Tensions Rise in Tent City

Tensions Rise in Tent City

by Kamin Gock

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced today that the NSW Government will intervene in the dismantling of the homeless ‘tent-city’ located in Martin Place in Sydney, due to the broken promise made by the Lord Mayor.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore struck a deal yesterday with the occupants living in the camp, assuring them they would be moved to a 24-hour safe-area once established.

She also pledged the tent-city would be dismantled overnight.

However, this morning the ‘tent-city’ was still fully-intact in the CBD.

“I said we would give council till last night. It’s not happened, so we will be taking action today,” the NSW premier said.

The Premier has announced she will introduce legislation today to give the State Government the power to remove the people from the ‘tent-city’, due to safety concerns.

Despite this, Mrs. Moore claimed the City of Sydney Council does not have the power to remove the homeless people currently living in the ‘tent-city’ in Martin Place.

“We don’t have the power to move people, we have the power to move structures and make places safe. But we don’t have the power to move people on,” she said.

Mrs Moore only signed the agreement with the homeless residents yesterday and announced council trucks would begin dismantling the tent city as soon as the “council trucks can go down and help them.”

 

Homeless Camp’s Doubts


However, tension and speculation around the negotiations continued to rise as the self proclaimed ‘Mayor of Martin Place’ Lanz Priestly, who struck the deal with the Lord Mayor on Monday, is concerned about the living arrangements of the agreement, when it was revealed the ‘safe-area’ would not include sleeping accommodation.

Lanz Priestly - Taken by Bill Hearne from The Australian

Lanz Priestly – Taken by Bill Hearne from The Australian

 

A stipulation Mr Priestly considers “absurd”, telling the ABC the details for permanent housing are still yet to be finalised.

Although a deal has been struck between the homeless people living in the tent city and the Sydney City Council, much of the details have not been finalised or made clear, which has led to the occupants to be very hesitant in moving their current living circumstances.

“Council hasn’t provided us with a building location yet, if they could show us a building, then we can talk about transitioning people to it, and ensuring it’s as sustainable a solution as possible.”

“We’re in no position to effect a smooth transition until we know where we’re moving,” Mr Priestly said.

The city council has confirmed it will provide $100,000 to help relocate the 70 homeless people living in tents and establish a permanent safe-place, while Mrs Moore said she hoped the state government would match those funds and inject another $100,000 for the new project.

The announcement came after much debate and blame-shifting between the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney Council, after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the homeless people living in the CBD tent city made her feel “completely uncomfortable”.

 

‘Tent City’ Bigger Than Politics Bickering

 

Homelessness NSW chief Katherine McKernan, has urged the stalemate between the two levels of government to come to an end and find along-term solution to homelessness within Sydney.

She claims the tent city was a result of deep social issues within the state.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of people sleeping rough in the city because there’s a real lack of affordable housing in Sydney and across NSW,” she said.

 

Despite an agreement having been made, Premier Berejiklian has openly placed blame on the Lord Mayor saying today, she should have been the one “to make it happen.”

“She could have made it happen last week. She could have made it happen last night [Monday],” she said.

Contradictory to what the Mrs. Moore has said, the Premier claimed the NSW government did not have the power to remove the homeless people, stating “I don’t have the powers she’s got.” 

Gladys Berejiklian - Taken by Paul Miller from Australian Associated Press

Gladys Berejiklian – Taken by Paul Miller from Australian Associated Press

That is all soon to change, should the Premier’s new legislation pass through parliament.

The Premier ensured the new legislation would not impede on the people’s’ right to protest.

 

With at least 40 tents still in place this morning, there are fears the situation could get dangerous and out of hand as the State Government and Sydney Council continue to clash heads over the issue.

This has all occurred less than 24-hours after the City Council had made an agreement with the residents of the ‘tent-city’.

 

 

About author

earche04
earche04 26 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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