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New Minister for Redfern-Waterloo

Last month saw NSW politics in turmoil with a new Premier and Deputy Premier, and the departure from the scene of Frank Sartor, the former Planning Minister and the Minister responsible for the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. Kristina Keneally, the former Minister for Ageing and Disability, was given Frank Sartor’s previous areas of responsibility, alongside her being the Member for Heffron. Some are suggesting that this may be a problem, others that local people will find her easier to deal with than her predecessor. The SSH asked Geoff Turnbull of REDWatch to collate a few questions for Ms Keneally reports the South Sydney Herald of November 2008.

Q. When setting up the RWA, Frank Sartor told residents he hoped his successor would not change what he put in place. Will you review the implementation of the RWA Act?

There are no plans to review the Redfern-Waterloo Authority Act.

Q. Central to the success of plans for Redfern Waterloo is what happens with Redfern Station. Minister Watkins’s promise of community consultation on the design options while still on the RWA website has never happened. Will you release the proposed and preferred options for community comment?

The Government has determined that the net proceeds from the sale of surplus lands at North Eveleigh will be committed to the upgrade of Redfern Station. When detailed proposals for the upgrade are developed they will be subject to community consultation in the normal manner.

Q. Minister Sartor promised quarterly community meetings with residents but never delivered, he set up “Ministerial Advisory Committees” that the minister never attended and which don’t ask for advice. What will you do to provide community input into the RWA?

The RWA has numerous mechanisms for seeking community input into the work it undertakes, including Ministerial Advisory Committees. These mechanisms have proved to be effective and I intend for these to continue.

In my view, community input must take several forms. It bears remembering that the RWA has sought community input on each of its major plans: Human Services, Built Environment, and Employment & Enterprise Plan. The consultation provided not only the opportunity for submissions, but also information sessions – at various times of the day and with interpreters – to facilitate input from as wide a range of people as possible.

Of course, other projects undertaken by the RWA also seek public comment. For example, the Eveleigh Heritage Walk Project Application just came off public exhibition in August.

As the local member, I also regularly hold mobile offices, as well as meetings with public housing residents, in the Redfern-Waterloo area. This supplemental source of information will be of great use to me as the Minister for Redfern-Waterloo.


Q. What will you do to ensure that public tenants in Redfern-Waterloo receive the level of services needed to enable them to live harmoniously in an increasingly gentrified high density area?

The RWA's Human Services Plan is premised on the more efficient and effective delivery of human services. The work currently being undertaken by the RWA and Housing NSW on Stage Two of the Built Environment Plan is also intended to deliver improved public housing over time.

Q. Redfern-Waterloo is cut off from the Station by the impact of the twin arterial roads of Gibbons and Regent. Is this an issue you will address as Minister for Planning and Redfern-Waterloo? 

Improved connectivity is a key objective of the RWA's Built Environment Plan (Stage One) and will be addressed through future developments in the Regent St/Gibbons St commercial precinct and through the upgrade to Redfern Station.

Q. Do you support an integrated Heritage Interpretation Strategy across the entire Eveleigh Railyard Heritage precinct?

The RWA is undertaking a heritage interpretation strategy for the Eveleigh rail precinct.

Photo: Ali Blogg - Kristina Keneally

Source: South Sydney Herald November 2008