WWN#29 – Sydney’s Tent City is coming to an end

What’s Been Happening?

In June, police and council workers dismantled a homeless camp in Martin Place, Sydney CBD which houses about 50 people in tents. The so-called “tent city” has been a subject of debate between the State Government and Sydney Council for months as both sides have accused the other of shunting responsibility over tent city (State vs. Local).

Since then, many residents have returned with some of them having been on the streets for a few months while for others it has been decades. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian claims that the homeless people have been offered accommodation and are simply refusing to help themselves. The residents have countered that the offered accommodation is “not safe, nor affordable, nor acceptable”. Some of them say that the accommodation is only offered on a temporary basis as well. So far negotiations between the City of Sydney and the homeless tent dwellers to vacate the Martin Place campsite have failed.

What Now?

A bill that was introduced by the government on Tuesday was passed in the upper house without amendments on Wednesday evening. The bill authorises police to remove people from crown land if the land minister deems there to be a public safety issue. The legislation only affects crown land within City of Sydney and does not extend to other councils. It effectively resolves the long-running stoush between the government and the city albeit by employment of force.

Following the change in legislation, the residents of the controversial tent city in Martin Place prepared to leave the site today. The NSW Police are monitoring the exodus which has remained peaceful although some residents admitted that they are “traumatised by what’s going on, and had no idea of where they would go”.

What’s Next?

Although the bill is seen as progress towards a solution, it is certainly not the end solution with more steps to come. The lack of affordable housing in the city is the underlying issue here and forcing the tent city dwellers to leave Martin Place will only result in them relocating to another public place.

It is also likely that some residents will remain opposed to leaving a place that has been known to them as a safe haven for many months or years. Some residents will have to be forcibly evicted by police, a move which the Premier said she was reluctant to do.

Lanz Priestly, dubbed the “mayor of tent city”, has said that they are considering all options, including the lodgement of a last minute legal appeal to allow the residents to stay. Having consulted three different groups of lawyers, the law introduced to NSW Parliament was reviewed as weak and therefore they might decide to challenge the law.


Living A Week in Sydney – Part 2

Day 5

6:30am – I wake up and make some cup noodles for breakfast. It’s ‘Friyay’ so it feels like the sun is shining even though it’s been raining for most of this week, including today.

11:36am – A quiet morning so I make the most of it by eating my lunch earlier. Microwave meal consisting of Caribbean jerk steak with cauliflower and green beans. I know there’s bound to be some tasks that will pop up later as Friday is never a completely quiet day.

4:00pm – I’m right. A range of different enquiries and tasks came through in the late afternoon. I don’t really want to leave this for Monday so I stay back at work until 6pm to finish most of it.

7:13pm – I’m not satisfied with just chicken breast and roasted vegetables for dinner so I make a special trip to KFC to buy their 24 pack of nuggets for $10. It was definitely worth it. $10.00

8:16pm – I play some computer games with a couple of mates before calling it a night.

Daily Total: $10.00

Day 6

8:30am – It’s so nice to sleep in! I eat a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast which I made the night before and head straight to the the gym.

10:14am – I make a slight detour after gym to Bunnings to buy some drain cleaner for tree root removal. Every now and then our pipes become clogged with roots from the palm trees that we have on our property. Before it gets worse, I am hoping that the two packets of copper sulphate that I buy will prevent the plumber from visiting us. $13.98

1:00pm – I have lunch, read some articles on the internet and work on my blog. I do a bit of online shopping and I notice that there’s cheap offer by Kogan at the moment for prepaid mobile plans. I sign up for a yearly one. $209.93

7:00pm – My brother and I order takeaway at our local Italian restaurant (Enzos) and we wait almost an hour before the food comes. I don’t think I’ll be going back there again as I’ve given them enough chances with a similar experience each time. $30

9:00pm – I spend some time catching up on housework – ironing shirts, cleaning, washing dishes, folding clothes etc.

11:13pm – Spend some time in front of the computer to wind down by listening to some music and then I’m off to bed.

Daily Total: $253.91

Day 7

8:17am – Wake up and get ready to go to church. I eat a hastily made peanut butter sandwich before rushing out the door so that I’m not late for the morning service.

10:42am – Arrive at the gym with mixed feelings as I was feeling lazy but I knew that I should go exercise. I manage to have a solid workout.

11:51am – An early lunch and early shower means that I have more free time in the afternoon.

2:00pm – I spend another hour or two doing some research for my blog as well as writing up posts. On quiet weekends like this, I’m able to put more effort into maintaining my blog.

6:43pm -I have a “leftovers” dinner tonight as we try and clear out the fridge to make room for new food. I eat garlic bread, pizza, fish, leftover beef brisket and leftover stir fry vegetables.

7:39pm – Finish some more housework before relaxing for the rest of the night. Monday here I come!

Daily Total: $0.00


Weekly Total Spent $290.43
Food & Drink $40.00
Entertainment $209.93
Transport $40.50

WWN #9 – Slowly but surely? Sydney’s Second Airport

What’s been happening? Not much.

Badgerys Creek Airport has been a hot topic of discussion for politicians since the 1940s. So far though, no construction has actually happened.

The new airport is expected to be a catalyst for the long-awaited economic transformation of the Western Sydney region. It is advocated that the airport is an essential piece of infrastructure that will ease pressure on Sydney airport while leading to the creation of more local jobs. According to Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese, it will be more equitable for the two million people that call Western Sydney home. Currently , it can take longer for commuters to get to Sydney Airport than their actual flight to Brisbane or Melbourne and the taxi fare (~$150 AUD) can be more than the airfare (can be as low as ~$70 AUD).

In November 2014, residents in the area were given approximately six months’ notice to leave by the 15th of June 2015. By this date, most tenants had vacated their properties with their homes subsequently demolished. A small group of those tenants were able to extend the deadline by taking legal action in the Federal Circuit Court by arguing that the notices issued by the Commonwealth were “harsh and unconstitutional”.

The primary judge found that when residents entered into a tenancy agreement with the Commonwealth in the 1980s and renewed their leases in the following years, they were reasonably aware that the land was being acquired for the development of an airport. The judge also determined that while it may be difficult for the residents to find alternative accommodation, it was certainly not impossible. The Federal Circuit Court subsequently ruled in favour of the government and accordingly terminated the leases. An order was given that the tenants vacate their properties by December 2015.

What Now? It’s time to move on

“The remaining tenants of Badgerys Creek have lost their appeal against the federal government’s decision” – Sydney Morning Herald

The matter was taken by the residents to the full Federal Court which was officially dismissed this Thursday. They were also ordered to pay the government’s costs.

What’s Next? A Difficult Road Ahead For Everyone

Despite the loss, the residents could continue to pursue this case and take the matter before the High Court. They have been allowed to stay in their homes for at least the next 28 days while they consider their next course of action. If they fail to take action, they will be required to comply and vacate their properties.

As a result of the win, the Turnbull government has given Sydney Airport until May 8 to decide whether it will take up its rights to build and operate the new airport, which is scheduled to open in 2026. However, this is unlikely with Sydney Airport having previously described the project as a “deeply uneconomic investment proposition”. An options paper prepared by the state and federal government suggested that the price tag could be an expensive $25 billion (including servicing costs). This leaves the project fairly open to other land developers who might be interested.


Living A Week in Sydney – Part 1

The following post is inspired by the Money Diaries Series which are posts written by millennials on the Refinery website that track how they spend their dollar over a seven day period. This is my version of it, enjoy!

Industry: Finance / Stockbroking
Age: 25
Location: Sydney, Australia
Monthly Expenses  Amount
Transport* ($40.50 x 4 weeks) $162.00
Phone Bill $28.00
Gym $55.80
Family^ $120.00
Health Insurance** $35.20
Total $401.00

*$40.50 is made of: $9.00 for a return bus trip every day for the first four weekdays. Opal’s weekly travel reward kicks in on Friday so I pay for travel at half price on that day.
^ I live at home so I am lucky that I don’t have to pay rent but I voluntarily pay my parents every month
** It’s going to be more expensive soon as my health cover is increasing by 4.90% from April 2017 onwards which means an extra $1.73 every month!

Day 1

6:30am – My alarm sounds and I wake up but I actually take around 10 minutes to properly get out of bed. I eat two hot cross buns from the weekend for breakfast before rushing out of the house to catch the bus.

8:10am – I arrive at work and grab three free copies of the daily newspaper; a copy for myself, a colleague and for my boss. I tend to do this on most days as I’m normally at work earlier than others.

1:15pm – I eat the first of many microwave meals to come as I’m not really bothered when it comes to cooking. I already had these meals from the weekend when I did my grocery shopping. This time it’s beef stroganoff with green pasta.

5:00pm – I finish work on time for once and head home to eat some spaghetti bolognaise made by my brother. I wash the dishes since he did the cooking.

10:30pm – I realise it’s time to sleep but I spend another hour anyway on the computer browsing on YouTube. I go to sleep about 12am.

Daily Total: $0.00

Day 2

6:40am – I wake up slightly later today and had to catch a later bus. I eat the last hot cross bun from the six pack that I had bought over the weekend and immediately regret not buying more. They’re too delicious!

2:00pm – It’s been a busy morning so time flew by and I eat a late lunch. This time it’s chicken pad thai with bok choy. Another microwave meal but not one that I would buy again as it’s nothing like the pad thai that you would find in normal restaurants.

7:00pm – A solitary dinner tonight, eating some leftovers from the weekend. Fried rice with beef brisket.

8:00pm – I realise I’m sitting too much at work so I decide to go to the gym and burn off some calories. I am surprised that there are so many people around but I am still able to use the gym equipment without waiting for someone else to finish their sets anyway.

11:30pm – I fail to meet my 10:30pm bedtime goal and call it a night at 11:30pm.

Daily Total: $0.00

Day 3

6:30am – I wake up feeling refreshed even though I didn’t really get that much sleep. Go figure.

8:00am – The traffic is terrific and I make it to work early. I use the extra time to read the newspaper in a leisurely manner. There are a few articles that are focused on Trump’s upcoming speech but I only take a quick skim of it before moving onto the next one. He’s getting way too much attention and I’m sick of hearing him say: “We Will Make America Great Again”.

11:40am – My boss unexpectedly introduces me to one of his clients when they come into our office for a meeting. I normally don’t wear my suit jacket but I put it on to make a good first impression. I realise when I walk in that I had already met this client before.

1:30pm – I eat a late lunch again. This time it’s teriyaki chicken with vegetables which is a significant improvement from yesterday’s lunch.

7:00pm – My brother decides that we should have ramen and stir fry vegetables for dinner. I agree with him, dinner should always be simple and quick. At least when I’m cooking (on the rare occasion that I do)!

10:30pm – I really want to go to the gym tomorrow so I am able to convince myself to sleep on time so that I have enough energy for it.

Daily Total: $0.00

Day 4

6:35am – Shock, horror! I find out that we’re almost out of mini burger pies. I eat the remaining three pies for breakfast and make a mental note to myself that I need to buy more next time I go grocery shopping.

8:15am – I am surprised that my boss came into work earlier than me today. After having a quick chat to him, I find out that he had two 45 minute gym sessions in the morning already…

1pm – I enjoy the pulled beef in red wine with sweet potato mash and peas… at my office desk. Still busy but at least the lunch is a tasty one.

6:30pm – I come back home from work to find out that we had more food in the house. My brother went grocery shopping while I was at work to stock up on our food supplies. The bill came to around $60 but he paid for it, thanks bro!

7:15pm – I make it to the gym! My session went for a bit over an hour and I’m feeling tired but happy that I was able to get some exercise done. It wasn’t that busy today as well compared to Tuesday.

Daily Total: $0.00

It’s been a record $0.00 spent so far… but that is going to change.

Stay Tuned, Part 2 coming soon!