While native Australians who are homeless are forced to sleep on park benches and in the streets.
The Daily Telegraph (h/t Aussie News) Khalil Alnajjar, 33, arrived in Sydney from Gaza on a refugee visa. Together with his pregnant wife, and baby son, he is living in a one bedroom flat – and was told he would have to wait three years to move.
This is despite Housing NSW having more than 35,000 spare rooms in public housing properties across the state, and an order from the state government to move families into larger properties.
Community services minister Pru Goward said the Alnajjar’s situation was “unacceptable.” Ms Goward announced earlier this year that public housing tenants with two or more extra rooms would be charged a “bedroom tax” if they refuse to move into smaller properties.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable that we can have families living in temporary accommodation – sometimes living out of their car – while there are empty bedrooms in large houses across the state,” Ms Goward said.
“That’s why we are offering tenants with vacant bedrooms a clear choice, starting this month – either we’ll find you a more suitable property, or you’ll be charged a fee for the empty rooms.”
Mr Alnajjar said he did not care what suburb he lived in, and made this clear to his local Housing NSW office. ”I will move anywhere. I just want to look after my family. We are not happy, I don’t sleep anymore,” he said. (Of course he doesn’t care where he lives. Australian taxpayers are paying for it)
Campbelltown has the highest number of vacant rooms in public housing in NSW- 1477 properties with 3052 extra rooms. Mount Druitt has 1328 properties with 2817 spare rooms and Liverpool has 901 properties with 1928 extra rooms.
Ms Goward said she expected Housing NSW to start freeing up bigger properties for “vulnerable” families like the Alnajjars from this month onwards. (Vulnerable? To what? Having to find a job?)
“Single tenants and couples who are living in large properties should move to a more suitably sized home when one is available. This is only fair and reasonable, both to vulnerable families on the waiting list as well as NSW taxpayers that heavily subsidise public housing,” she said.
But Labor opposition spokeswoman for housing Sophie Cotsis said Ms Goward was failing the Alnajjars, as well as the 120,000 people on the public housing waiting list.
“In some areas, people will have to wait more than 10 years just to get a roof over their heads in public housing,” Ms Cotsis said.