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Have You Heard - The Fast News March 2008

Trevor Davies in Have You Heard – The fast News in the South Sydney Herald of March 2008 has reported on a number of Redfern Waterloo items which we have reported below:

Planning for dry alcohol facility in Redfern is well advanced

Some years ago Clover Moore, then Member for the old seat of Bligh, chaired one of the most interesting meetings I’ve ever attended.

It was held in the old Surry Hills Library on Crown Street. It was a meeting to discuss a compassionate response to the age-old problem of street drinking.

At that meeting to support Clover was Kristina Keneally with whom she had called for a wet centre in the inner city at the State Government’s Drug and Alcohol Forum.

Fast-forward to 2008 and Geoff and Lyn Turnbull’s Redfern Waterloo Update reports that “the Redfern Waterloo Authority in their submissions to the Upper House inquiry into Aboriginal Disadvantage announced that both the RWA and the City of Sydney were supporting a dry centre in Redfern. It’s proposed that the centre will cater specifically for Aboriginal men.

“This project has attained support from the NSW Department of Housing in the provision of a facility with the RWA allocating funding for the refurbishment of the building. Funding is being sought from the Commonwealth to operate the service.”

In another point the RWA flags the “development and implementation of a range of actions through the Waterloo Green Action Plan to address the health needs of street drinkers”.

The submission from BABANA Aboriginal Men’s' Group to the inquiry provides a rationale for the establishment of such a centre. “BABANA respectfully suggests therefore that, rather than embarking on ineffective, policing responses and the creation of Alcohol Free Zones, the Australian and NSW Governments and the City of Sydney should establish a multi-purpose Aboriginal men’s community facility in Redfern and assist it to move to financial viability and sustainability and independence.”

[REDWatch Note – The print version of this story wrongly quotes the Redfern Waterloo Issues Update and the RWA Submission. Both refer to a proposal for a “dry” centre and not to a “wet” centre – this electronic version has been corrected.]

What’s wrong Matt? Why won’t you talk to tenants?

It was late last year that we reported that the Housing Minister was going to pay a visit to the Redfern Waterloo Housing Estate. Did he meet with public housing tenants? The answer is, No. He met, then, with members of the Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and toured the estate in their company. One of the Chamber members told this column he seemed more interested in cost recovery then making life better for its tenants. When the SSH tried to get a photo he avoided our photographer.

As we go to press Matt still hasn’t met with the tenant groups. He seems to prefer the company of developers. That’s a worry.

“Ronald” is Leigh

As Nick McCallum reports elsewhere in the paper there was a very boisterous meeting at the Wesley Centre chaired by the Lord Mayor to discuss the contentious Hillsong DA at Rosebery. Whether people at the meeting were locals or not became an issue with a request  for a show of  hands. It seems that most people who supported it came from outside the area. The Central Courier printed two letters in support of the DA. One was from a George Aghajanian, identified as the Hillsong GM. The other from a Ronald Coleman. The letter was headed “Residential Voices Agree”.

Ronald Coleman is Leigh Coleman, who until very recently was in charge of Welfare at Hillsong and then went on to run Hillsong Business Development and was involved in the development of the Rosebery DA. When we asked Leigh why the name change, and whether he thought in hindsight he should’ve disclosed his interest in Hillsong, he agreed and said he had written a second letter to the Courier.

Well, in case the Courier doesn’t publish Leigh’s clarification, we’re happy to help!

Sartor the Sheriff of Nottingham, says Mickey

This paper has been a long-time campaigner for the Pemulwuy project and has been a bit excited that perhaps the Government had backed off its hard-line stance. Geoff Turnbull reports:

“When the Aboriginal Housing Company put in its Preliminary Application for the Director General’s Requirements for the Pemulwuy project the DoP waived the initial fee. The AHC thought that that arrangement flowed through to subsequent fees however the DoP has advised the AHC that they will not waive the fee for subsequent parts of the process and hence, for the assessment of their Concept Plan to proceed, the AHC will need to pay around $60,000. The final processing fees could be at least three times the current fee. So far the Concept Plan has been put together by AHC supporters on a shoe string with pro-bono support from many professionals, but now the AHC has to come up with cold hard cash to pay for the assessment. The AHC is a lean operation these days providing affordable aboriginal housing with no government support (something the Department of Housing finds difficult even with the support of government). So finding $60,000, without strings attached and without eating into existing operations, is a big problem. The DoP’s refusal to waive the fees has upset AHC CEO Michael Mundine who compares the Minister with the Sherriff of Nottingham.”

The AHC initially told the DoP it would not pay for the project assessment, but rather than see the Block continue to sit idle and continue to provide a location for anti-social activity, they are looking for a solution with no strings attached. So if you think you can help change the Minister and DoP’s position or assist in some way please contact the AHC office.

Source: South Sydney Herald February 2008 -