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Is Sartor taking the Micky? - 07.09.2005

It's open-letter season on the future of The Block. Report Alexandra Walker in Sydney Central Courier

When it comes to visions for the Block it is no secret that Redfern-Waterloo Minister Frank Sartor and Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) chief executive Mick Mundine don't see eye-to-eye.

In the first issue of the Redfern Waterloo Authority newsletter published last month, Mr Sartor devoted the front page to an open letter to Mr Mundine.

Beginning "Dear Micky", Mr Sartor wrote that the pair have known each other for 20 years, but disagree on the AHC's current proposal for the Block.

The number of dwellings to be built as part of a redevelopment of the area appeared to be the sticking point.

Under the Aboriginal Housing Company's Pemulwuy Project 62 new units and townhouses would be built on the site.

However, Mr Sartor only favours rebuilding 19 dwellings at the Block and would find a further 43 dwellings nearby. Beyond that Mr Sartor wrote "everything else is on the table for discussion".

"We disagree on your development plans because the Government believes it will repeat the problems of the past, but we are both passionate about making the Block a place of significance for Aboriginal people," Mr Sartor wrote.

The Minister went on to write that six months ago he proposed a joint task force of Government and AHC representatives to develop a "shared vision for the Block".

"You rejected this taskforce, and since you have been boycotting all discussions with Government," he wrote.

The Minister ended the letter, writing that his offer of six months ago still stood and urged Mr Mundine to "work together to find a shared vision for the Block”.