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Housing Minister avoids questions

The NSW Housing Minister’s media adviser appears to have misinformed the SSH about a meeting between the Minister and property developers in Waterloo, amid residents’ concerns for the future of public housing in the area reports the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

On learning that Matt Brown, Minister for Housing, was to tour Waterloo with members of the Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the SSH approached the Minister’s department for information.

The Department denied plans for the meeting, only to then concede it would take place. A request for a photo of the Minister and his hosts was met with resistance.

Arriving at Waterloo Green at a time confirmed by the RWCC, the SSH learned that, at the Minister’s behest, the meeting had taken place some two hours earlier.

In a briefing paper leaked to the SSH the RWCC said it was concerned to “minimise the negative impact of the area” that has resulted from the Government’s location of a large number of “high needs people in Redfern Waterloo public housing”.

The brief details a need to improve administration of estates in the area and for the RWCC to take an active role in redevelopment plans.

Local residents are concerned the Government’s long-term plan to mix public and private housing will polarise the community and undermine public housing in the area despite Planning Minister Frank Sartor stating at a recent estimates committee meeting that “there is no intention at all to reduce the amount of public housing in Redfern-Waterloo”.

The Housing Minister failed to respond to questions issued by the SSH which asked the Minister to guarantee that no part of the estate would be sold or leased to fund any redevelopment, and to explain why he had not yet met with public housing tenants to hear their concerns.

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007 

[REDWatch notes – 1. The RWCC Briefing Note was publicly released see NSW Minister for Housing visits Redfern Waterloo in last RWIU. 2. The Minister met as scheduled with the RWCC but left earlier than expected.]