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Sydney tent city remains pegged down

Uncertainty surrounds the site of an alternative ‘safe place’ for the homeless to move to.

Sydney’s CBD tent city remains pegged down as uncertainty surrounds the site of an alternative ‘safe place’ for the homeless to move to.

The inhabitants of the Martin Place squat were on Tuesday morning anxious about the details of a deal brokered between Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the so-called ‘Mayor of Martin Place’ Lanz Priestley.

Moore on Monday night said the council would help pack up the camp on Tuesday morning and transfer about 70 homeless persons to a “communal safe space” until temporary or permanent accommodation was found.

The NSW Department of Family and Community Services and the council were expected to chip in $100,000 each to help set up the space.

But the safe space still hasn’t been designated, Moore confirmed on Tuesday.

“It’s still a work in progress,” she told ABC radio.

Moore said she didn’t want a repeat of the violent scenes that occurred in Melbourne in January when a homeless camp was moved on.

“There was an agreement on behalf of Lanz Preistly that they would pack up the camp peacefully.”

Three council trucks arrived at Martin Place early Tuesday to move some of the inhabitants’ belongings to storage.

Priestley said the group would remain in Martin Place until the safe space was identified.

“I have no address for it. I have no sense of where it is, or anything,” he said.

But despite this, Priestley was confident the deal with the council and Moore would stick.

“I’d like to thank her for brokering the deal. It’s a huge opportunity for the state and the city to get it right in perpetuity in terms of having a safe space for people who don’t actually have anywhere to go.”

It’s not clear if the space will include sleeping arrangements.

Nigel Blakemore, who has spent the last six months sleeping in a tent in Martin Place, doesn’t believe people will move without assurances.

“Having said that, my understanding is we’ve always been compliant and we will always be compliant, however, if some alternative agreement hasn’t been made the camp will just move elsewhere,” he told AAP.

“We were of the understanding we’re going to be moved on when we have somewhere to go.”

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