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REDWatch Co-ordination Group Report for 2018-2019

I would firstly like to thank everyone who has supported me and given me the opportunity to be the co-spokesperson for REDWatch. I am very passionate about the local community, with being involved and learning more about it.

This year has been the year of released plans and options with a lot of information for everyone in the community to get their heads around. We have seen changes to the Redfern Train Station with the upgrades to the concourse but still no clear plans to make it accessible for the platforms or to handle the growing number of people using the station each day. The Australian Technology Park (ATP) has seen the building starting here for the new Commonwealth Bank offices and the plans for the redevelopment of The Locomotive Workshop, which raises heritage issues.

The plans for the Waterloo Metro quarter have been released by Sydney Metro with little detail and no shadow diagrams. Some shadow diagrams created by the Future Method Studio created a stir giving us some understanding of the impact of the proposed heights on the surrounding buildings. The options for Waterloo Estate re-development have been released in outline with very little detail, which has caused confusion and frustration through our communities. You can see a full list of the sessions REDWatch has run this year at the foot of this report.

REDWatch has continued to work with other agencies especially through Groundswell to encourage transparency in the Waterloo Master Planning process and to try to ensure the best engagement processes and outcome for the community. REDWatch forums have tried to compliment the Waterloo Capacity Building sessions rather than repeat what others have been doing. We have participated in the Waterloo Redevelopment Group meetings with Waterloo tenants raising issues as necessary. As REDWatch is not funded, we have the ability to talk more frankly sometimes than others are able to in discussions with Government.

Human Services continue to be a major focus for REDWatch working with Counterpoint and Inner Sydney Voice. Last year we received agreement that there would be a human services plan to sit alongside the built environment plan for Waterloo. The struggle in the coming year is to get a plan that will make a difference. Early this year REDWatch produced a summary of the human services interventions that have taken place in Redfern and Waterloo since 2003 – you can see it on the REDWatch website. It shows all the human service plans and interventions undertaken that have gone nowhere and to pose the question: “what will this plan do differently so that it actually delivers?”

REDWatch is resisting the push to create an exhaustive plan that goes into every conceivable issue that needs to be responded to. Instead, we are pushing for a mechanism that will start to tackle a few systemic issues which, if they are addressed, will make a significant difference to public tenants. We have been working with LAHC and FACS Region on this. Time will tell if we succeed in getting the outcome we are seeking.

REDWatch has also continued to work with Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) in a second string to the human services bow. This has seen REDWatch co-sponsoring two health forums and participating in planning for a Waterloo Health Impact Assessment with SLHD.

REDWatch has continued to update the website, although as time goes on social media on Facebook plays a more important role complimenting the emails that we put out to keep the community updated on the latest news around sites like the ATP and the Redfern and Waterloo redevelopments. We also continue to assist journalists, students and researchers, as we are able to help people get a better understanding of the issues of concern to residents.

REDWatch members have been very active throughout the community attending other community meetings such as the recent Jenny Leong MP meeting on Darlington/Redfern/Eveleigh/Waterloo and Clover Moore’s meeting on Waterloo. We have also spoken during the year to planning and student groups.

I would like to thank those who have served on the Co-ord group over the past with me and Geoff Turnbull, my other Co-Spokesperson. Jenny Sams has served as Secretary, Zoe Dunford as Treasurer, Michael Shreenan as Convenor, Jose Perez as public officer along with Damien Minton as a Co-ord member. We have run with a couple of vacancies on the Co-ord this year and I would encourage our members to consider stepping forward to help organise the program and activities that REDWatch undertakes.

It is pleasing to see REDWatch still in existence 15 years down the track, still implementing the charter that was put together in 2004 when it was founded. With much remaining to be done we hope that REDWatch will continue to bring in new people to stand up for the community into the future.

This year we have had the passing of a long term REDWatch member; Irene Doutney. She was an amazing part of the community and gave so much to REDWatch, other organisations and the community. Irene was a very active tenant voice in 2011-12 when the RWA and HNSW put up their previous plans to redevelop the Redfern and Waterloo public housing estates. She is sadly missed. Vale Irene Doutney.

REDWatch Meeting Activities since July 2018:

  • July 5 2018 - Open Mic night
  • August 2 2018 – Build to Rent vs Build to Sell
  • September 6 2018 – LAHC - Waterloo Estate Options Explained
  • October 4 2018 – REDWatch 15 year celebration and AGM
  • November 1 2018 - Workshop on Waterloo Estate Options
  • December 6 2018 - UrbanGrowth and Sydney Metro on Metro Quarter SSP and SSDA exhibitions. Followed by the REDWatch end of year get together
  • February 7 2019 – LAHC explains Waterloo Estate Preferred Option
  • March 7 2019 - Meet the State Candidates Election Forums – Newtown
  • March 13 2019 Meet the State Candidates Election Forums - Heffron
  • April 10 2019 - Federal Candidates Forum for Seat of Sydney – 7pm Wed 10th April
  • May 2 2019 - BEYOND BRICKS & MORTAR POSTER - A meal and talk with Professor Jim Ife
  • June 6 2019 –TfNSW - Redfern Station is accessibility finally here?
  • July 4 2019 - Redfern Station update and discussion of response
  • August 1 2019 – LAHC “Build to Rent” and Redfern Station update
  • September 5 2019 - Improve how Health works for you and the broader services system
  • October 3 2019 – AGM –City of Sydney’s strategic planning

Alice Anderson Co-Spokesperson