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REDWatch Co-ordination Group Report for 2012-2013

REDWatch Co-ord Report 2012-2013
Following a hectic year of Housing NSW (HNSW) / Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) “consultations” on the Preliminary Master Plan (PMP), 2012-13 was a quite year on the re-development front with HNSW/LAHC waiting for the release of the planning controls as part of the Built Environment Plan for the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo public housing before finalising their PMP. It took REDWatch the entire 12 months to get a reply from the Department of Finance and Services about the release of the finalised PMP and even after this long, the response left a lot of wriggle room.

One of the focuses of 2012-2013 was a push to try and get a new co-operative mechanism between Government Departments to improve human services co-ordination for high needs people especially in
public housing. Health’s push to implement its approval for an Automatic Needle Dispensing Machine in front of the Redfern Health Centre provided the opportunity to get Health much more involved in the local community and in talking to other services. In the end we achieved part of our goal in that there are now monthly human services co-ordination meetings but the outcome we worked for was undermined by Health and Police pushing the new human services group into a focus on drugs and health. Building a broader integration of Human Services remains a goal for REDWatch. This is especially important to ensure that high needs people placed into public housing have the necessary support to ensure that they can maintain their tenancy and not disrupt the quite enjoyment and perceived safety of their neighbours.

A major focus for the year was the NSW Governments proposal to change the Planning System which saw REDWatch actively involved in community forums and discussions about the Green and White Papers and the proposals they contained. REDWatch was an early member of the new Better Planning Network (BPN) in which grew out of concerned community groups in August 2012. Thank you to Irene Doutney, Desley Hass and Bruce Lay who took on some of the Co-ordination for REDWatch with the BPN and the campaign. Geoff Turnbull also became involved in a number of community meetings for BPN and in meetings with the Department’s Director General and the Minister. REDWatch made significant submissions on the Green and White Paper.

The Draft Metropolitan Strategy came out before the white paper and REDWatch argued that it should be bought back under the New Planning System rather than rushed through before it. A REDWatch initiated petition to this effect generated 725 signatures, submissions and emails to the Minister and the Planning Department. This accounted for almost 15% of submissions on the New Planning System. A little over 400 submissions were received on the Metro Strategy and the petition was treated as one document not 725. If they had been counted as submissions they would have been 63% of submissions on the Metro Strategy.

The year also saw the demise of another Government body with responsibility for Redfern & Waterloo with the end of the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority (SMDA) when it was renamed the UrbanGrowth Development Corporation (UGDC) and merged with Landcom to form UrbanGrowth NSW (UGNSW). While UGDC retained responsibilities for BEP2 and work on North Eveleigh it was UGNSW that emerged as the lead agency when it was announced that the RWA’s previous planning work would be revisited within the new build over the railway line - Central to Eveleigh Corridor Project.

REDWatch continued to be active in the Lift Redfern Campaign with many REDWatch members being active in the campaign. The year saw the presentation of over a petition with over 11,000 signatures, a Parliamentary debate, a second on-line petition and after much behind the scenes work finally an announcement of one lift for Redfern Station! Everyone is to be congratulated for their hard work.

REDWatch remained active in broader community initiatives. It continued its membership of the Roll Up Redfern Committee with Council, SMDA / APT, South Sydney Business Chamber and the Rabbitohs.
Throughout the year Geoff Turnbull started to step back and he will be replaced by Irene Doutney as the REDWatch representative on Roll Up Redfern.

REDWatch continued its active involvement in the Groundswell Coalition which undertook community building training courses for local workers and residents during the year.

The REDWatch website has continued to play a central role in making available information about important events, news and developments in Redfern and Waterloo. REDWatch also has been able to submit several submissions on Government policy, based on the feedback from the community.

In the Heritage area REDWatch has kept a watching brief on Eveleigh Heritage Issues. We are encouraged by Council resolving to request Minister Hazzard to re-establish a Redfern Waterloo Heritage Taskforce and if this does not happen Council has resolved to use their good offices to try and establish a committee around shared interest of residents and occupants of the former Eveleigh Railway workshops.

Geoff Turnbull continued to be the public contact point for REDWatch dealing with a range of inquiries from the media, students, agencies, residents and the general public looking for information about REDWatch or issues connected to the area. One of the important areas for the spokesperson is dealing with many media inquiries, providing background briefings on issues, talking to students, doing interviews and referring media to people who should be spoken to for a story. This helps to raise the issues of concern to REDWatch but not necessarily with it always being associated with REDWatch’s name. Geoff has also continued to write for the South Sydney Herald.

With Geoff’s work situation changing he has less time available to undertake REDWatch activities and we need to either find new people to assist in undertaking some of the REDWatch workload or cut back on some of the activities we have undertaken in the past.

REDWatch office bearers in 2012-13 were Convenor - Michael Shreenan; Secretary - Jose Perez; Spokesperson - Geoffrey Turnbull and Treasurer - Ross Smith. Together with Irene Doutney, Michael Chapman and Desley Hass they made up the REDWatch Co-ord Group. The Co-ord Group deals with the facilitation of meetings and forums and with formulating and implementing REDWatch’s response to the issues that arise. It meets monthly but is also active in email discussion through the month as required. The C0-ord Group meetings are open to members and this is a good way to become more involved.

REDWatch has continued to take the initiative in discussions about the issues of concern to us by inviting key people to forums, meetings and roundtables on a wide variety of community issues. Below is a list of meetings REDWatch has been involved in over the period of this report.

5th July 2012 – Community Engagement – Beyond the Tick Box
2nd August 2012 – Heffron By-election meets the candidate’s forum
16th August 2012 – Local Government Election – meet the candidate’s forum
6th September 2012 – Place management – does it work?
4th October 2012 – Roundtable on Community Safety
23rd October – State planning Changes Forum
1st November 2012 – AGM & Residents Research Bill of Rights Presentation
8th December – End of year Celebration
7th February 2013 – Presentation by UrbanGrowth NSW
7th March 2013 – Roundtable on Building Community
4th April 2013 – Exploring Mental Health Support Services
1 May 2013 – Planning White Paper Forum
2 May 2013 – Roundtable on Diversity or Division
6th June 2013 – Roundtable – REDWatch now and in the future
4th July 2013 – Roundtable on NIMBYs
1st August 2013 – Roundtable Density – Must it be Highrise
2nd September 2013 – Federal Election Heffron Candidate’s Forum
3th October 2013 – AGM & Roundtable The Elderly – The Overlooked Generations
Geoff Turnbull on behalf of the REDWatch Co-ord Group