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By Jasmine Crittenden
November 14, 2016
By Jasmine Crittenden
November 14, 2016

The fight to keep Sydney's Sirius building is far from over. On Thursday, November 3, the Millers Point Community Association launched a legal challenge against the NSW Government. And it's being paid for by crowdfunding — to the tune of $50,000 provided by 600 citizens. Now, that's some serious people power, right there.

The building, which was designed by architect Tao Gofers, is not only an important part of '70s history and a great example of Brutalist architecture, but also public housing. For years and years it has helped to even the score in this expensive, property-obsessed city of ours, by allowing people on low incomes to live in the centre, with harbour views.

But back in September, the NSW Liberal Government under Premier Mike Baird floated plans to smash Sirius up and replace it with luxury apartments. A big public rally ensued, in which 1500 people — including the likes of Anthony Albanese, Tim 'Rosso' Ross and Lord Mayor Clover Moore — attended and the CFMEU, in collaboration with Unions NSW, coordinated a green ban.

This latest challenge calls on the NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage Mark Speakman to appear in the Land and Environment Court. His and the Government's wrong-doing? Their refusal to list Sirius on the State Heritage register, despite the unanimous advice of the Heritage Council.

"This building is a symbol of community values that still exist — values like inclusion and respect for diversity," said Anthony Albanese MP. "Such values are still important to millions of Australians who take pride in living in a nation that cares about all of its citizens, not just those with big bank balances."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore pointed out that the Minister's decision sets a "dangerous" precedent. If the challenge is successful, it could "create a valuable new precedent that will confirm the objectives of heritage legislation and discourage the government from acting this way again".

The action is just one element in the Save Our Sirius campaign. In addition to the rally and the green ban, twenty ambassadors have been appointed to support the heritage listing of Sirius and the maintenance of social housing in The Rocks. The legal action is currently in progress.

Images: Katherine Lu.

Published on November 14, 2016 by Jasmine Crittenden


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