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Background on REDWatch

This provides an overview of how REDWatch emerged in response to the issues facing Redfern - Waterloo and provides some idea of the diversity of the group.


Background on REDWatch


REDWatch grew out of community concern about the activities of the Premiers Department’s Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project (RWPP). While the RWPP had been working in Redfern – Waterloo for some time, it was not until they bought in consultants to “consult” about the infrastructure needs and development potential of the area in June 2003 that many in the community became aware of the NSW Government’s broader interest in the area.


There was general dissatisfaction with the RED Strategy consultation process and the way in which the RWPP was handling relations with the community and NGO’s. At the end of the RED consultation we were told that the Government would look at the suggestions from the consultation, do more work with government agencies and then bring back a Draft RED Strategy in early 2004 for further community consultation before submitting it to the South Sydney Council for their consideration.


There were discussions through the initial consultation about the need for a residents group push residents concerns but nothing eventuated until March 2003 when a decision to start a up a group came out of an ALP public meeting following on from the unrest on the Block earlier in the year. The initial group bought together some interested people from the ALP, Green Party and Reconciliation movement who were soon joined by others who had been monitoring the RWPP and various government responses to the events following the death of the Redfern youth earlier in 2004.


Monthly REDWatch meetings worked alongside the email updates produced by Lyn and Geoff Turnbull to keep people up to date with all the Inquiries and other government activities while the community waited for the Draft RED Strategy and subsequently the Morgan Disney Report into Human Services and the report of the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Redfern / Waterloo.


REDwatch was formed in the expectation that the Draft RED Strategy would soon be released and that it would be necessary to ensure adequate community participation in these and other consultations about the future of the area.


A Draft RED Strategy never came back to the community; instead the Premier announced that the State Government would establish a Redfern Waterloo Authority to implement an unseen Redfern Waterloo Plan (2004-14). REDWatch swung into action in response to this announcement and in response to the revelations of the Plan’s contents that were contained in the documents leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald.


By the time of the RWA Bill lobbying REDWatch involved representatives from all major political groups in Redfern / Waterloo, public and private tenants, home owners business and church people. A very broad group of people bought together out of a common concern to be able to have a say in decisions being made about their future.


On issues such as Redfern Oval, the Lawson Street Health Facility and local and state politics REDWatch members will often have differing views. REDWatch comes together however to push for the rights of the variety of voices that makes up Redfern – Waterloo to be seriously listened to by government so that decisions about the future of our suburbs will reflect the wishes and aspirations of those that live there and not just the interests of the government who is the areas largest land owner.


REDWatch is open to residents and friends of Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington and Waterloo. We recognise that suburbs surrounding Redfern – Waterloo are also affected by what happens in our area so we also encourage involvement from / liaison with these areas as well as from people with historical links to the area but who may not currently live in the area.


REDWatch monthly meetings usually start with a guest speaker followed by the REDWatch working meeting. This allows people who just want to come along and find out what is happening to do so without having to be involved further in the group.


REDWatch is also setting up working groups to meet between monthly meetings on specific areas of interest to monitor these areas and recommend policy and action by REDWatch. Areas for which we hope to set up working groups when there is sufficient interest includes RW Plan, Infrastructure, The Block, Housing, Communications, Employment, Human Services, Station, Transport, Heritage.


If you live in our area or share our concerns we would welcome your involvement in REDWatch. If you would like further information please contact us.