Monday, April 21, 2014

Liberals Dispose Of the Poor

Barangaroo the racist eviction of Millers Point Australians for wealthy Chinese

Wealthy chinese are so enraptured by the beauty and open space of Sydney Harbour that they are buying up harbourside property like no-one else.  Nearly a half of harbourside Mosman house sales over $3 million have gone to the chinese.  Steadily the chinese are moving in along Sydney Harbour.  Hong Kong Harbour here we come!
Not only are chinese encouraged to snap up the best Australia property particularly in urban Australia, Australian real estate agents like Andrew Taylor of online real estate website in Shanghai, heavily promotes Australian property directly to Chinese investors and to wannabe migrants.
Taylor says chinese demand for urban residential particularly in Sydney is soaring, up 370 per cent from 2012 to 2013, lured by Australian Labor and Liberal government policies encouraging foreign investment, selling Australia’s education and health systems and Australia’s waterfront lifestyle to wealthy foreigners like the chinese.
According to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, chinese bought up more than $5 billion in Australia property in 2013.
Chinese-owned global property developer Greenland Holdings, plans to increase its investment in Australian residential property by 50 per cent a year and is bidding for the second stage of the $6 billion Barangaroo urban regeneration project on Sydney Harbour.
He said Greenland was looking for commercial and residential business opportunities in all capital cities, but that Sydney and Melbourne would be the initial focus to tap into and encourage larger chinese populations in those cities.
Barangaroo Chinese Development
And it is this driving foreign demand for residential that is driving up Sydney property prices beyond the reach of Sydney families.  Local first home buyers have been price-forced out of the Sydney residential market by wealthy foreigners.   Sydneysider families have been split up as offspring are forced to leave Sydney and Melbourne for distant affordable housing out in the regions, only to cop daily 4-hour motorway commutes.
The betrayal gets worse.  In New South Wales under Labor and perpetuated under the Libs, foreign buyers of newly constructed homes in New South Wales have been receiving the first home owners grant of $5,000.
Foreigners are getting a financial leg up by our own elected politicians!
Under the Liberal Party’s New Home Owner Scheme introduced in the 2012 state budget, buyers can own multiple homes in their country of origin and still apply for the grant for the purchase of Australian properties.   They don’t have to live in it. All they have to do is apply through the foreign investment review board to buy.
As we all know, Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, is pro-foreigner and rarely questions.
New Premier Mike Baird has confessed, that if an overseas buyer were to buy 20 off-the-plan apartments, they could apply for 20 $5000 grants, well aware that this policy is shutting out Australian first-time buyers.
Local real estate sharks are not shy at cashing in, like Ray White Real Estate, LJ Hooker, and McGrath’s, each of which has set up Chinese offices and specific trade shows to flog off Aussie homes to the chinese in China.
And it is not just the chinese investors.  Most immigrants to Australia are now chinese,  thanks mainly to Rudd/Gillard immigration inducement to chinese as part of their “Asian Century”.  In 2013, over 27,000 chinese immigrated to Australia, equating to adding a town a year the population of Gladstone, Bega, Warrnambool, Devonport or Geraldton.  But they all settle in inner Sydney and inner Melbourne.
For casino billionaire, James Packer, he’s tapping into the uber-rich chinese ‘whale-size’ appetite for gambling in Macau and Melbourne.  With his Barangaroo resort casino under construction, Packer is set to dominate the chinese casino market in Sydney.  Some say, good luck to him, but behind the scenes what political deals are costing ordinary Australians?
The New South Wales O’Farrell Liberal Government has been happy to comply with whatever Packer wants, as it eyes on promised gambling tax revenue of $114 million a year.   No tender required when it comes to Liberal deals.   Since when has public tender process or consultation been forthright when multinationals lobby Liberal governments?
Barangaroo Casino
Think of all the 1300 jobs at Barangaroo Casino!  But all Mandarin speaking on 457 visas.  The incoming chinese army of workers will need somewhere to live close by in Sydney too!
That’s where Barangaroo’s adjoining heritage suburb, Millers Point, comes in.   Nineteenth century colonial heritage Millers Point comprises hundreds of small working class cottages and terraces nestled up on a high point overlooking Sydney Harbour, dating to Sydney’s early settlement days.
The houses, the street and the whole precinct of Millers Point is heritage listed, including its resident public housing community.  Millers Point and its inseparable community are legally protected by Australia’s National Trust under the NSW Heritage Act precisely because it was ‘the first real public housing in Australia’.  Its long-term residents are in the main, public housing tenants with little or no income and they hold protected 99-year leases.
Millers Point Merriman StreetMany resident have ancestral connections to the place when Sydney Harbour was a working harbour and many worked in harbourside industry.   Their landlord used to be the Maritime Services Board, which let the old dwellings to folk working in the harbourside industries after the 1901 plague.  Then since the 1980s, the Housing Commission took over as the government landlord of Millers Point.
Steadily, Sydney’s traditional working harbour has been gentrified by Labor and Liberal state governments and by local councils encouraging revenue raising highrise residential development.  Millers Point residents have been denied a local supermarket, public education, a public hospital, and most of the usual affordable services of Sydney suburbs.
Millers Point has effectively been under siege by property developers since the Labor Government closed down East Darling Harbour Wharf to the maritime industry.
Millers PointProblem is that Merriman Street in Millers Point overlooks the massive 22 hectare Barangaroo casino site below from the old clifftop under “The Pill”.  And this Packer’s marketing problem for his multi-billion dollar vision for his Barangaroo casino resort.   The vision of poor public housing tenants looking down on his uber-wealthy chinese gamblers will not be a good look.   The O’Farrell Liberals have been lobbied to convert Millers Point into a white-collar enclave conducive to high roller chinese Barangaroo.  The Domain is also for suitable “remodelling”.
O’Farrell’s Finance Minister, Greg Pearce, since sacked for corruption, revealed his Liberal prejudice toward Millers Point’s tenants: “the government needs to consider it in the context of all of the surrounding areas, including the Barangaroo redevelopment area.”  Public housing tenants give off a bad odour. The poor are always with us, but preferably far removed.
Then last August 2013, Liberal Community Services Minister Pru Goward, announced she would be cancelling all the 99 year leases of Millers Point public housing tenants, with a two year forced eviction to make way for wealthy chinese.  Goward did not consult the heritage office, the tenants, the National Trust; but which lobbyists?
Millers Point residents don’t want to leave their home and community of decades and so they are protesting their rights against being evicted.
Save Millers Point
Pru Goward’s discriminatory decree is reminiscent of what the Robert Askin Liberal Government tried to do to The Rocks during the 1970s – highrise it.   In March 2014, Goward announced that all buildings would be sold off and as many as 400 tenants forcibly evicted over the next two years, including the descendants of the original Millers Point maritime workers.
The plan is to evict by stealth so as not attract media attention – heavy knocks at the door late a night
Goward says the poor can be dispersed elsewhere, far away and out of sight.  According to Pru Goward they are “not good enough” to be overlooking billionaire chinese tourists-come-investors.
In 2011, the previous Keneally Labor Government had similar designs in Millers Point.  It had forcibly evicted 130 public housing tenants in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Glebe, demolishing their fifteen apartments in Cowper Street.  The government blackmail was that the tenants would only be rehoused once Labor had evicted all Millers Point public housing tenants and banked the proceeds of sales of the Millers Point terraces (probably received from the wealthy chinese).
Under the Liberals, Goward’s media propaganda is slick.  She accuses the tenants of hogging dwellings better fit for large families.  Goward accuses Millers Pointers of putting their occupation of what she calls “million dollar heritage homes in Millers Point” ahead of apparently 57,000 families on the public housing waiting list.   Millers Point dwellings are old and tiny, have no backyards or front yard and unfit for big families.
Goward’s quoted 57,000 families have been inherited by dud working class Labor in NSW ingnored over the previous 16 years under state premiers Carr,  Iemma, Rees, and Keneally.
But for Goward and the Liberal lobbying predatory real estate agents, the tenants exist at best; they don’t inhabit. Compared with cash up chinese, poor traditional Australians are ‘terra nullius’.
Millers Point EvictionsGoward considers all public housing tenants to be transitory and moveable. “We are determined to move public housing away from being an entitlement, a final destination for most tenants, to a transition point to a better life for those with the genuine capacity to move on.” Ms Goward said.  There is no place for the poor to live in the city, just the rich and Sydney has become an international city.’
“We’ll start by having a conversation. We’ll see how much resistance we get.”
Dear Prudence, you live in upmarket Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands!  Nice for some.
One would presume that decent chinese eyeing off Millers Point homes would somehow be sensitive to the spectre of forced evictions out of the horrific legacy at the hand of local governments and property developers in China.  Chinese evictees have been beaten, imprisoned, and killed at the hands of authorities.
China Evictions

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