Monday, 12 January 2009

What can luvvies do about poverty?

If my wogtown castle was on top of the right hill, I would have views across The Bay towards two of the top locations for luvvies to live in Sydney - Balmain and Leichhardt. It's not for nothing that Keating famously derided the lefty loonies of Balmain as "basket weavers." It is the favoured home of actors, artists, social commentators and bien piss-ants.

Leichhardt is not far behind.

You can't open the local paper in that area without being beaten over the head with an article about "community housing" or "social housing" or "low cost housing". After studying the rental reports from the Department of Housing, I can understand why - it is one of the most expensive areas to live in Sydney.

If you've lived in Sydney for any length of time, and dipped a toe in the rental market, then you'd know that you don't need a rental report to be told that. But just to make things official, here are the differences in rents for various types of properties between their side of The Bay and ours:

Three bedroom house (median):

Leichhardt - $650
Wog Dock - $550

These will cost you $470 in Burwood and $320 in Botany Bay.

Two bedroom flat (median)

Luvvie-ville - $520
Wog Dock - $480

By comparison, Burwood will set you back $400. Canterbury just $280.

Here's my question - if you are on a low income, why would you want to live in an expensive area?

I won't bother with answering that.

But let's assume you are able bodied, and living in a housing commission town house in Leichhardt. You can walk or cycle across Victoria Rd to Balmain if you need to. What can the luvvies do for you?

They can give you a job.

They can employ you to clean their house.

Cleaning requires no additional skills to those you should already have. That is, you should know how to vaccuum and dust and so on, since you should be doing that at home. You require no special English skills, or any English at all. Doing well at Geography, Maths and Finger Painting are not required.

Since baby sitting around here costs $20 per hour and involves little effort, you could probably earn $30 an hour as a cleaner. At that rate, 35 hours a week will put you on the median income.

Do cleaners get paid that much?

Who cares? Since luvvies, like Cate Blanchett, earn millions, they should be able to pay their cleaners $30 an hour. Call it a social obligation.

Since luvvies love compulsion by force of law, we should force all of them to employ a cleaner or two, and a gardener if they have a garden. And a nanny if they have kids. But the catch is that their staff will have to be drawn from the residents of the "community housing" that they love so much.

I expect their enthusiasm to wane rather rapidly.

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