Tanya Plibersek’s Speech in Federal Parliament

Yesterday Tanya Plibersek made a Member’s Statement in the House of Representatives.

Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (09:55):

“I will speak on another issue today. It is an important issue and it comes, in part, from our reflections on the legacy of Gough Whitlam and his government. Forty years ago the Whitlam government, with the fine Minister for Urban and Regional Development, bought the Glebe Estate, to protect it from the bulldozers. They were going to put a freeway through the Glebe Estate and displace a community that had lived there for many years. Instead, Tom Uren, as the then minister in the Whitlam government, bought the Glebe Estate to protect it for future generations. And we still have a thriving and vibrant public housing community there today.

“Sadly, the same is not true of Millers Point, where the state government is determined to sell almost 300 homes. So far, six properties have been sold for a total of $15 million and another 293 are to go. But, sadly, it is not just the houses being sold off; 100 people have moved already from the area. That contradicts a social impact assessment report to the New South Wales government which recommended that the older people in Millers Point who had longstanding ties to the community be allowed to live—and I quote—‘live out their lives’ in Millers Point.

“This comes, again, on top of a decision by the New South Wales government to end the peppercorn rent being charged to Darling House, an aged care home, so that Darling House is likely to close in March next year. Every level of government is responsible for helping to provide affordable housing for our most vulnerable Australians: local government, state government and federal government. At the moment we see a state government attack by the New South Wales Liberals on affordable housing and public housing and we also see the federal government cut $44 million from homelessness—all of the new building money. There is no certainty for the program money beyond June 2015. They have killed the National Rental Affordability Scheme—another 10,000 affordable dwellings would have been built under that; they have abolished the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness; and they have abolished the COAG Select Council on Housing and Homelessness, and it concerns me that we now have a state government and a federal government both ripping funding out of housing affordability measures—tearing money out of public housing—and, in the case of Millers Point, selling the homes of people who have, in some cases, been there for generations.”

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