TV’s Struggle Street reflects neglect by all governments

I'D LIKE to make an admission. For many years when I was asked where I grew up in Sydney I always just mentioned my time living in the upmarket suburb of Willoughby on the North Shore.

I never revealed that from the time I was 15 years of age my family home was in the Housing Commission suburb of Whalan in Mount Druitt.

I was hiding from the stigma that was attached to Mount Druitt back then and unfortunately that poor reputation remains with the area today.

We were one of the first families to move to the new Housing Commission satellite city and I remember as we drove in seeing a sign that said one day Mt Druitt would be home to 100,000 people.

The area has in fact past that number and is continuing to grow.

During my time with Channel TEN I put forward an idea that we should do a reality TV series around Mt Druitt police and I have been surprised that someone hasn't done exactly that.

SBS TV has recently ventured into the Druitt to record its controversial mini documentary Struggle Street.

As a person who survived the area I can say that there are some families living in the area that replicate the dysfunctional one featured on the show.

The majority of people who call the likes of Whalan, Lethbridge Park and Tregear home, however, are honest hardworking families just like most of your present neighbours.

Mt Druitt doesn't deserve another kick in the guts, but the one good thing about Struggle Street is that it reveals it is as area that has been neglected by the government for far too long.

It's fine to provide housing for 100,000 people, but you also need to provide support services, community centres and quality sporting venues.

Mt Druitt was the suburb the government forgot and it seems they continue to neglect it.

- Queensland Times Editor Peter Chapman


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