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Upgrades to public housing herald “new era”

Public housing properties in Redfern and Waterloo will receive much-needed upgrades as part of the Federal Government’s stimulus package. NSW Housing Minister, David Borger, and Federal Housing Minister, Tanya Plibersek, made the announcement in Glebe last month with local member for Balmain, Verity Firth reports Kelly Lane in the South Sydney Herald of May 2009.

“This really is a new era for public housing,” Mr Borger said. “It’s already been well received by our tenants.”

More than $9.2 million will be spent on the maintenance of 3,104 homes in the inner city, with more than $3.8 million to be spent on 1,404 of those homes in Redfern and Waterloo.

Mr Borger said the state of public housing in Redfern and Waterloo would be greatly improved by the upgrades. He also said the scheme would not only improve living conditions for public housing residents across the State but would also create jobs.

“This significant investment will ensure electricians, plumbers, painters, carpet layers and others will have more work. It will keep people in jobs in these difficult times – it’s as simple as that,” he said.

The remaining $5.4 million will fund upgrades to 2,000 homes in Sydney, Marrickville and Glebe.

Before the announcement, the politicians toured a property in Glebe that was receiving much-needed maintenance. Tanya Plibersek said: “When the work is done we’ll be able to house a very needy family in this home.”

The $9.2 million is part of $130 million to be spent by the Federal Government in NSW on social housing maintenance. “This significant investment will generate around 2,000 jobs across the State and be used to upgrade around 31,000 homes by June 2010,” Ms Plibersek said.

The Federal Government will also spend more than $6 billion over the next three years to build 20,000 public housing homes across Australia, including 6,000 in NSW. A further 3,000 homes will be built under a NSW Government plan.

Ms Plibersek said the new homes would help the Federal Government’s goal of halving homelessness by 2020, as well as generate economic activity and create an estimated 50,000 jobs.

“That’s very important at a time of global economic downturn,” she said.

Verity Firth said that Housing NSW would continue to spend the regular $140 million allocated to maintenance. “This money will employ 50 social housing residents over a two-year period, help maintenance contractors take on 250 apprentices, and improve the living conditions of social housing residents across the State,” she said.

Photo: Andrew Collis - Caption: David Borger, Verity Firth and Tanya Plibersek in Glebe

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2009