Hundreds of people from Sydney’s Indigenous community have picketed since May to prevent the redevelopment of ‘The Block’ – a historic Aboriginal neighbourhood in inner Sydney. Developers are looking to build a massive commercial district in the area.
By David Elliott, Socialist Party
The Block in Redfern was originally the site of protests against attempts by landlords to evict Aboriginal residents. Properties in the area were bought up by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) to provide low cost housing for Aboriginal people.
In the last two decades however the AHC began evicting residents and selling off properties. The neighbourhood has been left mostly empty and partly demolished to make way for a commercial redevelopment called the Pemulwuy Project.
The AHC has been able to get away with this because the land is effectively privately owned. Only social, collective ownership by the community can prevent housing that is built for low-income people from later being demolished or run-down and sold off to greedy developers.
Side by side with fighting to save this historic area the community needs to fight for proper investment into high quality public housing that is democratically controlled by those who will be using it.