate redevelopment?

Can anyone in the conservation area who has their house sold be given priority to return to the new Waterloo development?

What will happen to ensure proceeds from any sale of public housing stock in Waterloo is invested in replacement housing stock in the Redfern Waterloo area so inner city stock is not lost?

Engagement & Support

We understand that HNSW wish to undertake engagement with its tenants. The impacted community is however much wider than tenants and in the past tenants have benefited from the involvement and expertise of others. This again came out at the REDWatch session on Waterloo as being important.

What will be the process for dialogue with the wider community and organisations with mixed membership / roles like REDWatch, local services and various peaks in the preparation of the plan around issues such as those raised in this document?

It is imperative that local services be involved in discussions about the redevelopment as they deal face to face with those impacted by the decisions. However currently funding for community centres does not cover existing demand let alone meet the new demands generated by the announcement. Minimum centre staffing levels mean that sometimes staff cannot attend outside meetings. Services will see a further increase in demand as plans are issued and relocations start.

What will be done to ensure local services can participate in the redevelopment discussions and that the resources needed to meet the government induced demand are provided?

What support will be provided long term to community organisations to help rebuild a new cohesive post development community?

Circulated 2 May 2016

For Further Information, contact:

Alice Anderson, REDWatch Spokesperson c/- PO Box 1567Strawberry Hills NSW 2012         

email: mail@redwatch.org.au