You are here: Home / Media / Secret makeover plans for Redfern leave locals far from happy

Secret makeover plans for Redfern leave locals far from happy

The Redfern Waterloo -Authority (RWA) and Rail Corp's joint design plan for the development of Redfern station was completed in early September. The RWA had earlier informed residents that it would consult with them about the plan, which is expected to include commercial development around the station reports Angela Dewan in Precinct southside Issue 4/2007 in November 2007.

Instead the plan remains secret. In reply to a parliamentary question from NSW Legislative Greens Councillor Lee Rhiannon on October 15, RWA chief executive Robert Domm said the options would be considered by The NSW Cabinet and would only be publicly released after Cabinet made a decision. The lack of openness around the station plan has led community watchdog organisation REDwatch to complain about RWA secrecy. (See street team story on this page).

Local resident and spokesperson for REDwatch, Geoff Turnbull, told Precinct southside: "Everything is conducted behind closed doors until you get to the point where they've made the plan and then it's put on exhibition. The RWA Act leaves everything up to the discretion of the Minister."

The RWA Minister is Mr Frank Sailor who is also minister for planning.

Secrecy over redevelopment plans for the station is just one issue which concerns REDwatch.

The organisation, which represents a wide spread of community interests is also disappointed that entries to a RWA design competition for the redevelopment of North Eveleigh Railway yards will not be open to the public until a decision has been made.

Set up in 2004, the RWA was given planning control of the Redfern Waterloo area by the NSW government. This wrested control of planning and development from the Sydney City Council.

At the time, local independent MP and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore warned parliament: "the worst outcome would be that the new authority would simply add another layer of bureaucracy, alienate the community and ... the whole project would end up being nothing more than a real estate development exercise."

In 2005, RWA attempted to allay these fears by including in its first public newsletter a section titled How Your Voice Will Be Heard which promised at least four community forums a year open to the public. Geoff Turnbull said only one public meeting, which was exclusively on the topic of public housing, has ever been held.

The RWA also set up several Ministerial Advisory Committees. Helen Campbell, executive officer of Redfern Legal Centre was invited to be a member of the Human Services Committee.

She said: the minister did not attend the meetings and the minutes never recorded what comments anybody made: "So you couldn't look at those minutes and know what my input was."

Like Mr Turnbull, Helen Campbell, who was not reappointed after her term expired this year, said she believed the RWA Act had the effect of removing the democratic rights of Redfern Waterloo residents.

Source: University of Technology Precinct Southside Issue 4/2007 page 2.

Publications from the UTS School of Journalism can be found online at and at