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One of the major issues for any community is having a say in what happens within their community. Under local government you elect representatives and have guaranteed opportunities for involvement in the decision making process. With the RWA taking control away from local government these guaranteed opportunities for involvement are also lost and we have promises of consultation in their place. Trying to make real the language of consultation and turn it into partnership with the community has been one of the major challenges facing people living in the REDW area. Here we explores some of the history and some of the issues.
Discussions about consultation within Redfern Waterloo need to be made against the background of Premier's Departments Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project (RWPP) and the comments about the way the RWPP conducted government consultation in Redfern Waterloo. Here we outline that background.
Case Study 1 – The Legislation ‘Consultation’
The first opportunity for the community to assess the NSW Governments response to the "Inquiry into issues relating to Redfern and Waterloo" recomendations for improvements in the way the government related to the community came with the announcement to establish the RWA.
Case Study 2 – The Three Ministerial Advisory Committees
During the lobbying over changes to the RWA Bill there were numerous statements about how the new RWA would consult. The first experience of RWA 'consultation' came over the question of how the RWA would consult with the community.
Case Study 3 – Consultation with the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC)
For this case study we have looked at the 'consultation' surrounding the future of The Block. Lobbying by the AHC during the passage of the Bill sort to ensure that the RWA consulted with the AHC regarding the future of The Block. Their wish was to build on the work already undertaken with government for the Pemulwuy Housing project. How the RWA has handled this matter further illustrates their approach so far to 'consultation'.
One year after the RWA was announced the concerns of the comunities that make up Redfern Waterloo about the lack of genuine consultation and the lack of any real partnership with the NSW Government and the RWA remain.