Waterloo redevelopment: New RLC service to support tenants
With the help of funding from the City of Sydney, Redfern Legal Centre has established an outreach service in the Waterloo community to provide legal advice to tenants about the proposed redevelopment of the Waterloo Public Housing Estate.
In 2015, the NSW Government announced its plans to significantly redevelop Waterloo. The proposal is to first build a new ‘Metro Quarter’ on the vacant site on Botany Rd, and eventually to redevelop the whole Waterloo public housing Estate. The preferred plan for the Metro Quarter is expected to go on public display soon, but there is real uncertainty about how and when the redevelopment of the Estate will happen.
While the NSW Government has said that all tenants will have a right to return to live in Waterloo after the redevelopment, this may be little comfort to residents who are elderly, who speak limited English, or who rely on their neighbours and their community for social connections and support.
"Many Waterloo residents will find being moved from their homes difficult and traumatic," RLC Tenant Advocate Ned Cooke said.
"Given the experience of public housing tenants in communities like Millers Point, there is rightly cause for concern among Waterloo tenants about what will happen to their homes and their community when construction begins."
The redevelopment of Waterloo is an opportunity to address the desperate shortage of affordable and social housing in NSW. But without a solid commitment from the NSW Government to significantly increase the number of properties in Waterloo set aside for public housing, Aboriginal tenants, people with disabilities and people on low incomes, it could easily become a missed opportunity.
Along with the outreach tenancy service, Redfern Legal Centre will be providing community education sessions and materials to answer Waterloo residents’ questions about the relocation process and related tenancy issues.
RLC is also a member of Groundswell, a coalition of Redfern and Waterloo NGOs. A large part of Groundswell’s focus has been to give the Waterloo community a clear and informed voice that is able to cut through in the planning process, and real opportunities for Waterloo residents to raise their concerns and thoughts on the future of Waterloo.