On May 4 Eastwood Uniting Church welcomed over 350 people from faith, community and union organisations from across Sydney. They came together for an Assembly on housing affordability organised by the Sydney Alliance. People from different ages, backgrounds and occupation shared their personal struggles with housing costs and asked the new Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts to make a strong commit to creating more affordable housing. Catholic representatives came from Catholic Care Sydney, St Vincent de Paul NSW, Parramatta and Sydney Dioceses as well as many parishioners and members of religious orders from across the Greater Sydney Region.
The night was the culmination of years of work as part of a long-term campaign to increase and standardise inclusionary zoning across Sydney. ‘Inclusionary zoning’ is a planning mechanism through which a percentage of any new residential development is set aside for affordable rental housing – a category of housing between public or social housing and private rental. It is in place in some places in Sydney such as Green square, but it is not standard or mandatory across our city.
A new statutory body, the Greater Sydney Commission, is working on affordable housing as part of their wide-sweeping plans for the Greater Sydney Region, but their targets are too low at 5-10%. So we came together as Sydnesiders to share our concerns and tell each other and the Minister our stories of personal struggles with the cost of housing and our fears for our children and grandchildren. Though he would not commit to raising the targets to our ask of 15% on private land and 30% on public land (sector-wide best practice) he did surprise us with a promise to come back to meet with us and bring along the Greater Sydney Commission!
So now we have to match that commitment and turn out our communities in double the numbers to show the decision-makers we want real action on housing affordability for our poor and vulnerable brothers and sister and for our struggling families. We want there to be a string Catholic presence – a presence that brings the love and justice of Jesus! Our Archbishop Anthony Fisher will be there leading the way so get get a group together, come with your family – kids welcome! or come on your own and gather with other Catholics to support the leadership of our Archbishop and to show our government representatives that we are for a just, fair and equitable Sydney that has a place for all!
Find all the details here.
We look forward to seeing you then!