Page 1518 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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community meetings when she has been very considerate in her comments and in her support for public housing and tenants across the city. Prior to that, I refer to Ms Lawder as well. The main concern through the renewal program was to ensure that public housing tenants were properly supported when they were moving out of their older homes into new suburbs and new communities. I acknowledge both of them in that regard. Perhaps women who are elected to this place bring a different perspective on how we deal with these very difficult and complex issues. I also did want to read out—

Members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson and Mr Parton, please be quiet.

MS BERRY: I want to read part of an editorial written by a public housing tenant who is moving out of the Northbourne flats. He said:

Since the Northbourne redevelopments were announced, our homes have been called eyesores, ghettos and drug-infested crime dens that should have been knocked down years ago; the people within called scumbags, drug addicts, dole bludgers, criminals and paedophiles among the many insults. Now we’re told we're not wanted anywhere simply because of where we come from and based on the above assumptions.

We can’t win either way. If they don’t knock the flats down, we will continue to live in the 1950s-built development that everyone complains is a ghetto. If it’s replaced with new housing and we are rehoused here, everyone will complain we’re getting prime real estate in the city that we don’t deserve. If we’re moved … anywhere where people live, they will complain about having us near them.

It gets to the point where people have proposed new suburbs for us way out somewhere isolated, or placing us in industrial areas. What comes after that?

He went on to say:

Every article, and every comment on the subject, affects us directly because it’s about us. If we’re not grouped under one label of “badness”, we’re told it’s OK, not all of us are bad. I’m sure my neighbour aged in her 90s will be pleased to hear that.

You, your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister or anyone … close to you could hit hard times, too. They might need to resort to social welfare and/or public housing—it can happen to anyone. Tenants in public housing are people struggling in an affluent society that often looks down on them, just because of where they live. Bad people are everywhere; they’re definitely not confined to public housing.

I read that out because I feel absolutely that it is my role, as a member of this community and as a person who has always worked hard to strive for better equity within our community and social justice outcomes for everyone, to speak up for public housing tenants throughout this conversation, because if I do not, who will?

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