PUBLIC OUTCRY: residents take it to the top

RESIDENTS from O'Donnell and Leavers streets fed up with crime and antisocial behaviour in their neighbourhood will take their concerns to the top today.

Several plan to have their say to the NSW Cabinet at a public forum at Dubbo RSL Club Auditorium from noon.

It follows a Walk and Talk of those and surrounding streets spearheaded by Housing NSW and other government agencies on Friday, prompted by a series of articles in the Daily Liberal which highlighted residents' concerns about their families being victims of assaults, break-ins, theft, intimidation, vandalism attacks, verbal abuse and arson attempts in recent weeks and months.

Leavers Street resident Shayne Evans, who featured in the Daily Liberal after having his car broken into three times in a year, said the first thing he would ask at today's forum would be why none of the agencies had visited him on Friday.

He had also planned to ask why more was not done to evict a small number of public housing residents and their children who were responsible for a large amount of crime and antisocial behaviour in Leavers, O'Donnell and Alcheringa streets, he said.

"Walk and talk - what a load of bull," he said

"I waited the whole two hours from 10am to 12pm and no one came and knocked on my door. No DOCS (sic), no education department, no housing, no cops, no nothing."

One O'Donnell Street resident who received a visit from Housing NSW on Friday said it left her feeling "thoroughly disgusted".

"They made out in a letter they sent us beforehand that they wanted to hear about our concerns, but every time we tried to tell them about what was going on they didn't really listen," she said.

"They just came to tell us what they were doing. I think they only came because these streets have been in the news so much lately, and they wanted to be seen to be doing something."

The woman's husband said the visitors from government agencies came but said they could not stay long, although they wanted to let the residents know something was being done to address the situation and they had not been forgotten.

He said he told the Housing NSW representative he and his wife were sick of being abused by children when they went into their front yard.

“My wife walked down the street and a girl yelled at her, ‘What are you f—-ing looking at? I’ll kill you and your old man’,” he said. 

“I wanted to tell them about how we’d just like a decent sleep but can’t get it because of all the noise in the street in the middle of the night, but we didn’t get that far.

“They say they are working on the problem but it takes time. I said to our neighbours afterwards, they (Housing NSW) advertise zero tolerance, so why does it take so long to work out?

“We did tell them that there was a particular house that was the problem house.”

The house she had complained about was the same residence Mr Evans had raised concerns about.

A Leavers Street resident who spoke to Housing NSW on Friday and planned to speak at today’s public forum agreed that particular residence was the source of much of the trouble.

“It was one of three houses I pointed out as being the worst,” he said.

“I told Housing NSW about the kids from there roaming the streets at night. Another lady told how her boy had come home with blood coming out of his mouth and shoulder because he had been bashed up on the way back from school a couple of days ago.

“A disabled man from near here who was pinned against the wall and spat at by a group of kids until some neighbours came to the rescue also spoke to them.”

The Leavers Street resident said he had filled out numerous incident reports dating back to 1996 about problems in his street and surrounds.

“They (Housing NSW) told me a lot of the action they might take to get bad tenants out is dependent on neighbours giving evidence for the tribunal,” he said.

“I asked them if they could guarantee our safety, because we’re worried about retribution, and they said they couldn’t.”

He said as well as causing trouble in the neighbourhood, the bad tenants in one particular house were costing the rest of the community a lot of money.

“There is one three-bedroom house in this street that has 11 kids living inside,” he said.

“They often have little fires in there and people just keep going in to repair it again and again.

“I saw inside it once when the repairmen were in and couldn’t believe what I saw.

“There was stale food on the kitchen bench, dirty, stinking mattresses spread all over the floor, human excrement spread about the place and powerpoints were hanging off the wall. If that’s not dangerous I don’t know what is.

“And there is this poor tradesman trying to plaster the wall and he’s got cockroaches running up his leg from this filthy house. 

“All the while there is this woman in the street who’s supposed to have been sent to another town because of the trouble she caused before, now she’s come back to cause trouble. She was booted out twice and now she’s living with someone else in another friend’s (public housing residence) here.

“Yeah, so there’s lots of things I’d like to tell the government about.”

Dubbo MP Troy Grant has backed a NSW Government plan to make public housing tenants more accountable for their behaviour. Victims of crime in O'Donnell and Leavers streets will raise the issue with NSW ministers in Dubbo today. Photo: LISA MINNER

Dubbo MP Troy Grant has backed a NSW Government plan to make public housing tenants more accountable for their behaviour. Victims of crime in O'Donnell and Leavers streets will raise the issue with NSW ministers in Dubbo today. Photo: LISA MINNER



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