Canberra residents say their new complex has been taken over by squatters

Residents of a new public housing complex in Canberra say they have lived in fear after a unit was smashed, abandoned and taken over by squatters.

Families claim the security of the apartments is appalling and it has been exploited by thieves and drug dealers.

Warren Eriksson and Scott Dillon are both fathers who thought they hit the jackpot when they got a spot in a new public housing complex in Wright.

Families claim the security of the apartments is appalling and it has been exploited by thieves and drug dealers. (A current affair)

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“It honestly brought tears to my eyes. It was like winning the lottery. It was like brand new,” Mr Dillon said.

“No one had been here before, the apartments are as well built as you know – large bedrooms.

“They have air conditioning, there was a dryer provided, you know, locked garages, keyless entry – perfect.”

Scott Dillon. (A current affair)

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Sir. Eriksson said when he moved in, “there was still plaster dust all over the floor”.

“Like it was brand new – brand new complex – burned,” he said.

But as the dust settled, life on Steve Irwin Avenue became as wild as the man the street is named after.

The new public housing complex in Canberra’s Wright. (A current affair)

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“(Specialist Response Group) showed up to arrest someone upstairs for a drive-by shooting, which was shocking,” Mr Eriksson said.

“This was like the first time I have ever lived in public housing.

“I’ve heard the stories about it, but I kind of hoped that this place was brand new and that such sweet people might show a little bit of gratitude and respect for the place.

“But things really went downhill when a unit allegedly became a city of criminal activity.

Warren Eriksson said that “the specialist response group appeared”. (A current affair)

“Prostitution, a lot of drugs, just all sorts of things going on at all times of the night,” Mr Eriksson said.

The device was smashed, abandoned and left unlocked for several months, allowing it to become a squatters paradise.

“The place is completely rubbish, they have pulled all the roller sliding doors off, they have all been thrown outside, skirts have been torn off, the intercom has been removed,” Mr Dillon said.

Warren Eriksson. (A current affair)

“The included dryer that was on the wall – it’s been removed. I suppose they probably sold it.”

Sir. Eriksson added: “There’s still food in the fridge that’s been there since they left, so it’s just ugly and people come and go in there.

“The sliding door has been open for several months. Housing has known about it and has done nothing.”

Residents claim that common areas have also been vandalized, and storage cages have become targets for thieves.

A garbage and abandoned device. (A current affair)

“People are not sleeping at night because they get up the next morning and their car window has been smashed in and their car has been torn through and their storage sheds have been searched,” Mr Dillon said.

Residents claim the squats from the unit are well and thoroughly gone and after several complaints, it has finally been locked inside.

“How good it would have been – a family you know just before Christmas – to be offered, you know, a two-bedroom unit in such a lovely place, a place that is not even two years old,” said Mr. Dillon.

The unit complex was taken over by squatters according to residents. (A current affair)

“Most of the people who live here are just decent people, like all they want to do is feel safe and get on with their lives, you know.

“They are proud of their places, you know, if you go and look around, you will see that people have small gardens on their balconies, they have flowers, flower pots.”

Sir. Eriksson said: “I would like the place to be cleaned up and some proper tenants in there who will look after the place.

“And just be ordinary people, as you know, I do not have to worry about going out the door with my son and watching someone do a drug deal or sneak in stolen goods or a massive altercation going on at 3am and waking up . him up. “

Full statement from an ACT government spokesman:

The ACT government condemns all forms of crime and antisocial behavior in society.

Crushing or vandalism on any property is illegal. When these activities take place in publicly owned properties, they divert critical resources from providing vulnerable people and families with safe and secure homes.

While privacy laws prevent us from identifying any public residential property, we are aware of a property that has recently been the subject of squabbling and vandalism.

We can confirm that the property has since been secured, cleaned and repaired and is expected to be reallocated to a new tenant in the coming weeks.

We work closely with tenants and the community to create safe and secure homes. A formal complaint process is available to both tenants and private members of the community and should be followed to file any issues in the first instance to allow appropriate inquiries to take place.

We can confirm that we have not received any requests for additional security measures in relation to this property or the complex in which it is located.

Where we believe there are illegal occupants of a publicly owned property, we will visit the property in close cooperation with ACT Policing to safely address illegal occupants and ensure that vacant properties can be redistributed as soon as possible.

Criminal activities or behaviors related to public housing are referred to ACT Policing.

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