October 25, 2012
NSW has new Boarding House Legislation. Josephite Myree Harris rsj, plays no small part in this finally being passed!
The Hon Marie Ficarra, Parliamentary Secretary, when speaking for the Bill which provides a comprehensive reform package for the regulation of Boarding houses in New South Wales, spoke of both Myree and Mary MacKillop!
The reform package will give Boarding house residents far greater security, safety and protection.
All general boarding houses with five or more residents must be registered with the Department of Fair Trading from January 1st 2013. Local Councils will inspect them and monitor safety, maintenance, cleanliness and living conditions. Until registration happens, State government has no idea how many such places are operating.
Assisted boarding houses for people with disabilities who need support and assistance will be monitored by Ageing, Disability and Home Care and clearly defined standards will be enforced. For the first time, residents of all boarding houses will have written occupancy agreements. This means there can be no more summary evictions except for issues such as violence.
Myree was a co-founder of the Coalition for Appropriate Supported Accommodation for people with disabilities in 1995.This comprises 22 peak bodies, church- based charities and disability advocacy groups. As convenor since then, she has written and spoken on behalf of the group.
The Hon Marie Ficarra commended the contribution of Myree: “I commend and honour Sister Myree Harris, OAM, a contemporary Josephite nun acting in the spirit of Mary MacKillop by responding to the needs of the homeless in inner Sydney since 1990. In 1880 Mary MacKillop opened a house in The Rocks, called Providence, for women and their children who were living on the streets of Sydney. Sister Myree Harris has continued in that same spirit with the Gethsemane community and works continuously for the poor, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable."
From Myree's personal experience and determination she campaigned for years for the current changes and will continue to work for and be in solidarity with the most vulnerable.