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Differ on Redfern - 24 February 2006

This letter from Peter Valilis of the Aboriginal Housing Company Ltd Redfern ran in the Letters section of the SMH on 24th February 2006 in response to RWA Minister Frank Sartor's Opinion peice "Symbolism cannot solve unemployment and social misery" SMH February 22.

When I read the comments by Frank Sartor ("Symbolism cannot solve unemployment and social misery", February 22), I had a chuckle and thought to myself, "Which project is he talking about?" If I were to rebut all the mistakes Mr Sartor made I would run the risk of repeating myself ad nauseam. But I have to set the record straight on the issue of consultations with the NSW Government.

The minister would like to give the impression that the Aboriginal Housing Company is dragging its feet; however, for 2½ years the AHC worked hand in glove with the NSW Premier's Department on perfecting the social and urban planning for the Pemulwuy project, before we were stabbed in the back and Mr Sartor started making comments such as everything in Redfern is negotiable but the Block.

The minister also seems to have conveniently forgotten that Mick Mundine, my CEO, has briefed him twice in person since the racial insult on Koori radio. The AHC has also briefed Redfern-Waterloo Authority representatives about the project on many occasions over the past six months. Most recently our team met the Director-General of Planning to discuss how best to submit our development application under the new Redfern-Waterloo Authority planning guidelines. The government spin doctors are obviously out in force.

Peter Valilis Aboriginal Housing Company Ltd Redfern