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AHC responds to Kristina Keneally's comments on the Block

The AHC has wriiten to local MP Kristina Keneally concerning recent comments she made in Parliament and at a RWA media conference. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Ms Keneally,

It has come to my attention, that recently in Parliament, you responded to Elizabeth Farrelly’s SMH article [a response you repeated in your E-Herald 3 March 2006 Edition]. In particular the AHC’s interest is in relation to issues you raised regarding the Block and the Pemulwuy Project; and my CEO Michael Mundine has asked me to write to you.  

I would like to take this opportunity to make two points, in keeping with the spirit of setting the record straight. Firstly, in the six years that I have been involved with the AHC’s Pemulwuy Project, for the life of me, I can not recall a single occasion where you have made inquiries with the AHC about the Project or anything for that matter in relation to the Block. Clearly then, wherever you are getting your information from it isn’t from the AHC, and considering we are the proverbial horse’s mouth, I’m concerned that the quality of your sources are somewhat poor. In contrast, Elizabeth Farrelly has made a point to visit the AHC on many occasions, on her own accord, for updates and briefings as to the progress of the Project. Consequently, I’m inclined to consider at this point in time Ms Farrelly’s views on these issues are more objective, and considerably more informed than yours. I offer the opportunity to correct this disparity of knowledge, and invite you to visit our office for a briefing on the Pemulwuy Project.       

My second point is regarding your claim that you “knew of many local Aboriginal people and groups who had concerns, or just did not support the Aboriginal Housing Company's proposal”. I have to tell you that gave us a good laugh here in the office, because Ms Kenneally, the bought opinions of Abo-crats on the NSW Government payroll are not worth the 30 pieces of silver your Government paid for them. On the other hand if there are genuine trepidations with individuals in the Aboriginal community I’m pleased to address them with each individual concerned. If these people actually exist kindly forward my contact details to them and extend my invitation to be briefed on the Pemulwuy Project.    

The Pemulwuy Project represents a good balance of high quality affordable housing, available for homeownership, and economic and education opportunities for Aboriginal families. The Project has been recognised internationally as best practice for its social planning and crime prevention strategies. The Project will not require a single cent of State Government money. Most importantly the Pemulwuy Project is an Aboriginal community driven initiative and not just another government plan forced on the community.  

Realistically, there is no group or community in the world that can claim 100% consensus on every issue every time [case in point: the Australian Labour Party] so why should the Redfern Aboriginal communities be any different? I’m sure you would agree that if the ALP was required to achieve 100% consensus on every issue before proceeding with a decision, your government would come to a grinding halt.

I await your response to my invitation. And I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Regards, Peter Valilis | Project Director


P.S. I have CC this letter to Elizabeth Farrelly; and REDWatch for distribution through their network, could you also please distribute it to your mailing list network?

Elizabeth Farrelly’s article referred to above was The reality behind the Redfern plan: a boon for the big end of town and Kristina Keneally's response in Parliament is contained at the end of a statement about Redfern Development .