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REDWatch involvement with Redfern Brand

REDWatch is a member of the Roll Up Redfern Group which as one of its activities has developed the Redfern Brand. While REDWatch is a member of Roll Up Redfern, REDWatch has deferred use of the Redfern Brand on this website and elsewhere until there is greater community understanding of the need for the brand and community support for the new brand. This may happen as the result of a communications strategy which is being developed. REDWatch has argued unsuccessfully for much greater community involvement in the development of the brand and in testing the results within the community before the brand was adopted. Some of REDWatch's concerns were expressed in an email to the Roll Up Redfern Group on 7 July 2010. An excerpt of the email is provided below. For balance we have also supplied an extract of the RWA response. The community statement requested in the email was never produced. We provide this explanation in response to a number of questions and expressions of concern about REDWatch's association with the Brand project.

REDWatch email

REDWatch welcomes involvement on the Roll Up Redfern Committee as representing part of the area’s diverse interests. We appreciate the opportunity provided for the recognition of REDWatch as one of the voices in the community. While REDWatch has some reservations about the branding strategy and the statement, REDWatch is prepared to have its logo applied to the current statement for media dissemination. REDWatch does not consider it suitable for distribution in the local community as it does not contain the information needed and requires additional comment.

REDWatch is concerned that the statement does not provide the Redfern Waterloo community with information about the branding exercise, what it is, why it is being done, the process being used, what is hoped to be achieved and how it will benefit the entire community, including those in public housing. REDWatch considered that it is crucial for the community to “own” whatever comes from the process. This will be difficult if the diverse community is not kept abreast of what is happening as the process is undertaken. Unless the community participates in the process and benefit from what comes from project, the outcome will not be accepted.

REDWatch hence requests that a community statement addressing these issues be produced and made available so that the community has information about the branding project. Such a statement could be added to the RWA and REDWatch websites and disseminated via email.

REDWatch notes that Redfern Waterloo is not a “great place … to live, work and play” for all people including many of its public housing residents. What happens in Redfern & Waterloo needs to also ensure that public housing tenants have improved amenity and not less. REDWatch also notes that changes in the retail area may deprive the low income community of low cost services and goods and that this problem needs to be effectively addressed in promoting changes in the area’s housing and retail mix.

Finally REDWatch wishes also to make it clear that many of its members have reservations about the results of branding in other locations, its potential impact on the existing community and the current process. This leads to concern about the desirability of REDWatch being linked closely to the current process.

REDWatch’s involvement on the Roll Up Redfern Committee should not be seen as binding REDWatch to support the branding outcome if the process does not generate wide community support and ownership.

REDWatch will continue to advocate for residents interests inside and outside the Roll Up Redfern Committee on these issues.

(Excerpt from email from Geoffrey Turnbull to Roll Up Redfern Chair and Committee - 7 July 2010)

Reply from Roy Wakelin-King

Thank you for your note below and agreement to place the RedWatch logo on the press release. As the Chair of the Roll-Up Redfern Group I would like to make the following comments in relation to your note:

1. We are happy to prepare a community statement on this matter to provide further information to the community that would not be suitable for a media release. This will be circulated to the Roll-Up Redfern Group for comment accordingly.

2. We note that Redfern/Waterloo may not be a great place to work, live and/or play for some members of the community, however it is suggested that there Redfern/Waterloo has a strong community sense and that the majority of people are proud of the community and the area generally. This was the overwhelming response of the participants of the branding workshop who represented a great cross-section of the community, and it also a strong theme that comes across at the numerous public meetings that I personally have attended.

3. We note that Redwatch will not be bound by any decision of the Roll-up Redfern Group unless it explicitly advises that it agrees to this, however the Roll-Up Redfern Group looks to Redwatch to help inform the community of the outcomes of the group, particularly where consensus has been reached.

On a final matter, one of the key drivers in establishing the RUR group was to change perceptions of Redfern Waterloo, both internally and externally. Branding is but one of these strategies and should not be seen as the panacea of things that may be wrong with the area. The key to the success of the RUR role in the whole urban renewal process for the area is for all members to be actively engaged and look to making a positive difference. My personal observation is that there is tremendous good will around the table, which augers well for the potential success of this group.

We all look forward to RedWatch's continued involvement in RUR as we see this as a key part of the process going forward.

(Excerpt from email from Roy Wakelin-King Roll Up Redfern Chair to REDWatch Spokesperson Geoffrey Turnbull - 7 July 2010)