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Pemulwuy housing made more affordable

REDFERN: On October 20 Tanya Plibersek, Federal Member for Sydney, met with Mick Mundine at the office of the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) following its successful application under the Gillard Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). The scheme funds affordable rental housing, reducing rental costs for low and moderate income households and encouraging investment and innovative affordable housing reports the November 2011 issues of the South Sydney Herald.

All 62 housing properties in the Pemulwuy Project will be able to be rented at below market rates with the top-up funding from the Federal Government ensuring the long-term viability of affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block.

The Pemulwuy Project housing for Aboriginal tenants will consist mainly of two-storey townhouses, each with its own private front and back courtyards. There will also be some apartments at the top of The Block built above the new two-level Mundine Gym for professional and aspiring boxers. The different types of housing will allow older people to move from the larger housing into the apartments when their families grow up and leave home rather than have to move away from the area.

Ms Plibersek said, “I am very pleased to welcome this investment in the Pemulwuy Project through the Labor Government’s NRAS.”

Mr Mundine and Greg Colbran from Dei Corp, the AHC’s project manager, described the changes that have been made to the project in response to the Director General’s Requirements for its application to the Department of Planning for Concept Plan approval.

The size of the building on the corner of Eveleigh and Lawson Streets where the AHC’s new office and some street-level retail shops will be located has been scaled back to allow people leaving Redfern station a line of sight to the Redfern Community Centre through a plaza with eight or nine cultural interpretation points and panels to preserve the heritage of the area. An engraved pole on which the Aboriginal flag will proudly fly will be located outside a gallery space that will have a glass wall incorporating the image of the iconic painted wall on the side of the old gym that has dominated The Block since about 2005.

A 60-place childcare centre will be located around the corner in Caroline Street with its playground distancing it from existing terraces in the street. The AHC will lease the premises to an independent child-care provider. The housing to accommodate 105 students, to be built along the railway side of Eveleigh Street, will be operated by the AHC. Both these facilities will be available to Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal people, as Mick says it is important for the future that the next generation meet and grow up together.

Mr Colbran explained that some of these changes have been to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the project. “The balance is now right, with income to support ongoing maintenance and other costs.”

At the meeting Mr Mundine pointed to writing on a white board in the room and said: “See that – 10.30am October 13. That was the time I opened the [approval] letter. When I read it I was so thankful that I was crying like a baby.”

Photo: Geoff Turnbull  - Mick Mundine and Tanya Plibersek

Source: November 2011 South Sydney Herald http://www.southsydneyherald.com.au/