Social Housing Minister Brad Hazzard came to morning tea at Flo Seckold’s home today. He was joined by our local member Alex Greenwich and Lord Mayor Clover Moore. He was getting to know some of the local residents and their history in Millers Point. The minister seemed genuinely interested in the residents and appears ready to do what he can to help them stay in Millers Point, but he stressed that he had to be rational in his approach, and any decision about what to do in Millers Point would not be his alone as it was all of Cabinet that decided on the sell-off, and any change would also need to be decided by all of Cabinet.
Nevertheless, everyone who spoke with the minister this morning felt that he wanted to help residents stay in Millers Point if there was a rational way to do this. He made it clear that he would not say what he would present to Cabinet, but it seemed that if there were a plan in which all of the more valuable properties could be sold, and some creative approaches to other Millers Point properties could be taken, then he could return to Cabinet with adjustments to the existing plan to relocate all residents and sell every property in Millers Point.
After morning tea, Brad Hazzard, Alex Greenwich and Clover Moore walked around Millers Point and visited several of the flats built early last century in conjunction with rebuilding the wharves of Millers Point. These were constructed to provide modest accommodation for waterside workers, and not only do these flats still exist, but they are still used for their original purpose of providing model homes for workers. Some of these flats are amongst the homes the community hopes could be saved for existing residents.
The important outcomes from today’s visit by Minister Brad Hazzard are that there is renewed hope in the community and the people of Millers Point feel the minister knows who they are a little more, and he is listening.
This campaign is focussing on the importance of community. Long term residents of Millers Point are holders of social history and have contributed to what is now called social capital – the relationships and connectedness between neighbours. A functioning, inclusive community that supports the families within it is the most effective form of ‘welfare’ there is. Millers Point includes a remarkable social housing success story that should be celebrated and protected.
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