– So they are forced out of the place that created their situation in the first place, well……
A homeless camp in the financial heart of Sydney’s CBD has been kicked out by authorities who described them as a “public nuisance”.
Bedding, clothing and blankets were all that remained in the northeastern Martin Place camp after police and City of Sydney council workers this morning moved in to evict dozens of people who have been living there for months. But it wasn’t long until the items were also removed.
Tensions arose as a City of Sydney representative walked through the thoroughfare and handed out letters to the homeless that described the camp as a “public nuisance”.
“The accumulation of items in Martin Place, including a barbecue, gas bottles, tents, food and other items has been determined to be a public nuisance as it materially affects the reasonable comfort and convenience of other users of Martin Place,” the letter from city operations director David Riordanto read.
Council workers spent the morning dismantling the camp — towards the Macquarie St end of Martin Place — by clearing out and boarding up the makeshift camp area.
In a stroke of irony, the homeless were moved on from underneath banners that advertised a charity sleep-out and read: ‘Homelessness Doesn’t Have a Postcode’
The camp had been set up like a 24-hour kitchen with Sydney’s 24/7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space preparing and distributing food, clothing, blankets and sleeping mats to people living homeless since 2011. The organisation also worked to maintain a safe area to sleep for the night.
Volunteer Lanz Priestley said the eviction wouldn’t stop the camp from setting up elsewhere.
“You know this problem is actually the responsibility of the collective governments including council, state and federal,” Mr Priestley said.
“People have the basic human right to feel safe.
“I think the support services (in Sydney) aren’t even in the library when it comes to rough-sleeper safety.”
Some protesters chanted: “Shame Sydney Council” as the homeless were moved out. The slogan was also written in chalk on a wall in the eviction zone.
A statement from the City of Sydney said the homeless camp was set up under the hoardings around a Lendlease Building site.
“The 60 Martin Place hoarding is not a safe or sustainable housing option for people sleeping rough. Alternative accommodation has been offered to all people in the area. Some people have accepted the offer, while others have declined assistance,” it read.
“The city has repeatedly advised that the barbecue and cooking facilities, and obstruction of a public thoroughfare with large and unauthorised items, presents a significant fire and safety risk.”
While Family and Community Services staff set up tents and offered assistance to those needing to find accommodation, the government was heavily criticised by onlookers for
But Advocate Paul Burton, who livestreamed the fallout of the eviction, accused the government of not providing sufficient services for homeless people.
“What kind of services are being provided?” Mr Burton said.
“They don’t look like very good services to me.
“This is your New Australia everybody. There’s a lot of people around watching television in fairyland thinking everything is terrific but I can assure you there’s some major things shifting and changing in this country at an alarming rate. And I would closely be watching Family and Community Services.”