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REDWatch Spokesperson Report for 2007-2008

As spokesperson I have been the public contact point for REDWatch. My office phone and mailbox have been given as the contact points for REDWatch, and I deal with a range of inquiries from the media, students, residents and the general public looking for information about REDWatch or issues connected to the area. Where possible I refer these inquires to others who can provide the assistance sort.

I have maintained the REDWatch website, selecting articles dealing with the area for the media section and producing updated sections documenting RWA changes and announcements. As an indication of the importance of the website in September 2008 the REDWatch website averaged 400 visits / 1500 pages and 8000 hits per day. The website fills the role of a virtual resource centre where people can access information about the area and this certainly helps handle some of the enquiries received over the phone. I want to thank Lyn for also assisting with the events section of the website and for talking with many of the students who approach REDWatch for assistance.

I would like to also publicly acknowledge the assistance of Nickolas Lam who has been responsible for hosting the REDWatch website. Nickolas provides the technical support on the website and since moving the site to external hosting has also been paying the hosting charges.

Over the year I have dealt with many media inquiries, background briefings and interviews which have helped to raise the issues of concern to REDWatch. I have also spoken on behalf of REDWatch at a range of public and consultation meetings and liaised with local agencies and other community groups and individuals about REDWatch issues. I have continued to sit on the Redfern Legal Centre Advisory Council and the Pemulwuy Project Team as REDWatch spokesperson.

Lyn and I have continued to produce our Redfern Waterloo Issues Updates (RWIU) which appear on the REDWatch website along with other material produced about the area from a multitude of sources. The RWIUs provide an up to date information source for REDWatch and for the broader community. While the RWIU is not produced by REDWatch, my role also as REDWatch Spokesperson does create the possibility that REDWatch will be impacted by what is said in RWIUs. When people ring it is seldom possible to know if they are approaching me as a result of REDWatch or as a result of the RWIU. There remains the possibility that REDWatch may be attributed with something I say personally but I endeavour to make it clear when officially speaking on behalf of REDWatch.

Currently I put around 30-40 hours a week into Redfern Waterloo activities in addition to my full time business. Changes in my business mean that at some point it will not be able to support me and provide the flexibility it currently does for Redfern Waterloo activities. To ensure an active voice into the future REDWatch needs to look at how we can spread the workload and provide opportunities for new people to be involved in a range of different ways in the group.

REDWatch has achieved much in its first four and a half years. REDWatch plays an important advocacy role in the area but much that could be taken up is not due to lack of people, skills, time and active government discouragement of advocacy. The challenge I see for REDWatch is to help provide the opportunities, skills and confidence to build up the voice of advocacy in Redfern Waterloo so that the communities have an ongoing active voice in areas future.

Geoffrey Turnbull


Spokesperson 2007-8