THE NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton is considering changes to state legislation to make it easier to evict public housing tenants, according to member for Orange Andrew Gee.
Mr Gee met with Ms Upton on Tuesday to discuss the problem of ongoing antisocial behaviour in public housing areas of Glenroi and Bowen.
Mr Gee said while Ms Upton wasn’t aware of Orange’s situation, public housing tenancy issues were on her radar.
“She told me she was looking at a policy to make it easier to move-on continually problematic tenants,” Mr Gee said.
Glenroi-born councillor Jason Hamling said evicting troublesome tenants was an obvious way to help put an end to problems in areas such as South Terrace.
Cr Hamling said while he was proud to have gone to Glenroi Heights Public School and Canobolas Rural Technology High School, he was alarmed to hear violence and antisocial behaviour was a part of daily life for some residents in the area.
“It’s a shame that the good people feel unsafe,” Cr Hamling said.
As chair of the community safety and crime prevention committee, Cr Hamling said it was time to stop talking and take action, particularly following Saturday’s violent outbreak in South Terrace involving a large group of people.
Cr Hamling said council wasn’t “sitting on its hands” and was doing all it could to address problems in Glenroi, including the installation of recreational facilities centred around Glenroi Oval.
Mr Gee said Glenroi’s problems would be addressed at next Monday’s interagency meeting of key stakeholders, including police and representatives from the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).
Mr Gee said while many residents in troubled areas of Glenroi had told him antisocial behaviour had declined in the past three years, he was aware of a recent “flare-up”.
“You can’t sugar coat it, the situation in Glenroi is far from perfect and we can’t afford to let antisocial behaviour and crime fester,” he said.
“These are the same issues facing other areas of Orange, they’re not exclusive to Bowen and Glenroi, violence and antisocial behaviour occurs across Orange,” he said.
“There’s no easy fix for this problem,” he said.
A FACS spokesperson said Orange police had advised the department that South Terrace “has not been identified as a problem area for antisocial behaviour”.
“Nevertheless, we encourage the community to report any incidents of antisocial behaviour to the police to facilitate an appropriate response,” the spokesperson said.
“Housing NSW is a landlord, and like all landlords in NSW is subject to the processes of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“If a tenant does not comply with the department’s requests, an application to the NSW Consumer and Administrative Tribunal to end the tenancy is made.”
The spokesperson said the independent tribunal had the power to evict those who chose not to comply with what was asked.
“We work closely with the NSW Police Force, where the exchange of information between the two agencies enables appropriate action when criminal and nuisance behaviour occurs,” he said.