Sydney’s tent city to be cleared


tentcitySYDNEY’S homeless tent city is set to be swept away, possibly as early as Tuesday morning, after the city’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore brokered a deal with its residents through the so-called “Mayor of Martin Place” Lanz Priestly.

But there’s a high price to pay with council and the State Government sent to stump up $200,000 to create a homeless “safe space” in turn for removing the camp.

The Lord Mayor said council trucks could begin removing the homeless camp on Tuesday. But Mr Priestly has cast doubt on the deal after it emerged any temporary or permanent safe space may not include sleeping accommodation. He said such an outcome would be “absurd”.

On Monday evening, Mayor Moore said Mr Priestly has agreed to dismantle the tents following the setting up of a temporary and then permanent homeless space.

“The camp will be packed up as soon as our council trucks can help them with that.

“They realised pressure was mounting and the crisis was developing,” she said.

The agreement comes after the ever fractious relationship between the city council and NSW Government deteriorated even further due to the camp. There was even mutterings of sacking the council.

While Family and Community Services had offered accommodation to those at the camp, Mr Priestly said some offers were either in unsafe residences or not suitable. In one situation, he said, a person in a wheelchair had be given accommodation several stories up in a building with no lift.

After hearing of the deal, City of Sydney Labor councillor Linda Scott said: “While I welcome Clover Moore supporting $100,000 for a safe space for those sleeping rough in Martin Place, it’s disappointing it took the threat of putting the City into administration to see it happen.”

The more than 40 tents, which have been dismantled by the authorities once already, stretch across the pedestrianised plaza outside the Reserve Bank headquarters in Sydney’s CBD and have become the centre of a slanging match between the NSW Government and City of Sydney.