By Labor legend Boilermaker Bill McKell
Which Member of the NSW Legislative Council wants legislation to make owners and landlords of boarding houses act on their responsibilities for repairs and maintenance?

Which Member of the Legislative Council, during debate last June on public housing legislation, said that the problems in public housing were “exacerbated by poor maintenance of homes” and “substandard maintenance”?

Is it the same Member of the Legislative Council whose own tenants have recently had to tout for a qualified roofer to undertake repairs of the premises? Taking the last question first, of course it is!

You may recall from earlier musings that Greens MLC Sylvia Hale, whose portfolio responsibilities includes housing and homelessness, owns the premises that houses, among others, the NSW Greens headquarters. This is the property for which Hale (a former local government councillor) had to put in a retrospective development application to authorise the change of use for the premises to office space and lodgings for community and lobby groups.

In recent weeks, an email has gone out from the NSW Greens saying:


A qualified roofer is required to repair the roof at Greens NSW HQ, Eve St, Erskineville. We are working to a budget and would welcome a sympathetic quote. You may not be a roofer but you may know one.


Imagine the howls of outrage from the Greens if public housing tenants were required to solicit quotes from roofers for repairs to their premises. Imagine the fulmination if the tenants then had to negotiate a cut price quote.

And how does asking someone to cut their usual rates fit with the NSW Greens wanting to secure “legislative protection to guard against exploitation of casual workers” and “ensuring that workers are given the option of being paid for overtime hours at full award rates”. Doesn’t work by qualified roofers warrant full award rates?

How does it look when a property owner and Member of Parliament watches her tenants touting and scrimping to get structural repairs done, when her own colleague, Lee Rhiannon, reports that Hale has an annual income of over $146 000 just as an MP?

And, by the way, given the campaign against James Hardie involving Hale and The Greens, has anyone checked just to make sure the roofing doesn’t contain asbestos? I hope Sylvia Hale has all the answers.

Boilermaker Bill is waiting for the howls of outrage to reach him at [email protected]