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Sartor must change or stand aside - 21st September 2005

Redfern Aboriginal Authority Media Release

Redfern Aboriginal Authority CEO, Sol Bellear today wrote to Planning Minister, Frank Sartor offering to broker talks with the Aboriginal Housing Company to get the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo back on track.


Mr Bellear said the indigenous community had been angered by Minister Sartor’s approach before his recent inappropriate comments.


“Frank’s apology would be more readily accepted within the Aboriginal community if we believed he was fair dinkum about changing aspects of his style that have got people off side,” Mr Bellear said.


“The real source of the problem is not so much Frank’s recent remarks but the fact that he tends to lecture Aboriginal people rather than listen to us with an open mind.”


“I understand the Aboriginal Housing Company would be happy to talk to the Government about how the Pemulwuy Project could be improved.  But rather than approach the issue with an open mind, the Minister has ruled out the project and ridiculed their plans,” Mr Bellear said.


Mr Bellear said that Aboriginal leaders support the Redfern Waterloo Authority and the redevelopment of the suburb. 


“But we want to do this with a Minister who acts like a genuine partner rather than a dictator,” he said.


Mr Bellear said he hoped Minister Sartor would respond to his approach in the constructive way it was intended.


“If the Minister just swallows some of his pride and is genuine about changing his approach, then I’m sure we can get things back on track.”


“Otherwise, I’m afraid it will be very difficult for me to convince Aboriginal leaders to have anything more to do with the Redfern Waterloo Authority or its Minister.  If this happened, there would no alternative than for the Minister to step aside,” Mr Bellear said.


Media contacts:           Sol Bellear or Gary Highland



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