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You are here: Home / Other RW Issues / Public Housing / Redevelopment / Consultation & Community Engagement / What Should Happen regarding Consultation on BEP2

What Should Happen regarding Consultation on BEP2

REDWatch is concerned that the RWA will follow the same process used for their earlier Built Environment Plan (BEP) for BEP2 covering the public housing areas of Redfern and Waterloo. The earlier process involved removing the area from the control of council and only allowing a statutory exhibition. Here we raise some of REDWatch’s concerns.

REDWatch’s main concern is that residents be given the chance to understand and make input on the proposed BEP2 before it is placed on formal exhibition. This is particularly the case where controls are being proposed across public housing estates where people are less likely to understand planning instruments as they are not private land owners.

When the City of Sydney Council formed their proposed controls for this same area in 2006 there were a number of opportunities for community input. You can see the City of Sydney proposals in the City of Sydney Urban Design Study and Public Housing section of the REDWatch website.

For their first BEP the RWA placed their proposals directly on public exhibition and where there were omissions or problems the RWA’s subsequent corrections / revised proposals were not subject to exhibition or consultation. During formal exhibition only written submissions are considered so verbal comments at displays and other activities do not have to be addressed because they are not written submissions to which the proponent (in this case the RWA) is required to respond by the Department of Planning.

REDWatch is of the view that the Council process which allows opportunity for community discussion and input prior to the formulation of draft controls and then consultation on the draft controls before public exhibition is far superior to the process that has been used by the RWA.

While the RWA has a “Ministerial Advisory Committee” on the Built Environment (BEMAC) this committee was never shown the proposed controls for BEP1 or asked for any input prior to the plans being placed on exhibition.

To date the BEMAC has also not been shown what is proposed for BEP2 but they have been advised that they will be shown the proposal when it is ready to go on exhibition – it is a “Ministerial Advisory Committee” in name only, having also never met with the Minister in almost 6 years!

The only BEP2 related advice requested of the BEMAC was in July 2009 when the RWA and Housing NSW produced a Draft “Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan 2 Community Consultation Framework”. This framework was also the subject of consultation by HNSW with public tenants and local agencies.

REDWatch made extensive comments on this draft including on consultation and Capacity Building and for support for a community submission phase prior to the Formal Exhibition.

Following consultation however this framework has never been publically released although HNSW has been engaged in activities consistent in part with the “Consultation and Capacity Building Phase” of the initial framework since mid-2009.

Housing NSW and RWA’s on comment on consultation and the BEP2 was made in November 2010 in Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan Stage 2 (BEP2) Update November 2009 when they said:

We want you to have a say on the BEP2

Housing NSW and the RWA will be conducting a thorough consultation process. We want public housing residents and the broader community to tell us what they think about the plan and give us their ideas for the renewal of public housing areas in Redfern and Waterloo.

We will give you the information you need to comment on the BEP2. We will hold large and small consultation events so you can understand what's in the plan and how it might impact on you, and then ask for your feedback on what the plan proposes. We will hold sessions in the main community languages. There will be lots of opportunities to get information and to have your say.

We will then assess what you told us, and incorporate, where possible, the community's comments on the plan. We will give you feedback on how the plan may have changed and if community views could not be taken into account, why not.

It has become increasingly apparent however that the BEP2 consultation will be limited to what happens during a formal exhibition period and that there will not be an opportunity for input into the proposals before they are placed on exhibition by the Department of Planning.

As there is no process for feedback to the community in the normal exhibition process it is difficult to know how RWA and HNSW propose to deliver on the undertaking given by them in November 2009.

Housing NSW, now that they have received Federal Government, funding for a separate Master Planning process over the Redfern and Waterloo housing estates are distancing this process from the RWA’s BEP planning controls. REDWatch is very concerned that there no Community Consultation Framework for either process.

As the RWA seems committed to the exhibition only model then we expect that the “Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan 2 Community Consultation Framework” will be released at the point of exhibition and detail what the RWA proposes to do during the exhibition period.

REDWatch is of the view that such an approach is totally unsatisfactory and we will publically objecting to any consultation which only relies on the formal exhibition process.


Some of the points raised by REDWatch on the RWA Draft “Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan 2 Community Consultation Framework” are provided below as an indication of some of the issues raised by REDWatch. Other points that REDWatch was in agreement may heve already been in the draft and hence not be indicated below. As the points below were extracted from the original RWA Draft we have retained parts of the original Draft in places for clarity and REDWatch comments are in bold italics.


  • Recognition of consultation to date and apologies that the BEP2 was not released last March as the community was initially advised.
  • This will also need to address why the new controls proposed by the CoS are not adequate and why the NSW Government wants to take planning control away from the CoS
  • Clear explanation of what planning controls are and are not, and what the scope of the BEP2 is for non planning people.
  • There will need to be some information provided on how the public / private housing will be spread / grouped
  • Given history many will not believe this [The community will be fully engauged and consulted on all future proposals for renewal and redevelopment in social housing areas] or the first part of the item below [Specific redevelopment proposals will be developed in close consultation] - so there will need to be something to address the credibility problem 


Minister for Planning and Department of Planning

  • Possible declaration of site as state significant site and determining authority and if so to explain why it can not be done through CoS and its proposed controls


  • The RWA Built Environment advisory group with some community participation which has not been involved in the development of the BEP2 in any way. Hopefully we will be briefed as soon as it goes on exhibition unlike with BEP. Key community advisory group.

Human Services ISOG

  • Responsible for the Human Services plan and ensuring delivery of human services support to high needs people in public housing to ensure minimum adverse impact on their neighbours. [ Has this aspect of concern to the community been addressed by the ISOG & Consultation?]

Non-Government HNSW Funded Services

  • Services such as HCP and TPRS which are funded by HNSW to consult and work with HNSW residents. Many other non – government agencies offer services and run groups within the HNSW estates in Redfern & Waterloo. These provide existing mechanism for consultation. Some of these services would be better placed to undertake consultation than external consultants since they know the area, the networks etc.

Neighbourhood Advisory Boards

  • The Redfern and Waterloo NABs and associated structures (such as Waterloo NABs Action Groups and Tenant Participation Precincts) provide the formal voice for HNSW tenants to HNSW and other Government Services and are the prime HNSW tenant voices.

Note there is also no mention of non public tenant organisations such as RWCC (business) and REDWatch (including private residents in the area)


It is unclear as to what information is being disseminated, consulted on and what can potentially change prior to the formal exhibition of the BEP2. Is this saying BEP2 will be exhibited and that the results of the consultation can change something in the formal BEP2 SEPP or is this an information dissemination in which case it should not be called a consultation rather information dissemination prior to the formal DoP exhibition.

At the beginning of the information process the RWA should report back on the earlier consultation undertaken by Linda Stevens and RWA staff. This is seen as important by many who made input earlier and is seen indicative as to if people’s input will be listened to in this phase.

  • Details of methods used for projecting future demographics/ needs/ household make ups for both public and private etc.
    • Report back on earlier HNSW tenant consultations. Failure to report on earlier RWA consultations strengthen cynicism about consultation and are a key part of consultation fatigue.
  • Consultation and Capacity Building Phase - Capacity building of whom to do what? What is being consulted on at this stage?
    • Will NABs and existing groups be able to book someone to come and talk to their existing group and will such comments be fed into the process or must it be written submissions?
  • Public submissions Phase – .
    • Support for residents to write submissions How will this be conducted and who will independently supply this?
    • Report on consultation outcomes (by Independent Contractor) Can the consultation outcomes change the Exhibited BEP Proposal?
  • BEP2 Proposal Exhibited – To be advised
    • Public submissions – 2nd round of submissions – this time to  DoP – will preparation of these submissions also be supported?
  • Exhibition Close – To be advised(6 - 8 weeks after BEP 2 is exhibited). Prefer 8 week exhibition depending on what is done in earlier phases.
  • RWA Response to Submissions – To be advised - This needs to also have a public component and not like North Eveleigh where RWA would not talk about their preferred project report which was on the DoP website until it was approved by the Minister. I would suggest RWA prepare a Draft response for discussion back with the community before they prepare their Preferred Proposal to be submitted to DoP. People need to be aware of how to access the preferred proposal submitted to DoP so they have opportunities for people concerned about aspects to continue to lobby for changes they may believe are still required.


  • Seperation of Community facilitation from the interests of:
    • HNSW as the land owner
    • RWA as the Consent Authority required by Government to deliver BEP2
    • The Minister as responsible for RWA, DoP and is the local MP to make representations about community concerns. (The Minister has an arrangement to step aside for the assessment of major project Applications in her electorate – will this apply to this consultation?)
  • Suspicion of both HNSW and RWA commitment to genuine community consultation based on earlier purported “consultation” experience
  • Concern that HNSW are not managing existing housing stock and tenancy issues well and that this will also impact future consultation and the eventual re-development and its management. 
  • Availability and sourcing of governmental staff and government retained contractors – there is a current recently announced embargo on the employment of additional staff and issuing of new contracts to ‘consultants/contractors by NSW government departments/agencies –  will this impact on the availability of HNSW & RWA to deliver the independent external consultants / support proposed?