On Thursday evening 14 March 2019, nine days before the NSW State election, 2500 community leaders and citizens will gather at Sydney Town Hall to stand together for the common good. Together they will seek clear, concrete commitments on affordable housing, household renewable energy and rental reform from state and federal politicians.
The assembly is being organised by Sydney Alliance, the Everybody’s Home Campaign, and Vinnies NSW.
It will be co-chaired by Rev. Alimoni Taumopeau, Minister of the Word at Strathfield-Homebush Uniting Church. Rev. Taumopeau is a leader of “Voices for Power”, a Sydney Alliance campaign working to improve affordable and renewable energy access by disadvantaged communities in Sydney’s West and Southwest.
The Uniting Social Justice Forum is also playing a leading role in the Sydney Alliance campaign for affordable and secure housing – a campaign that has already had an impact in improving both NSW Government and Opposition policies.
Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of New South Wales and the ACT, Rev. Simon Hansford, said that the church can be a voice for people on lower incomes and the vulnerable, and call on governments to prioritise affordable housing, household renewable energy and affordable rent.
“Our congregations, our service agencies, our staff, and our volunteers, are at the front line of the housing crisis every day, particularly in Sydney’s West and Southwest. More and more people notably the financially disadvantaged are unable to find affordable housing or a place to call home,” he said.
“In Biblical terms the fundamental belief in ancient Israel was that the world was a gift from God and all had an equal right to share in the different forms of wealth it provided.”
“The vulnerable – the widow, the poor and the foreigners, were especially to be protected and taken care of. The early church, while still holding property, made sure that the needs of all were met.”
“We must raise our voices with our political leaders for better rental affordability and security, and for better access by the whole community to solar household energy.”
“I encourage all members of our Church to attend or support this assembly however they can.”
So far, the NSW Energy Minister, major opposition parties, and crossbenchers have committed to attend. The event organisers have also invited Federal political leaders.
The March 2019 Assembly takes place on Thursday 14 March, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Sydney Town Hall. For more information and to register, go to the official event page.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor