There is optimism in Millers Point since the appointment of new Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard. Advised he was visiting Millers Point properties a few weeks ago, four residents waited outside 50 Argyle Place to talk to him. When he came out, he spent about ten minutes speaking to these residents. He listened to alternatives to the entire sell-off of Millers Point and agreed to meet residents again. He indicated that he would like residents to come to his parliamentary offices, and he would arrange to meet residents in a couple of weeks when he was settled into his new role.
A large contingent of media accompanied Brad Hazzard on his Millers Point visit. Residents told the journalists that there appeared to be a massive change in government’s approach as Brad Hazzard came out to talk to residents, expressed interest in alternatives that would save the community, and wanted to continue talking. The following day, the Herald’s Nicole Hasham reported that Brad Hazzard had said to her, “I’m not ruling out trying to get more public housing in and around the Millers Point area.”
Nicole Hasham’s report in the Herald appears to have been what sparked the community optimism, and a story on this Millers Point Community website quoting from her report and outlining some of the alternatives further fuelled this optimism, especially when more than 20,000 people were directed to the story from the Save Millers Point Facebook page.
The City of Sydney added to the bright outlook around Millers Point by passing a motion strongly supporting residents and encouraging the minister to save the community. The motion was drafted by Irene Doutney and strengthened by an amendment from Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis. Here is the motion:
It is resolved that:
A. Council note:
- The new Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard, has stated his commitment to transparency for the Millers Point sell-off process through setting up a bank account specifically for the proceeds;
- The Minister has recognised the importance of maintaining the older residents within the community of Millers Point; and
- The City’s recommendation for continued commitment to providing support to the Millers Point community through financial aid to the Redfern Legal Centre;
B. Council welcome the Minister’s statement that he would consider retaining some public housing in Millers Point; and
C. Council note that the Lord Mayor has written to the Minister for Social Housing, to:
- reconfirm the City’s commitment to working with the State Government on the critical issues of social housing provision, homelessness and housing affordability in the City of Sydney
- request that the Lord Mayor and delegation of Millers Point residents meet with the Minister;
- strongly encourage the retention of some public housing in Millers Point, especially the Sirius apartment building; and
- reiterate the City’s concerns that the NSW Government has not made a commitment to build new housing in inner Sydney or release details on how the proceeds of sale will be spent on new social housing.
Reporting on these events is not giving false hope to residents. These appear to be real changes and should be embraced by all who support the Millers Point Community. Spread the word and look forward to more compassionate responses from the government.