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To: Duncan Ord, Director General of the Western Australian Department of Culture and Arts

Stop 'hosing away' the homeless!

Channel 9 Perth News: "People power has forced the removal of a controversial sprinkler system, which was being used to deter homeless people sleeping in the city. Thousands signed a petition to have the sprinkler taken down, saying it was a cruel, short-sighted solution to homelessness."

You can watch this news clip here:

Mr Ord, we are better than this.

The WA Department of Culture and Arts recently installed a water sprinkling system to drive those sleeping rough away from Perth's King Street Arts Centre. This system shoots water from above, soaking everyone who seeks shelter near the building. We call for its immediate removal.

We welcome news that you have agreed to turn off the taps. We now call on you to publicly commit to removing this humiliating and cruel system that targets the vulnerable once and for all.

Those the water hoses target are some of the most vulnerable people in Australia. People fleeing domestic violence, sufferers of mental illness or sexual abuse, and war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are just some of the people sleeping rough in Perth tonight. This callous water soaking system is an attack on the dignity of those already struggling in our community.

Drenching people without a home not only doesn't address the real issues, it can cause serious health problems. Many of the people affected carry all their belongings with them, cannot go anywhere to dry off, and have no prospect of a hot shower in winter. The lack of consideration for these people's lives and well-being we find unacceptable.

Mr Ord, as people of reason and compassion we call on you to not merely turn off the taps, but immediately remove this system from the King Street Arts Centre and call the community to creatively engage with the issues faced by those hurting on our streets.

Our response to those struggling in society indicates the kind of society we want to be. Show us we are better than this.

-Jarrod McKenna, Teaching Pastor at Westcity Church and National Director of Common Grace

Please see the 9 News coverage of the story below:

Why is this important?

"You wouldn't treat a dog like that" - Mark Fitzpatrick, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society

On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless. Shelters are chronically underfunded and overcrowded, and cannot give the support they were designed to provide.

Unbelievably, the people responsible for this deliberate water drenching system work for a government department. What kind of example are they setting for society? They have a duty to care for those on the margins of society. Instead, they're driving them further away from refuge and care.

Those sleeping rough aren't making a lifestyle choice; they have no other options. They're at risk of physical assault, sexual abuse, deprivation, and a range of hardships that those who have never slept on the streets can barely imagine.

Driving these people away from a comparatively safe, sheltered place with an aggressive water system is inhumane. The people who were targeted are someone's child, father, sister or friend - they deserve our compassion. Mr Ord, please end this appalling assault on those who have nowhere else to go.



2015-09-01 14:47:29 +1000

Petition is successful with 16,649 signatures

2015-07-17 13:03:12 +1000

Petition is successful with 16,423 signatures

2015-07-14 13:16:00 +1000

Petition is successful with 16,154 signatures

2015-07-10 13:56:05 +1000

10,000 signatures reached

2015-07-09 18:26:40 +1000

5,000 signatures reached

2015-07-09 13:28:11 +1000

1,000 signatures reached

2015-07-08 22:05:58 +1000

500 signatures reached

2015-07-08 19:05:23 +1000

100 signatures reached

2015-07-08 18:55:12 +1000

50 signatures reached

2015-07-08 18:39:23 +1000

25 signatures reached

2015-07-08 18:23:13 +1000

10 signatures reached