Sydney – news and analysis

WESTS Community Engagement Day

WESTS Tenant Advocates
On Friday 21 May 2021, WESTS held a community engagement event at the Skye Hotel in Parramatta to reconnect with key partners of our organisation. The event was a great success. There were over 60 attendees at the community engagement day who were able to finally reconnect with WESTS after a long-period of physical isolation dating back to the COVID-19 lockdown in March last year.
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Public housing maintenance: a 'real fix' needed

Yesterday the Tenants' Union NSW's CEO Leo Patterson Ross and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Jemima Mowbray attended a public hearing of the Follow Up Review of the Management of Public Housing Maintenance Contracts. We were able to speak to the submission made by the Tenants' Union and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Here we publish our opening statement to the Inquiry in full.
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40 organisations publish open letter calling for stronger protections during COVID transition

Text reads Regional NSW in rental crisis - Extend the eviction moratorium
40 community organisations sign on today to Open Letter calling for stronger protections and additional financial support for COVID impacted renters through transition 
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Renting during COVID-19? Take the survey

Graphic image, housingscape in relief with COVID19 stylised virus image in blue background.

City Futures Research Centre at UNSW wants to hear about what is has been like renting during the COVID-19 emergency? Have you tried to negotiate a reduced rent? Take the survey and go in the draw for a $500 voucher.

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Report on the situation for NSW renters during COVID-19 demonstrates struggle ongoing, potentially getting worse

Picture: Report cover - Family in masks in house, covid virus graphic surrounds house
Tenants' Union of NSW Report released today demonstrates the struggle many NSW renters continue to face as a result of COVID-19. The report 'Supporting Renters During the Pandemic' provides evidence of the continued need for support for renting households across NSW during the pandemic and demonstrates the need for an extension and strengthening of moratorium protections.
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No grounds for limiting reform under COVID-19

Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
Jemima Mowbray looks at the problems renters have faced during COVID‑19, and shows that they are not new or necessarily distinct from the ongoing issues renting households were already facing. The COVID‑19 health crisis has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities and problems experienced by renters – most acutely, the problems of housing insecurity and the lack of affordable rental housing.
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Balancing tenure security and mobility for productivity

Google earth image of Sydney including public housing, private housing and commercial buildings
Yesterday we submitted our thoughts in response to the NSW Productivity Commission discussion paper "Kickstarting the productivity conversation". We recommended a shift to land tax, for a more reliable property tax system that encourages better land use, and exploration of a different way to encourage meaningful supply with positive outcomes.
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Reflections of a Blue Mountains Tenant Advocate

Jo Hibbert
Jo Hibbert has been a Tenant Advocate at the Blue Mountains Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for seven years. Now she’s retiring for a well-earned break, so we took the opportunity to ask her for some reflections about her time in the world of tenancy. She talks about some of her experiences at the Tribunal, and the way the workload for Advocates has increased, but the funding hasn't. She also tells the story of a tenant who she defended from eviction six times!
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Millers Point: through the looking glass

Jane Bennett Lower Fort Street
Robert Mowbray reflects on the forced relocation of public housing tenants from Millers Point. He collects a selection of posts that report and discuss on the events and issues.
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Meet Rita – Tenants' Advice Service Coordinator

Rita Wilkinson
Rita Wilkinson is the Tenancy and Financial Inclusion Manager at Metro Assist, and the Coordinator of the Southern Sydney Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service. This interview was originally published by Metro Assist as part of their spotlight on dedicated, long-serving staff, who have been with the service for between 10 and 20 years. We'd also like to extend our congratulations and thank Rita for all the great work she does!
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