The City of Wagga Wagga Council says it is disappointed in the level of support being offered by the NSW Government in relation to finding a genuine solution for up to 30 homeless people who have been served with eviction notices from a local park.
The notices given to those staying in Wagga Wagga’s Wilks Park, which is also a floodway, require them to ‘move on’ over the next 28 days.
The Council says it was an action undertaken in close consultation with the NSW Government.
“The NSW Government is responsible for providing genuine solutions to the people sleeping in Wilks Park who have no alternatives,” Council said in a statement.
“It was surprising and disappointing that the NSW Government, and in particular the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), did not acknowledge this extensive consultation over recent weeks.”
The Council met this week to workshop the organisation’s role in relation to the issue, which it says is to act as the ‘manager’ of the park site.
“Again, surprisingly, when asked to participate in the meeting and provide information to the Council on exactly what it is that they are doing, DCJ failed to attend,” Council said.
“The NSW State Government is responsible for providing services and solutions to the people currently sleeping in Wilks Park. The NSW Government is also responsible for their safety in the event of a flood given they are sleeping in a floodway. The NSW Government is also responsible for the safety and welfare of all the people sleeping there and passing there for whatever reason people might fear for their safety.”
Council says it will again call on the NSW State Government to explain what it is going to do in relation to providing the people sleeping in Wilks Park with real solutions for their care and rehoming.
“If the silence and inaction of the NSW Government continues, the Council will in all likelihood take no further action to move people on from sleeping in Wilks Park, where they have no alternative.”
“Since last week when the NSW State Government retreated from consultation with Council, the Council has been left in a vacuum in relation to the options and the care which is being provided to the people in Wilks Park.”
It said that in the absence of any information and any known action by the NSW Government, Council did not intend to move people from where they are sleeping.
“This is not to say that Council considers this to be the appropriate outcome. It is not. Council will not, however, accept responsibility for exposing members of the public to even harsher and uncertain living conditions. If that is the outcome which the NSW Government chooses to deliver, then Council will not be the enabler.”
“People deserve a whole of government response to their care. Council urges the NSW State Government to act and address the unacceptable conditions of the people sleeping in Wilks Park and the concerns of the community generally,” Council said.