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Tough times for Sartor - December 2005

Nami Kwon The Southside News 4/2005 p8 reports: Relations between the Aboriginal Housing Company, (AHC) and Frank Sartor, Minister for Redfern-Waterloo, boiled over in public a few months ago and discussions about redeveloping The Block as part of the Redfern Waterloo development plan came to a standstill.

Mick Mundine, CEO of the AHC, threatened legal action against Sartor for his now infamous "black arse" jibe on radio and urged a local boycott of the minister.   

In an open letter to the community, Mundine said if residents turned "a blind eye for long enough" the Minister would sell off other infrastructure in the developers.

"Redfern cannot move forward if Mr Sartor is still in charge," said Mundine.

The AHC was also angered by a report the NSW Government would try to oust Mick Mundine as CEO of the Aboriginal company.

The sticking point between the AHC and the minister has been the number of houses which should be built on The Block. The AHC want 62 but Sartor is adamant 19 houses should be the limit

Earlier this year Frank Sartor was under pressure to resign the Redfern-Waterloo portfolio. Opposition Leader Peter Debnam added his voice to the demand.

"Minister Sartor and Labor clearly want to remove Aboriginal residents from The Block so Treasury can reap top dollar," said Debnam in a press release.

Both the Liberal Party and the AHC wanted the Premier, Morris lemma, to lake over the Redfern Waterloo portfolio. The new premier backed Frank Sartor.

A spokesperson for the Minister confirmed his resolve to keep the portfolio. "The Minister is committed to his role as the Minister for Redfern-Waterloo... and Mr Sartor said he would continue to work diligently as Minister for Redfern-Waterloo," said Zoe Allebone.

Meanwhile, as both sides continue to row 250 Aboriginal families wait for homes on The Block.

REDWatch reported last week that there may have been a meeting between Mundine and the Minister in a bid to re-open discussions on the development of The Block. The meeting could not be confirmed.

The AHC wants the Minister to assess housing company's development application for The Block on its merits.

The company also wants guaranteed consultation with the Aboriginal community before anything on redeveloping The Block is included in the Redfern Waterloo Plan.