Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Affordable Housing keeps Sydney competitive but at what cost?

City of Sydney Councillor Shayne Mallard has spoken out in support of the proposal to create up to 700 new dwellings as part of the City's affordable housing commitment but has questioned the secrecy in the planning and raised concerns about the high concentrations of affordable housing in the inner west.

" Today's announcement will help provide much needed housing for lower wage earners in the inner city and help keep Sydney competitive with the diverse labour force needed to be globally competitive", Shayne said.

"The addition of another large development of affordable housing in Glebe adds to the high concentrations of existing affordable housing and large estates of public housing in the area where police and other government agencies struggle to maintain order and deliver effective services."

"Concentrating more affordable and social housing in the inner west will only increase community concerns about creating ghettos of social and economic disadvantage."

"Council is currently asking the Department of Housing to provide private security guards to patrol the housing estates in Glebe. How does that sit with this announcement?"

"Why not consider breaking up the concentrations with opportunities in the Greensquare, Broadway brewery site and newer developing areas? This could involve innovative development solutions such as land swaps and rezoning bonuses for affordable housing provision in new developments?"

Shayne is also opposed to Council being the affordable housing landlord.
"Council must not take on the huge responsibility of becoming the affordable housing landlord. Most councils have failed to deliver equity and transparency in this area in the past with issues of nepotism and favours for mates under previous cheap rent deals."

Councillor Mallard also questioned the financial secrecy and lack of accountability surrounding today's announcement.
"Increasingly the City of Sydney has reverted to the dark management arts of Frank Sartor's day."

"Councillors were in a full day of briefings yesterday including a budget session and yet nothing was mentioned about this announcement and Councillors were not consulted."

"Keeping secret from elected Councillors a $260 M project including the provision of $30 M worth of ratepayer's land is not a good demonstration of open and accountable government,"

"Informing elected Councillors by media release smacks of election spin ahead of meaningful engagement with an elected representative body." Shayne concluded.

Council's announcement today here:

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