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Student housing shortage reflected in Sydney University squatter standoff

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 16 Sep 2011

Greens Senator and higher education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon says the NSW Police have overacted to the presence of squatters at Sydney University.

“The NSW Police riot squad along with emergency, fire and other services have rushed to Sydney University to deal with squatters who have been occupying a disused building for the last three months. This is huge over reaction,” Senator Rhiannon said

“These people are legitimately highlighting the housing crisis faced by students and others on low incomes living in Sydney.

“Students Representatives at Sydney University have told me that the police response is excessive.

Armen Aghazarian, a Sydney University student said, “The large police response is unnecessary and a massive waste of resources. It has disrupted student and staff studies and research as about half of the Darlington Campus is cordoned off.

 “Finding low cost housing in Sydney is an enormous challenge.

“This situation should be used as a catalyst for the government, university, Catholic Church and student body to urgently address how to ease the burden faced by students.

Senator Rhiannon added: “66 per cent of students suffer extreme rental stress, with the average fortnightly living cost $670. $230 of this is spent on rent.

“The Australian Greens have a plan to put an extra $50 million into the National Rental Affordability Scheme. This will create a new student division to increase student housing.

“Universities will gain assistance to build student accommodation, and provide students with access to accommodation at a cost pf 20 per cent below the market rate,” Senator Rhiannon said.


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