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Alan Jones throws his support behind The Block's Pemulwuy Project - 01.09.2005

Alan Jones, 2GB broadcaster, has met with the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) and thrown his support behind their Pemulwuy Project. The project aims to replace deteriorated terrace housing on the Block with 62 new homes the South Sydney Herald September 2005 reports.

The AHC previously met with the Redfern Waterloo Authority (RWA) to discuss funding but negotiations between the two parties broke down when NSW Minister for Redfern Waterloo Frank Sartor said there would be no more than 19 properties on the site.

Jones said, "It seems to me that the people here (at the AHC) have runs on the board and that's very important. You can't beat "local knowledge when trying to revive a local precinct. The problem seems to be that there are people out this area who seem to think they know more than people inside the area".

Mick Mundine, CEO of the AHC, said he agreed with Jones. "It's our land and we should have the right to build what we want, like every other Australian. We are more than capable of finishing this project without the NSW Government, if that's what it takes".

Recent reports by the Southside News support the view that the RWA want to control the decision making process in regard to The Block. They quoted cabinet documents, which said the NSW Government had outlined a number of scenarios that would see the RWA gain effective control of The Block. The "worst case" scenario mentioned was AHC insolvency, and could see the "RWA compulsorily acquire the AHC land or NSW Government may consider legislation".

Jones was also concerned about the land surrounding The Block.

"We are going to have a fire sale of almost everything; the railway station, the area above, and other aspects of this environment. All are essential to history and heritage".

He suggested the culture that already existed in. Redfern could be used to generate income for the community. "This proposal would give this precinct a wonderful cultural centre, where on weekends there will be Aboriginal markets for black and white people to buy and sell".

Ultimately, Jones said, "The attempt here is to give Aboriginal people the dignity they want, and motivation they need. It's the environment they have sought forever. This is reconciliation: Giving Aboriginal people something they can be proud of and something we can all be proud of".

Peter Valilis, project manager at the AHC, said, "It was good to get a second opinion from someone as knowledgeable as Mr Jones, his advice and continued encouragement has really lifted our spirits".