17 August 2012

Seriously, Ravenswood?

In northern Tasmania we have a suburb renown for being 'not so nice'.  However, the past 12months or so the people of this suburb haven't taken 'not so nice' to a whole new fucking level!

Ravenswood is a suburb that is predominately housing department housing.  Moderately high density units and houses packed into a tiny space.

It has a community centre, small shopping centre, churchs, opshops, sports club/bar, skate park.

My ex-husband lived in Ravenswood until June of 2011.  He has mental health issues and is on a disability pension and was granted a house due to being homeless and having our two children for access visits fortnightly.

He was there for close on two years and this is his short history from when he moved into a 3 bedroom on (the notorious) Pioneer Parade:

week 2 - all four tyres slashed on his car and side mirrors smashed.
week 4 - tyres and mirrors replaced.
week 5 - car firebombed and completely burnt out.

Told by housing department they could do nothing.
Told by police nothing could be done.

March-May 2011
*house burgled
*car vandalised
*verbal threats received from one lot of neighbours ranging from "we will shoot you and kids" to "we will burn your house down with you in it"
*laundry window smashed with paintball gun
*neighbours left due to similar threats
*neighbours house vandalised
*told by department of housing, fire department and police to stop calling and annoying them when he reported vandals and children lighting fires in empty house.
*empty house burnt out within 24hrs of being vacated
*further threats.
*told again by housing department nothing could be done and that they were currently trying to "trick the neighbours into moving out".  WTF!
*his house burnt out with 12hrs of moving out.

After this, my family helped move him out and stored his things at my house.
Housing department informed him that he was off the list and probably owed rent for moving out without notice.  Despite providing medical evidence of extreme stress and anxiety due to above actions.

At this point I endeavored to find some form of assistance.  I called Human services Minister Cassy O'Connor and was told nothing could be done, referred to advocacy Tasmania who recommended services in Launceston that didn't actually exist.  They were for indigenous and based in the south of the state!

In the end, the only option was to share house in our current situation.

Since then, his house has been burnt out twice and the two neighbouring properties once each.  Damages are valued at an average of $200,000 for each burnt property and most properties are vacant at the time.

I am not wanting to do a 'poor him/me' but wish to highlight just one persons experience within the department.

In the Mercury on 3 June 2012 Cassy O'Connor stated:
Last week, Human Services Minister Cassy O'Connor said arson prevention measures were working. She told Budget estimates last week that arson and vandalism had cost the Tasmanian Housing department $10 million in the past two years.
She said yesterday arson prevention measures by Housing Tasmania had led "to an encouraging decline in the number of arson attacks".
Housing Tasmania has fitted smoke detectors to all properties, installed remotely monitored security devices, engaged private security firms, formed partnerships with Tasmania Police, and offered rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone burning down a public housing property, said Ms O'Connor.
There were 886 incidents of malicious damage on tenanted and untenanted properties from July 2011 until March this year. The claims cost taxpayers $1.6 million on top of $1.7 million from the 2010-11 financial year.
Costs have grown from $681,000 in the 2006-07 financial year.
Half of the arson cases were in vacant Housing Tasmania properties. 

Arson and vandalism has been on the increase since 2006-7 yet they are just starting to think about "taking measures"????

YET all of the above is jack shit in the bigger scheme of things.


In a suburb so clearly damaged and desperate there is not a manned station.  Well, when I say manned I mean beyond 5pm.  there is a station that is attended during business hours.  Beyond that you are met with apathy  annoyance and plain rude responses if you bother to call police regarding an incident in Ravenswood.

A study down in 2009 involving the department of housing and police highlighted the need for urgent attention in housing department suburbs such as Ravenswood.

Even a quick search on the ABC news website for Ravenswood throws back three pages of arson and murder since 2004.  The majority of cases happening in the past two years.


                      WHY IS THERE NOT  A MANNED, 24HR POLICE STATION???

I wonder, did they call police or housing to express their fears?
Were  they told to stop calling?
Would this have been avoided if there was a better police presense?

I have so many questions and I am angry, sadded and sickened by the decline of humanity in Ravenswood.  It is about increasing lack of respect for other people and their property.  Lack of respect for life.  When will the police and the government stop making excuses and start fixing this problem.  Sadly, I can't "it will take a death to see this fixed" because in the last four years there have been four deaths and still nothing has been done.

I will call it!   
The police, Tasmanian government and the housing department of Tasmania have blood on their hands tonight in my opinion.

and this by jane


carmen@musingnmayhem said...

That is a shameful record... no other words. :(

bachelormum said...

I had no idea this was happening in tassie, it's just appalling. I hope yr ex is ok. Well done to you for helping him out with yr family. In the end it's showing yr kids the real meaning of caring, and compassion ... And they don't have to worry so much about their dad ... And you don't have to worry so much about ur kids. I hope the govt will do something about it. It sounds inhumane - why r those people so angry?

Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos said...

WTF?? I am really stunned reading this, and the fact that nothing is being done! It is lovely, however, to see that you and your ex obviously still have a good relationship. So much better for the kids xx