An immediate safety audit should be carried out to identify any other buildings in the Sydney CBD that are standing empty and at risk of fire similar to last week’s disastrous blaze.
Business Sydney Executive Director Paul Nicolaou said today there were reports of 15 homeless people sleeping in the empty six-storey building near Central Station on the night before the fire.
Mr Nicolaou said the homeless people had been at significant risk and it was fortunate that none of them were in the building when it was engulfed.
“I will be writing to Premier Chris Minns and Lord Mayor Clover Moore asking them to order an immediate audit to identify other buildings in the city that are empty and awaiting redevelopment,” Mr Nicolaou said.
“It is unsatisfactory and potentially unsafe for buildings to be left empty and insecure with the risk of them being used by squatters and others who shouldn’t be in them.
“The inherent risk to the homeless is among the reasons that Business Sydney is advocating for the state government to appoint a homelessness commissioner.
“Ensuring that homeless people are not sleeping rough or gaining entry to unoccupied buildings at significant risk to themselves are issues that a homelessness commissioner could address.
“It should be everyone’s aim that homeless people are given safe and appropriate shelter while the life issues that have made them homeless are addressed.”
Mr Nicolaou said the issue was even more urgent with the cost of living and rental crisis having a major impact on people particularly the working poor.
He said there was a real possibility that more people would become homeless in Sydney as a result of the current climate.
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