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Time to Rethink Redfern Waterloo Authority: REDWatch

Resident action group REDWatch says it is time to rethink the Redfern Waterloo Authority model and what will come next in this media release of 2nd October 2008.

“ The change over in the NSW Government, with a new Minister for Redfern Waterloo, Ms Keneally and a new Premier, Mr Rees, creates a unique opportunity to rethink the methodology of the Redfern Waterloo Authority” said REDWatch spokesperson Geoff Turnbull.

The Redfern Waterloo Authority was set up under the direction of former Planning Minister Frank Sartor to oversee an integrated program of redevelopment, including the coordination of human services such as aged care and health, employment services and building works in the suburbs of Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington and Waterloo.

However, the Authority has come under sustained criticism for refusing to engage in genuine community consultation and for prioritising the sale of government land, with often significantly increased density, over the other, broader, development objectives.

The Authority’s mooted plans for redeveloping public housing and its reluctance to work with the Aboriginal Housing Company on the redevelopment of the block have led to concerns that the Authority was a vehicle for gentrification.

“ REDWatch has recently been approached by a number of local residents eager to see the end of the RWA” Mr Turnbull said.

“ However, there is a range of different views both in the community and amongst our membership. Some people are keen to see some place based coordination body stay, after the RWA is wound up, others have lost all faith in the RWA model.”

Under the original Act the policy objectives and terms of the Act are to be reviewed at the end of 2009.

Minister Keneally however can make changes to community consultation and other mechanisms without waiting for a review if she wishes.

“ There is a consensus that now is the time to begin re-evaluating the future of the RWA and to begin to ask the question, what next?”

“REDWatch is committed to ensuring that residents are at the centre of this re-think, and that is why we are starting the conversation now. We look forward to working with the community, Mrs Keneally, the new Minister, and the City of Sydney Council on new ways forward that meet the changing needs of our diverse and vibrant community.”

Residents interested in discussing options for the future of the RWA and the Redfern-Waterloo area should contact REDWatch Secretary Ben Spies-Butcher on