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Redfern-Waterloo UPDATE August 2005

This is the text version of first issue of the RWA's Redfern-Waterloo Update which was distributed on September 1st 2005. The front page had an open letter from Frank Sartor to Mick Mundine of the Aboriginal Housing Company. The Minister reiterates his position of the last 6 months that he does not want more than 19 tenancies on or arround the block and asks the AHC to join an RWA taskforce to discuss everything else about The Block which is on the table for discussion. "Let's work together to find a shared vision for the Block" the Minister says but this still does not appear to include the possibility that the Minister might change his view about housing on the Block!

A Sustainable Vision for the Block

In February this year the Minister for Redfern Waterloo, Frank Sartor, called for the Redfern Waterloo Authority, the Aboriginal Housing Company and the broader community to work together to develop a sustainable solution for the Block and its immediate surrounds. Under its Charter, the RWA will a so facilitate affordable Indigenous housing in the area.

There is common ground between the Government and the Block's owner, the AHC. There are also some differences about the amount of housing the Block can sustain

The Minister is again calling on the AHC join a taskforce to develop a new vision for the Block through constructive dialogue.

An open letter from Frank Sartor to Mick Mundine, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Company

Dear Micky,

We've known each other for 20 years. We've worked together on community issues, council campaigns and past redevelopments at the Block.

In the past, whenever we disagreed we talked it through and found a solution.

Today, the Aboriginal Housing Company intends to redevelop the Block, building 62 new medium-density houses to replace the existing 19.

We disagree on your development plans because the Government believes it will repeat the problems of the past, but we're both passionate about making the Block a place of significance for Aboriginal people. We both want an outcome on the Block that benefits local Aboriginal families.

Six months ago I proposed a joint taskforce of Government and AHC representatives, to come up with a shared vision for the Block. The existing 19 tenancies would remain on and around the Block, and a further 43 would be found elsewhere in Redfern-Waterloo. Everything else was on the table for discussion.

You rejected this taskforce, and since you have been boycotting all discussions with Government.

My offer of six months ago still stands. I urge you to ignore consultants and nay-sayers and restart discussions with the Government, as a strong local voice for the Aboriginal community.

Let’s work together to find a shared vision for the Block, and make it a place for all of us to be proud of.

Frank Sartor

Minister for Redfern-Waterloo


Welcome to the first issue of Redfern-Waterloo Update, a regular newsletter from the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. The Update will keep you informed about developments on the future of our community. 


Promoting Jobs for the Indigenous Community

The Redfern-Waterloo Authority has negotiated a jobs Compact with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to create local jobs for unemployed residents, particularly Aboriginal residents.

A large proportion of people living in Redfern and Waterloo are not in the workforce and the unemployment rate in Waterloo is double the Sydney average.

The RWA has taken this program a step further by creating an Indigenous Employment Model for use in the construction industry This includes a streamlined recruitment, training and employment path for head contractors, a mentoring program, and apprenticeships.

A Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with a number of partner agencies such as the Naamoro Aboriginal Employment Service and the Redfern Aboriginal Corporation.

A training centre will be established by the RWA and TAFE NSW at the former North Eveleigh Railyards and will initially offer on-site training in the construction and hospitality industry.

The RWA's support programs for Indigenous enterprise are expected to create more job opportunities in the immediate future.

Pictured far right at the launch of the jobs Compact Agreement are Minister Frank Sartor and Les Tablet, Aboriginal Employment Coordinator, CMFEU, with local Aboriginal youth, some of whom have already benefited from the Agreement. Far left is Andrew Ferguson, State Secretary, CFMEU

Early Success for Jobs Compact

The RWA's ground-breaking Indigenous Employment Model has already created 17 jobs for Indigenous locals as part of a $40 million project to transform the former North Eveleigh Carriageworks building into a Contemporary Performing Arts Centre. The site represents a major urban renewal opportunity and the new Arts Centre will help revitalise the entire area.

Indigenous Enterprise Hub to be Established

The RWA has developed partnerships with the NSW Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD) and the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to offer more support for the development of Indigenous enterprise.

An Indigenous Enterprise Hub will be established at the RWA's Redfern office to provide business support to Aboriginal business owners, including workshops to be held quarterly. Following a request from the RWA, the successful school-based Young Business Enterprise Development project will be extended to Alexandria Park Community School next year.

RWA Sponsor NAIDOC Week & Koori Knockout

As part of the RWA commitment to supporting and working with the Aboriginal community in Redfern and Waterloo, substantial financial and in-kind contributions were made to the NAIDOC celebrations from 4-13 July 2005.

Sponsorship was shared between the Redfern-Waterloo Elders lunch, the Tribal Warrior men's group cruise, the men's cultural workshop and traditional music and craft teaching clinic at the Alexandria Park Family Day.

RWA is also a sponsor of the 35th NSW Annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival to be held in Redfern on the October long weekend. This is the second consecutive year that the Koori Knockout will be held in Redfern and some of the RWA sponsorship will provide activities and entertainment for young people across the weekend.

The Tribal Warrior's Aboriginal Cultural Harbour Cruise, to which the RWA is providing business support, was a highlight of NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Development of Redfern-Waterloo Plan

Work is progressing on Stage One of the Redfern-Waterloo Plan, covering the first three years of the RWA's operations. A draft will be released for community consultation later this year.

Stage One will assist the social and economic revitalisation of the Redfern-Waterloo area and will support the development of a consolidated, coherent and consistent planning instrument to guide urban renewal on key strategic sites.

The sites that have been nominated as State Significant include:

• North Eveleigh

• South Eveleigh

• Australian Technology Park

• Eveleigh Street Precinct

• Redfern Railway Station Precinct

• Gibbons-Regent Street Precinct

• Redfern Public School

• Redfern Police Station & Courthouse

• Rachel Forster Hospital.

[REDWatch Adition - To assist you understand the areas referred to above REDWatch has provided a link to an RWA map (337 Kb) showing the where these sites are located  http://www.redwatch.org.au/RWA/maps/State Significant Areas.jpg  ]

The Redfern-Waterloo Plan will also incorporate a Human Services component, which has been the subject of extensive consultation in its development phase.

In 2004, the NSW Government undertook to reform the human services system in Redfern-Waterloo in response to a review which concluded that services are poorly coordinated and integrated. Currently more than 100 government and non-government human services organisations deliver more than 190 services to the Redfern-Waterloo community.

The overall aim of the Human Services Plan is to produce a more efficient and effective system, especially for high needs clients.

Restoring Murawina on Eveleigh Street

The RWA's vision for the Block centres on the introduction of new and positive community facilities. Talks are underway with Murawina Limited and the Metro Aboriginal Association about repairing and refurbishing the former Murawina pre-school building on Eveleigh Street as a base for Indigenous enterprise, education and youth training. The old building has been significantly vandalised since Murawina moved to the former Redfern Public School site in 2003.

The RWA Board has allocated significant funding for the project, subject to an agreement addressing a number of issues including future uses by Aboriginal enterprises.

Youth Hooked on Fishing Clinic

The Redfern-Waterloo Authority in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries, other government agencies and the Tribal Warrior Association has developed a culture camp for young Aboriginal men.

Based on traditional and modern fishing methods the 3-day camp is a means of confirming and nurturing Aboriginal culture for young males in the Redfern-Waterloo area. The participants and their supervisors will begin each day with discussions around identity, health and current issues. Traditional dance will also be taught as part of the cultural enrichment program.

Involving 20 young participants and their mentors, the first camp will be held in October. A planning day was recently held by agency representatives aboard the Tribal Warrior vessel "Deerubbun" to finalise the camp details and to scope out the ongoing program which will include similar camps for girls.

The "Tribal Warrior" sailing Sydney Harbour during NAIDOC Week, taken from the deck of the "Deerubbun".

Ministerial Advisory Committees Established

The Minister for Redfern-Waterloo has approved the appointment of a number of community representatives to the three Ministerial Advisory Committees of Built Environment, Human Services, and Employment and Enterprise.

Out of the more than 100 expressions of interest received from the Redfern-Waterloo community, 6-8 community representatives have been appointed to each committee, of which at least two are Indigenous people.

The Committees, which also include representatives from Commonwealth, State and Local Government, will provide advice to the Minister and the RWA for the purposes of complying with the Government's objectives for Redfern-Waterloo.

Saving Redfern Oval

The RWA has initiated talks about the future of Redfern Oval with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and the City of Sydney, which owns the site.

The Minister and the RWA have urged the Lord Mayor to seriously consider the ILC proposal to buy or lease the site for a centre of Indigenous sporting and cultural excellence which respects the Oval's proud rugby league history and heritage.

Unfortunately, the ILC has been advised the Lord Mayor does no support Indigenous management and control o£ Redfern Oval. The RWA will pursue this issue and continue talks with the ILC about investing in the area to benefit the local Indigenous community.

Redfern Oval has a great history and heritage.

Need assistance?

For more information or to send us your feedback please contact the

Redfern-Waterloo Authority,
Level 11, Tower 2,

1 Lawson Square, Redfern NSW 2016
Tel: (02) 9202 9100 Fax: (02) 9202 9111
Mail: PO Box 3332, Redfern NSW 2016
Email: redfernwaterloo@rwa.nsw.gov.au