Housing the hot topic at Women’s Council to the Mayor gathering

11 April 2024 | Media Release

The provision of affordable and appropriate housing for women, including those with young families, who may be fleeing family and domestic violence, dominated discussions at this month’s Women’s Council to the Mayor meeting at Waverley Council Chambers.

The Women’s Council was established in July 2023 to advise the Waverley Mayor on matters that are relevant to women and girls in Sydney’s east to help guide actions by the Council to better support this section of the community.

Its 20 members (pictured, above) met last week to discuss this issue, which was one of three key challenges facing women and girls in Waverley, including connections, mentoring and building healthy relationships; and mental health and wellbeing. A further workshop will be conducted to gain more granularity about this issue and what Waverley Council can do to assist.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, updated the group about Council’s unanimous decision last month to adopt a Mayoral Minute to investigate Council’s property portfolio for allocation as potential women’s emergency and short-term accommodation.

It also voted to investigate models of operation of the service, including existing services wishing to expand their services in Waverley.

“Women who are fleeing family and domestic violence need access to accommodation that is affordable as well as appropriate for their needs, to help them get back on their feet for the long term,” Mayor Masselos said.

“In Waverley, during the 12 months to March 2022, violence against women incident rates were higher than for either Randwick or Woollahra local government areas, so this is a real concern for us.

“There has also been an increase in older, unpartnered women, experiencing financial and housing insecurity, which is also very worrying.”

Figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) show that between October 2018 to September last year, the average number of domestic violence-related incidents in the Waverley local government area per annum over five years was 188, which accounted for 27% of the total figure for Sydney’s eastern suburbs. According to BOSCAR, under reporting is a well-documented phenomenon, so actual incidents are likely to be higher.

Mayor Masselos and senior management met with Minister for Planning, Paul Scully, last month to discuss strategic planning options to deliver more affordable housing and better outcomes for the Waverley community. It follows the government’s proposed sweeping changes to housing reforms, which implemented would result in significant unplanned development in Waverley.

“Being the nation’s second-most densely populated local government area, it is essential that Waverley now has a seat at the table, and we look forward to ensuring the Planning reforms don’t disadvantage our community, especially women and children who can be the most vulnerable,” Mayor Masselos said.

Guest speakers at the Women’s Council to the Mayor meeting last week were Detective Superintendent Jodi Radmore from the Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command, former Bayside Mayor, Dr Christina Curry, (Bayside Council’s first elected female Mayor) and Christina Hough, head of community housing operations at the Women’s Housing Company.


Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.