Thursday, September 8, 2016

Brutal ... how residents describe the actions of Housing NSW in Millers Point

You will recall that in March 2014 Housing NSW decided to remove all public housing tenants from the suburb of Millers Point. The Tenants' Union of NSW has written extensively about this situation and you may read our accounts  here  and  here.

Many former residents of Millers Point and those still remaining have been far from happy and their experiences have just been documented in a paper by Professor Alan Morris, Institute for Public Policy and Governance, University of Technology  Sydney. His paper is entitled ‘A contemporary forced urban removal: The displacement of public housing residents from Millers Point, Dawes Point and the Sirius Building by the New South Wales Government’.

What is so powerful about Professor Morris’s documentation is that he allows the residents to tell the story of their displacement in their own words. This paper concludes:

What is evident is that the actual and intended removal of public housing residents from Millers Point unleashed a great deal of hardship and distress. ... In sum, the way the New South Wales government has gone about the move was viewed by most interviewees as brutal. ... The announcement that all residents were to be moved was catastrophic for some residents and precipitated extreme anxiety and depression.

You may read Professor Morris' s full report which has been published by Shelter NSW here.

The above stories contrast with what appears on the website of NSW Family and Community Services. Here you will find the stories of four former residents who appear happy with being forced to relocate.  You will find these stories here.

Following Professor Morris's documentation of the experience of residents, he wrote a thought provoking article entitled 'Why moving out public housing tenants is a tragedy for Millers Point and for Sydney' for The Conversation and in this article asks some very important questions. Check it out here.

The Tenants’ Union of NSW again has argued that the actions of the NSW Government in Millers Point are a form of systemic elder abuse. You can read its submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's 'Elder Abuse Inquiry' here.

However, it is not too late for the NSW Government to review the situation and allow the remaining residents to stay, especially the older folk who should be able to age-in-place. We've said this before and we say it again. Over to you, NSW Government!

This posting was updated on Monday, 12 September 2016. It now includes references to Professor Alan Morris's article entitled 'Why moving out public housing tenants is a tragedy for Millers Point and for Sydney' published in The Conversation on 12 September 2016 and the Tenants' Union of NSW's submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Elder Abuse Inquiry, also published on 12 September 2016.


  1. What all Department of Housing NSW tenants have to realise is that you are not a human being - you are a number.

    1. They sure are spending a lot of money on glossy information sheets etc - you can find them if you look hard enough. I love the NEW? Behavioural insights section - words are cheap. I'd like to think not all housing workers are bad though, but good one's are so hard to come across - or maybe the good one's just don't last? It's an interesting future for public housing tenants.


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