Housing and planning concerns continue to dominate the news in Sydney.
A home is more than an address. A sense of place comes from your unit block, your street, neighbours, suburb, local shopkeepers, your shared experiences. Redfern is no different, albeit more colourful than many suburbs.
I have worked in Redfern for almost 20 years, and many of my patients rely on social housing in the Redfern/Waterloo area. There has been a lot of anxiety about where they might end up in the future. The NSW Government’s plans for Waterloo are concerning. Right along the planned new Metro line, from the city through to Bankstown, there will be a loss of homes, backyards and green space; a cleaning out of social and built heritage. There will be many more people putting pressure on existing services such as schools, health services and roads. Unfortunately the government’s “vision” relies on rezoning to benefit the private sector, but leaves the general public with a feeling of dread and uncertainty.
I am concerned about my elderly and chronically unwell patients who rely on my regular home visits. Few doctors offer home visits, and if my patients are moved out of the immediate area, I will be unable to see them.
I am concerned about the risk, with the planned “revitalisation”, to people’s sense of identity and belonging. So many people here live alone, but retain a strong sense of connectedness within this community.
I am concerned about the already stretched health services in the area, and the lack of planning to increase capacity. Already there are long waits for most out-patient clinics, specialists are hard to get into, the community nurses are overloaded and hospitals are full.
It is important that the community continues to challenge policy, and pressures the government to address the needs and concerns of the people, now and in the future.
Dr Marie Healy is a GP with interests in aged and chronic care and health promotion. This advice is general in nature; please see your GP for specific health advice regarding your individual circumstances.
Prefer to see the SSH as it appears in print?
Download SSH older issues as a PDF here.