Torton Place residents fear for their lives: “You feel unsafe living here”

Torton Place residents fear for their safety. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Residents of Torton Place or “Torture Place” as some have nicknamed it are calling for help to improve their living conditions.

The public housing complex in Penrith, that is meant to provide safe and secure accommodation, is a breeding ground for anti-social behaviour, leaving some residents fearing for their lives.

The Weekender recently met with some of the residents that live in the block made up of 83 units.

One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous for his safety, moved into social housing after an assault incident left him unable to work.

“I have been here over 10 years and it was a lovely little community with mostly over 55s, but they have moved in the wrong mix of people since,” he said.

“There are a lot of good people here who have worked hard, paid taxes and for whatever reasons are here but there are also a lot of younger people, those with mental health issues, which is fine if managed, but the drug problem is the biggest issue.”

Discarded rubbish strewn across Torton Place. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Along with ageing infrastructure and plumbing issues, the resident said lack of safety is another main concern.

“People walk around with knives, there are people on drugs walking around at three in the morning who light the bins on fire and leave rubbish everywhere.

“The police are here every other day, but you do feel unsafe living here,” the resident said.

“Some residents have been physically attacked and we do report it, but it falls on deaf ears. It is a miserable place to live but since we are housed there isn’t much of a chance to move somewhere else.”

Torton Place residents speak with Weekender journalist Emily Feszczuk. Photo: Melinda Jane.

A Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) spokesperson said it takes complaints seriously and does not tolerate illegal behaviour.

“DCJ conducts an investigation on reports raised and also involves the police where required,” the spokesperson said.

“DCJ has inspected the complex and will do further inspections over the next four weeks. Anyone found requiring support during these visits will be referred to the STSH program.”

The Sustainable Tenancies in Social Housing (STSH) program is in partnership with NEAMI Nation and provides psychosocial supports and referrals to support agencies where required.

The Weekender also reached out to Penrith MP Stuart Ayres who had previously met with Torton Place residents regarding their complaints, but he declined to provide a comment.

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