TWO organisations representing residents and the business sector have now supported the interest-free housing project that recently raised some concern in Riverstone.
Riverstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president Michael Vassili, secretary Rosie Bonham, Riverstone Neighbourhood Watch president Paul Hutchinson and resident John Creighton said this after an hour-long meeting with Qartaba Homes Pty Ltd directors, Wajahat Rana, Khurram Jawaid, Kashif Aziz and their lawyer Peter Doukas last Thursday, organised by the Blacktown Sun.
Councillor Alan Pendleton and Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams, who raised concerns in a metropolitan newspaper that the project would lead to a "Muslim enclave", was invited but did not attend.
The Sun organised the meeting after the newspaper report that it was only for the Muslim community had raised community fears and unrest.
Mr Rana, the senior director, first said he and the two directors did not belong to any Islamic organisation and that their project is open to all Australians irrespective of religion or race.
He said Qartaba's interest-free scheme to help young families to own homes was similar to those promoted by major businesses like Harvey Norman.
"We want to help all Australians to own their homes because we know how hard it was for all of us when we came to Australia more than 20 years ago," he said.
"You have to pay more than twice the amount you borrowed over 20 years if you got a bank loan and if you default for any reason you will lose your home.
"Qartaba housing lots ranging from 400 square metres to 800 square metres are being offered from about $90,000 plus development charges, including a booking deposit of 30 to 35 per cent and a 24- to 30-month interest-free payment plan.
"This is very good offer compared to the price in the nearby The Ponds from about $350,000.
Mr Rana denied its proposed housing areas would be "gated" saying it would have to comply with NSW and Blacktown Council development laws relating to fencing and required amenities.
Mr Vassili said he and Ms Bonham were satisfied with the assurance given by Mr Rana, Mr Jawaid and Mr Aziz and invited them to speak at a public meeting organised by the chamber.
"It's a shame two local politicians from the Liberal Party and Labor Party have whipped up community fears without meeting the three men first," he said.
"These three men should be commended for their initiative for helping to provide affordable housing which the state government could only talk about."
When contacted, Cr Pendleton said he would "wait and see" before making further comment while Mr Williams said he would change his view after Qartaba had printed a new flyer about the project.
Mr Williams was adamant the Qartaba flyer he had seen said it was only for Muslims.
He promised to send the flyer to the Sun but we have yet to receive it.