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City of Sydney Involvement in the RWA

To understand the current relationship between the CoS and the RWA it is helpful to have a little background of some of the factors that have influenced how the relationship has emerged. From a residents perspective ideally the CoS and RWA should work together so that residents have, as much as it is possible, the same rights and proceedures under both administrations.


Inheritance from South Sydney Council


South Sydney Council had a partnership agreement with the Premiers departments RWPP and in late 2003 it was envisaged that the NSW government’s Draft RED Strategy would be implemented through the local council. The amalgamation of the City of Sydney and South Sydney and the ALP’s unsuccessful campaign to control the new council as it had the previous South Sydney Council probably caused the NSW Government to reconsider how they implemented their plans for Redfern Waterloo. During 2004 CoS maintained some involvement with the RWPP but this was limited to areas of direct concern to the CoS rather than CoS being involved in discussions about other issues that potentially impacted onto the area as appears to have been the case with the earlier South Sydney Council.


Clover Moore Opposes RWA Bill


Clover Moore shares the roles of Mayor of the CoS and NSW Legislative Assembly member for Bligh which covered some of the RWA area. As the RWA Bill was designed to allow the RWA to take control away from the CoS of certain functions, it is not surprising that Clover Moore was very active in her opposition to the establishment of the RWA and its powers as can be seen in the lower house debate on the Bill.


Changing Hats


With the announcement of the RWA CEO and Board further tensions emerged. The Minister Frank Sartor was an ex Mayor of the City of Sydney as was Board Member Lucy Turnbull. Minister Sartor and Clover Moore were both members of the NSW Legislative Assembly and she had won the Council against an expected win from Minister Sartor’s party. In addition the new RWA CEO Robert Domm had worked with the Minister as CEO of the CoS and had not long left after falling out the new Council.


Board Membership Problem


It was initially envisaged by the NSW Government that the Mayor of the City of Sydney Clover Moore would sit on the RWA Board. The Mayor, who is also the local member in the NSW Parliament, took the invitation to the CoS and expressed concern about the appointment given the substantial fines she could be exposed to if she took up the RWA Board position and then was critical of the RWA activities. Council decided that neither the Mayor of the CEO should be on the RWA Board but that there should be working Groups instead.


Peak Liaison


In May 2005 Peak Liaison Meetings were established to include Mayor Clover Moore, Minister Frank Sartor, their respective Chief Executive Officers and Chiefs of Staff. The meetings are planned to be held monthly. Ms Moore described the first meeting as “a positive start for a worthwhile ongoing process”. Meetings are to be “focused on achieving practical benefits for Redfern-Waterloo Community.” The Minister has also written to the Mayor proposing that Council officers participate in the in the various Ministerial Advisory Committees.


Other CoS Involvement


The CoS has continued to assigned a Project Manager to work on implementing initiatives to address issues within Redfern and Waterloo. This carries over from the earlier involvement of the South Sydney Council in the Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project. 


CoS have however not actively participated in the Human Service Advisory Committee of the RWA or in the cluster meetings which the HSAC convened as part of the process to create a Redfern Waterloo Human Services Plan


Looking Forward


Residents need active CoS engagement with the RWA.


As there is no representative process for resident or community to input into the RWA the community has to rely in part on their other elected representatives in local, state and federal government to represent their case.


Residents need the CoS and the RWA, as far as it is practical, to work together to ensure that there is as much uniformity in procedures and policy as possible so that residents do not have to know two sets of very different rules and procedures.


As a major human service provider in the area the community need the CoS to be engaged in any process of reorganizing the area’s human services.


Residents also need the CoS to remain actively involved in the normal council issues of the area so that the normal services and activities, such as the Redfern Street upgrade, go ahead.