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Sartor makes land claim for Redfern’s Block

This was the second of two REDWatch media statements issued on 30th May 2005 when the RWA State Significance boundaries for Redfern Waterloo were discovered in the Government Gazette. This Media statement was issued with contacts for other interested organisations in Redfern Waterloo.



Sartor makes land claim for Redfern’s Block

The state government has taken planning control of Redfern’s Block from the City of Sydney by declaring it and other surrounding privately owned lands as state significant under the Redfern Waterloo Authority. The declaration also includes Government land along the railway corridor.

The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) that wants to develop the Pemulwuy housing project now has to get Frank Sartor’s approval for the project to proceed. Frank Sartor has previously told the AHC that he does not want the Aboriginal housing project to proceed. The Block was given by the Whitlam Government to the Aboriginal Community to provide housing.

Community Group REDWatch has come out strongly in opposition to planning control of the Block being taken from City of Sydney. “Passing planning control to Frank Sartor who has already told the Aboriginal Housing Company who own the Block that he does not want any Aboriginal housing on the Block is highly provocative” Mr Turnbull said.

“Aborigines have historically been pushed off their land by the powerful colonisers. Now the RWA want to develop Redfern they want to use the State’s power to push them off again. But this is a special place for Aboriginal people and they will not give up control of this place.” Mr Turnbull said.

“It is clear with the RWA taking planning control of private land around The Block and to the East of Redfern Station that the RWA has big plans for redeveloping the area which have not been disclosed to the community. The Block is in the way of those plans” Mr Turnbull said.

REDWatch is joining local churches and ALP branches in support of a Redfern Reconciliation Bridge walk and candle light vigil on June 9th to support the building of Aboriginal housing on the Block. The Bridge walk will start from the RWA office at the old TNT towers next to Redfern Station at 7.00 pm.

“Sartor taking control of planning decisions about the Block makes it even more important that the non-aboriginal community turn out on June 9 and show their support for Aboriginal Housing on the Block” Mr Turnbull said.

Feelings are running high in inner city ALP branches about the decision and Darlington and Redfern ALP branches are supporting the march and vigil.

Trevor Davies a REDWatch member and Darlington ALP Secretary said when told of the announcement. “I am today ashamed to be a member of the ALP”.

“Frank Sartor and this Labor Government this day have done the Greens a favour. Sussex St should not bother running a candidate in this area for quite some time” Mr Davies said.

REDWatch has invited Premier Carr to visit the block and see the Pemulwuy project plans first hand rather than rely on second hand accounts. So far there has been no reply from the Premier.

For Further Information contact:

Geoffrey Turnbull            REDWatch Spokesperson                                  Ph (02) 9318 0824        email:
Trevor Davies                 Darlington ALP                                                 Ph: 04 0000 8338
Michael Gravener           Redfern Residents for Reconciliation        Ph: 04 0099 0301
Peter Valilis                   Aboriginal Housing Company                  Ph: 04 0080 4022

REDWatch is a residents and friends group covering Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo (the same area covered by the Redfern Waterloo Authority). REDWatch monitors the activities of government activities such as the RWA and RWPP and seek to ensure community involvement in all decisions made about the area.