In the middle of 2021 we noted that the significant housing proposal for inner city public land at 600-660 Elizabeth St Redfern had largely flown under the radar. Not anymore. On April 2, Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler joined other community, political and public housing advocates in addressing concerned residents calling for the retention of public housing on the site; challenging the Government’s intent to sell the land to private developers in exchange for just 30% social/affordable housing in a much larger, 300-dwelling site.
“A good government can get things wrong… but admits it, turns around and makes it right” said John to the rally.
The land in question is owned by the NSW Government over a full street block bounded by Elizabeth, Kettle, Walker and Phillip Streets and is currently partly occupied by the South Sydney Police Citizens Youth Club. There is currently no residential housing on the site though there were more than 18 social housing dwellings on the site before demolition in 2013.
With over 1,000 household applications for social housing in the city and the delivery of additional social housing on sites like Waterloo South years away, this is too good an opportunity to be wasted. People living in the inner parts of Sydney note the increasing gentrification of the area and rising house prices that are driving a once thriving but lower-income community out of the city. Keeping this land in public hands in order to maximise housing for people needing public housing and for key workers is essential to the social sustainability of the city.
The rally and the cause was reported across a large number of outlets including the Daily Telegraph/Inner West Courier (paywalled), Honi Soit , City Hub and South Sydney Herald.