Student Housing Report – Supporting student and public housing

Miller’s Point is classic Sydney-town. Today, it’s primarily made up of public tenants in state housing. For decades, it’s been home to a vibrant community with families that can trace a rich history back to the working-class homes of dockworkers and seamen.

And it’s under threat. The Baird State Government is intent on selling off the community housing in the area and handing over the ‘prime waterfront property’ to private hands and developers. While the state government claims it will reinvest the proceeds into public housing, there is no clear plan for such projects.

In the 1970s, the community was saved from similar sell-offs by the Green Bans of Jack Mundey’s Builder’s Labour Federation (BLF), where labourers refused to work on the proposed projects. Now, however, there are mainly the fierce residents and local supporters.

Why does this matter to students? Because the same process that fuels these sell-offs fuels rising rent prices around uni and shifty landlords packing a dozen international students into a four-bedroom townhouse. The inner city is becoming gentrified. The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy is a similar campaign for public housing and against private development.

The University will be building student accommodation—to the tune of 4000 beds. The fear is that they will make ‘financial’ decisions in light of local rent rates rather than ethical decisions for students. The challenge is to make them do right by us.

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