Thursday, May 14, 2015

Anti-social housing?

Keen observers of the NSW Parliament will have seen an exchange between the Minister for Social Housing, the hon. Brad Hazzard, and the Member for Parramatta, Dr Geoff Lee, on Tuesday.

Dr Lee asked Minister Hazzard: "how is the Government cracking down on antisocial behaviour in public housing?"

The Minister's reply? "Three strikes and you will be out of public housing. It is that simple".

Now, we assume the Minister is referring to the Premier's pre-election announcement about a public housing crime 'crackdown', which we have spoken about previously.

We understand the crackdown will include many new initiatives, with the three strike rule part of a range of prospective reforms. Another of these reforms is the 'one strike rule', which will see the Tribunal robbed of its ability to do its job in some cases.

MPs discussing these reforms in Parliament is an ominous sign. We'll be keeping a close watch to see where the discussion goes from here.

In the meantime, here's a briefing paper outlining the Tenants' Union's concerns about one strike evictions and other measures relating to crime and antisocial behaviour in public housing. Please have a read, and share it around.


  1. I definitely think there is a need for measures to be taken to stop anti social behaviours. As a tenant, my daughter and I, have endured more than any person should due to the violent behaviours of neighbours on drugs (ice) and with mental health issues. My health has deteriorated due to sleeplessness (due to around the clock noise), constant fear and continual stress due to the behaviours of residents. They were taken to Tribunal repeatedly for various breaches and violent acts but were not given an eviction notice by the board. Their (the offending tenant and her many unauthorised tenants) behaviours became more severe after attendance in the Tribunal. These antisocial tenants damaged property and the cost to the Housing Dept and the community is not fair. There is a long term drug dealer on the premises (known to Housing NSW) who has ruined a lot of young lives selling ice. I believe there has to be consequences for illegal acts and violent and threatening antisocial behaviours and the majority of tenants who do the right thing have the right to peace and a safe quality of life. The proof of antisocial behaviours had to be provided by the victim up until now which is difficult when living alone and feeling intimidated and being threatened. Having a lesser income does not mean that we should be accepting of abusive, aggressive, threatening and violent behaviours from neighbours. Police should not have to waste their time coming back to the same disruptive addresses. There are rights and responsibilities to be adhered to and if people choose to breach their lease agreements by breaking the law and causing excessive noise, violence or acting in an antisocial manner they do not deserve the privilege of a Housing NSW/Community home. A line must be drawn.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

      There are certainly some complexities here, but we're not sure the kind of response we're hearing from FACS and Gov't at the moment strikes the right balance.


  2. WA laws should highlight how these laws are discriminatory. Qld experience suggests that people living with a mental illness will be the targets & lose their home for the very reason they were eligible in the first place. Fight the good fight on these unjust proposals.

  3. Given that public housing is often the last resort for many ppl making anti social ppl homeless doesnt help either them or the community. The pragmatist in me finds the idea of what is called scum housing has some merit. The housing tends to be made from containers which are sturdy, warm and harder to trash then the average wood or brick house is. I realise that it would be putting many problems in one place but that is also a bonus as it easier for services to find and engage with the ppl who would live in them and you can only hope that ppl can find the help they need. They shouldnt be built on mass with lots of ppl dumped in one area but something that would house 6-10 ppl in one area, there are so many designs for micro/tiny homes that are already being put into practise around the world.


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