|Stanley St Squats East Sydney c 1993|
A succession of failed Government policies ostensibly to address homelessness and culminating with the current failure "The Road Home": Government programs are widely viewed with derision as opportunistic Government / NGO constructs to monetise the marginalised.
Squatting has long been a norm in Sydney with all fringe city areas having hosted squatters at some time. While recent predominant squatting activity has been in the Broadway Redfern and Surry Hills areas, in the recent past there were numerous squats in Woolloomooloo Darlinghurst Surry Hills Millers Point and Pyrmont as well. The now 5 star Blue Hotel was until the mid nineties "The Finger Wharf squat" with many groups autonomously inhabiting various areas. The Stanley Street squats of the 90s were squatted for about eight years with the full knowledge of the consolidator engaged in buying the block for redevelopment, one Kerry Packer. Squats in other Sydney areas last for varying periods of time, from a few days to years. Both commercials and residentials are fair game to occupy.
When English law was exported here they brought all the parts which benefited the ruling classes and their gentry friends and left the parts which benefited the people in England. Squatting laws are among those which the ruling class left behind as obstructive to their aims and unnecessarily enabling the people.
Residential Squatters in Sydney and NSW have few legal protections. We mostly find buildings open. By securing buildings we find open we stop vandals damaging them or children innocent hurting themselves when playing in them. As well as providing shelter for those who need it. So you might say we provide a public service...