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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Government, UG, SMDA & RWA Statements / 2007 / Minister Sartor & RWA CEO’s Answers at Estimates Hearing – 15 October 2007

Minister Sartor & RWA CEO’s Answers at Estimates Hearing – 15 October 2007

Minister Sartor and RWA CEO Robert Domm appeared before NSW Parliament’s General Purpose Standing Committee No 4 for “Estimates Hearings” on 15th November 2007. The draft transcript includes how the Minister sees progress in Redfern Waterloo, CUB Voluntary Planning Agreements, Redfern Railway Station, Public housing Redevelopment, the RWA’s involvement in Human Services and Aboriginal employment.

Below is an extract from the uncorrected transcript where references were made to Redfern Waterloo. The full copy of the transcript can be found at – Full Uncorrected transcript (PDF 318 Kb) 


The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: Could you update the Committee on progress in the Redfern-Waterloo area?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: Yes. Just last week we approved the Indigenous Land Corporation's $30.6 million sports education and community centre located at Redfern Public School. It will be called the National Indigenous Development Centre and will provide local families with learning, recreational and employment opportunities. It includes a 25-metre swimming pool and a gymnasium. The National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia will be based there, as will the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, the Murraweena Child Care Centre, and the Exodus Foundation, which is run by Reverend Bill Crews and provides intensive literacy and numeracy training for kids between 10 years and 14 years who are struggling at school. The corporation will deliver also about 20 construction jobs out of this proposal for Aboriginal people.

We have approved also a concept plan for the redevelopment of the former Rachel Forster Hospital. The development value is about $70 million, and is estimated on completion to have 150 new residences and a thousand square metres of open space. The concept plan protects heritage items such as the surgery building and colonnade structures. We still have to lodge a project application but, in essence, this is used to fund the new $10 million community health centre at the courthouse and police station. Not only do we have the Indigenous Land Corporation investing a lot of money in Redfern Public School at a total investment about $45 Million, of which $30 million is in buildings, but also we are redeveloping Rachel Forster Hospital while preserving heritage buildings, selling it for residential housing. That money will be used in a deal with the area health service to provide this new multipurpose comprehensive health care facility at the courthouse and police station.

That is part of the brokerage role the Redfern-Waterloo Authority is providing in this area. In the Built Environment Plan the blueprint provides 444,000 square metres for new employment space, 2,000 new homes, a new town centre and better urban design. An affordable housing contribution plan will deliver some 75 new affordable housing developments in Redfern in the next 10 years. We released also the affordable housing planning agreement for Carlton United Breweries, which will provide 23 million traditional affordable houses over the next decade. We released a contributions plan to provide another $37 million in the future for important public works and community facilities. More than 180 jobs commissioned for indigenous people have been provided since the creation of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. It has negotiated more than 75 jobs for Aboriginal people on construction sites, and another 100 jobs will be created in the next 18 months. The number will increase as more projects come on line at the new Australian Technology Park, including north headland and so on.

The authority's employment and enterprise plan foreshadows opportunities for 18,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The authority established the Yamma Dhiyaan Training College. Upstairs you can receive a certificate in hospitality in the Yamma Dhiyaan hospitality training and function centre, while downstairs an eight-week Koori Job Ready Course in Construction is being conducted. The college also provides catering and function services that are creating employment opportunities for graduates. The authority is expecting soon to commence operating a commercial cafe at the Yamma Dhiyaan, thus providing further employment opportunities. That is not all. The Redfern-Waterloo Authority has achieved a lot in its very short life: a $47 million research building at the Australian Technology Park housing federal agencies is due for completion by the end of this year and will provide about 600 new jobs in the facilities. There has been $7.2 million in roads and infrastructure development at Australian Technology Park for completion in the next month or so to facilitate commercial growth over the coming years.

Early works start this month on a $123 million media hub, which is the Channel 7 and Pacific Magazines establishment. It is probably the largest single private sector investment in Redfern that we have seen for a very long time. It will bring 2,000 jobs to the area, with 600 jobs during construction and 60 jobs earmarked for unemployed Aboriginal people. This project is due for completion by the end of 2009. The Redfern-Waterloo Authority and the Australia Technology Park have jointly funded a $6 million Eveleigh heritage walk, a pedestrian cycle bridge linking Australian Technology Park and North Eveleigh with suburbs beyond, and a further $3 million is being committed to convert the heritage blacksmith workshop at North Eveleigh primarily for use as community markets. It is due to open in the middle of next year. That is situated right near the carriage works. We are seeing a flowering of that part of Redfern through jobs and investment. We are making sure on the way through that there are plenty of opportunities for Aboriginal people. I believe it has been an outstanding success and with the available resources has done a terrific job.


The Hon. DON HARWIN: Earlier we were talking about the application of levies to brownfield sites and the fact that that was already taking place. I would like to explore with you and Mr Haddad in some more detail exactly to what degree they are already being applied. Over the last year or two, how many brownfield sites in total have had levies applied to them? What proportion of the total applications does that represent?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: You are asking for details that I do not have with me. For example, the Yamba Blue Dolphin voluntary planning agreement was negotiated between the Clarence Valley Council and a developer. It provided for certain requirements. We had Carlton United Breweries with two voluntary planning agreements, with the Redfern-Waterloo Authority and the Minister for Planning, and it secured certain types of benefits. From time to time a lot of sites come up, not in the growth centres. The ones I have dealt with in Western Sydney have voluntary planning agreements, some that are in brownfield areas and some that are not. They are negotiated case by case. The important thing for us is to set out a coherent and consistent philosophy across the State which will inform voluntary planning agreements—


Ms LEE RHIANNON: Are there any plans to sell or lease land or air space as part of the redevelopment of Redfern railway station? If so, what is being considered?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: I will ask the chief executive officer to answer that question.

Mr DOMM: RailCorp and the Redfern-Waterloo Authority have participated in a joint concept study and that is as far as the work has reached on Redfern station. A number of options have come out of that study that need to be considered by Cabinet. Two of those options would involve a degree of private development alongside the railway station.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: When do you anticipate those plans will be made public?

Mr DOMM: After they have been to Cabinet and there is a Cabinet decision that allows that to be done.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: How is the redevelopment of the public housing plan in stage two of the Built Environment Plan to be funded?

Mr DOMM: At this stage we are operating on the premise that there is no new government funding. We are looking at opportunities for upgrading existing high-rise buildings and looking at low-rise estates to see what development potential there is to be retained.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: Would you be looking to sell or lease land currently occupied by public housing to fund the development?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: No. We are committed also to allocating funds for up to 25 new dwellings arising from the levy on Carlton United Breweries. At this stage there is no intention at all to reduce the amount of public housing in Redfern-Waterloo.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: With regard to the development and Department of Housing tenants, will those tenants who are moved during any redevelopment of public housing retain the same type of tenure or will they have to sign new fixed-term leases on relocation?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: At this stage we have no plans to move anyone. So that question is academic. At this stage we are looking at using funds we get from the Carlton United Breweries levy to provide some investment in public housing.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: So you are actually saying nobody will have to be relocated during the development phase?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: At the moment there is no plan to do any redevelopment phase other than the work the Department of Housing is doing down near the oval. It has an arrangement in place for which I am not responsible, and I direct your questions to the department. At this stage we do not have other redevelopment plans so, therefore, the question is academic.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: What money has been outlaid on direct service provision through the human services plan?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: There is some $30 million to $40 million spent annually in the precinct. I would prefer that you get a more detailed answer from the chief executive officer.

Mr DOMM: Is your question directed towards the global spend?

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I am particularly interested in the spending-client ratio of the programs that are funded?

Mr DOMM: The Redfern-Waterloo Authority is not a service provider, therefore, those community services are provided by other government agencies. I cannot answer that question.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: So if I ask how is it proposed in future to coordinate human services and employment of the human services plan when the funds are exhausted—because I understand that you do have some funds for that—you are saying that there is no further role for you?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: There is a bit of transitionary money. My understanding is that the issue was to do with research. The issue really is to make sure that the targeting of the $30 million to $40 million per annum spend of funds by existing government agencies is improved. That was the only issue I am aware of there.


Ms LEE RHIANNON: Back to Redfern Waterloo: What is the per capita funding spent on local Aboriginal people in the Redfern Waterloo Authority programs?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: We provide opportunities, rather than spend money, which we do. The $45 million investment in the Indigenous Land Corporation proposal at Redfern public school is quite significant. Robert Domm might have something to add to that.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I was interested in the per capita funding spent on Aboriginal people.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: Our main emphasis in Redfern is opportunities for people, rather than cash handouts. We do not do cash handouts.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I am not talking about cash handouts. I am talking about programs with funds spent on people so that they will have jobs.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: If you provide 100 jobs in construction for Aboriginal people, how would you measure that under your model?

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I do not have the resources that you do, Minister, and that is why I am interested in your answer.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: I am just trying to think how one would work out what is spent.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: That is why I am interested in your answer, because you have the resources and I do not. If you cannot answer it, fair enough.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: I do not think you can answer that sort of question, but Mr Domm will do so if he can.

Mr DOMM: I cannot answer the question because the funding comes from a range of sources, including the Redfern Waterloo Authority. I think the important point to note is that, despite popular perception, the Aboriginal residential population of Redfern Waterloo is numerically very small. Therefore, on a per capita basis, spending that goes into that area is quite high by comparison, because you are talking about 800 or so people comprising that population. Of course, there is a transient population, so it is very hard to quantify the figures, but from the 2001 census figures the residential population is just under 4 per cent of the total of Redfern Waterloo.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: Minister, how will issues of work readiness be catered for with the demise of the Redfern Aboriginal Corporation and the axing of CDEP?

Mr FRANK SARTOR: Which corporation?

Ms LEE RHIANNON: The Redfern Aboriginal Corporation.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: I am sorry. I do not understand the question.

Mr DOMM: The CDEP is a Commonwealth Government funded project, and the Redfern Aboriginal Corporation derives a lot of its funding from that project. So it seems to have fallen over as a result of that program being closed down. It has got nothing to do with Redfern Waterloo or the State Government.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: Surely you will be taking into consideration—considering that the Minister has said so many times—the commitment to providing more opportunities for Aboriginal people within the context of the Redfern Waterloo Authority's work.


Ms LEE RHIANNON: It has just been explained that the Federal programs have fallen over. Considering they have had some significance for work for Aboriginal people, surely given the context of the Redfern Waterloo Authority's work, you would take into consideration a response to that, because you have always addressed the issue of benefits for the Aboriginal communities when you have spoken of the Redfern Waterloo Authority's benefits to this area.

Mr FRANK SARTOR: I have read the list of things we have done for the Aboriginal community in Redfern, and it is quite an impressive list of things—jobs, training, and various programs. But, not only that, we have brokered with the Commonwealth a $45 million investment in the national indigenous development centre, which will have huge benefits for Aboriginal people. It will bring Aboriginal people to Redfern, and it helps to develop skills, and so on. So I think it is fair to say that you need to look at what we are doing, and what we are doing is very positive and quite substantial. The fact that the Federal Government may have discontinued one program is a matter for that Government. What we are doing is providing a lot of real opportunities. But we are also bringing prosperity and jobs to the area and, with that, we hope there will be even more opportunities. There will definitely be more opportunities for Aboriginal people. So ours is about giving people choices to pursue independence, rather than a question of starting to focus on one specific sub-program.