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Redfern Waterloo Issues Discussed with Minister Keneally

On 14th October 2008 Geoff Turnbull, in his individual capacity as a community member active on Redfern Waterloo issues, met with Minister for planning and Redfern Waterloo Kristina Keneally. During the meeting Geoff raised a range of Redfern Waterloo issues. Below is the note prepared for the meeting which details the issues raised with the new Minister.


Tuesday 14th October 2008

 Background - Redfern Waterloo Issues Updates 1200 emails & website

  • Geoff
    • REDWatch Spokesperson
    • REDWatch Website (Sept per day 400 visits / 1500pages / 8000hits)
    • Media & Website Monitoring on REDW
    • Briefing of journalists, organisations, Tour of Beauty etc
    • RWCC
    • Pemulwuy Project Committee
  • Lyn
    • RRR
    • Sydney University Settlement Neighbourhood Centre
    • REDWatch coming events

 Liaise with a wide range of people about Redfern Waterloo Issues and get information passed on to us for RWIU and REDWatch website.

What I would like to see:

A better flow of information & less need to read tealeaves

  • Media Releases from Minister re REDW matters
  • An improved DoP website (easy for users / community to monitor)
    • Items added to site in timely manner
      • when a site is called in and
      • when new docs received
      • when approvals are announced by the Minister
    • Changes to the website so it is easier for people to provide link to a project and to monitor a project eg a web page for each project within the register
  • Greater release of information to the community and not just what can be written up in a media release or the RWA Update newsletter e.g.
    • BEP1 traffic Study only made available in NE discussions
    • RWA Update July article on HSP1 Evaluation but still Plan not released
    • Details publically available studies etc.
  • RWA / Ministerial engagement in discussions about the redevelopment putting the RWA’s position (I have participated in a number of forums held by professional bodies or academics where the RWA have declined to participate. The RWA have declined to participate in Tours of Beauty)

Greater Community Involvement by Minister / RWA

Revisit the Community Engagement put in place by Minister Sartor

  • Ministerial Advisory Committees need to be rethought
    • They currently advise no one – selected community reps get a report from the RWA about what they have been doing in the last 3 months with an occasional input from a representative of a Govt Dept representative (who is involved in SOG or other parts of the process). There is no reason why this level of information should be made at a closed forum – any one interested should be able to attend if this is all it is going to do.
    • Minutes of the existing MAC’s should be made publically available. Currently for example we have no access to information on what is happening on the employment taskforce as we do not have contact with one of the appointees to this committee.
    • If MAC’s are to perform an advisory role then they need to be involved in the process before decisions are made. They need to be more representative. The MAC for example saw none of the design competition material for NE and was briefed on the NE Concept plan a few weeks after it was on exhibition.
    • One of the key issues for the area is what happens re Redfern Station but the BEMAC is not allowed information on this.
    • The HSMAC was told sometime ago that the Minister was advised through the Minutes of the Meeting. Helen Campbell from RLS said at the time that with the minutes not recording what she was saying then the Minister was not getting her advice.
  • Public meetings
    • Minister Sartor proposed four a year but nothing eventuated the Newsletter at the time said “A Community Forum to meet at least four times a year will be open for members of the public to attend. The purpose of this Forum is to provide the Minister with advice on the broad strategic direction of the Redfern-Waterloo Plan and provides the community with a direct link to the Minister”.
    • A Community Forum similar to that held previously by the RWPP and the CoS could provide a report back function as well as a mechanism for community input. The RWPP forums were well attended
  • Revisit the old RWPP Community Council
    • If a smaller representative group is required to provide a more sensitive sounding board on issues then the structure of the old RWPP Community Council should be considered.
  • Meetings with Stakeholders
    • There should also be opportunities for meetings to be held with stakeholders about the issues of the moment. These should not just be confined to the “statutory” exhibition times. Currently for eg meetings would be appropriate for:
      • Those around the NE site regarding the RWA Preferred Plan
      • Those with a heritage interest re the Heritage Interpretation Strategy

Formulation of an Exit Strategy with long term benefits

The RWA comes up for review at the end of 2009. The RWA’s active involvement in Human Services has ended and much of the BE planning agenda will be finalised in the next 18 months. There have been recent calls for the RWA to be disbanded. What is the Govt’s exit strategy to ensure long term benefits?

  • Human Services – the starting point.
    • With the end of the RWPP funding for the RWA and the formulation of the HS Plans more responsibility moves to the SOG. When the RWA exits what will be the mechanism for interaction with the areas residents and non government service providers. This needs to be built now.
    • For the first time, as far as I am aware, the SOG has invited residents to a SOG meeting to discuss the Waterloo Green and resident concerns on Human Services.
    • What will Govt do to ensure that the increased RW population mix harmoniously with the increasingly high needs public housing tenants?  This is a question to date no one seems to want to discuss.
    • At the RWA HS forum to present HSP2 and talk about the evaluation of HSP1 there were many questions raised by non-government agencies and residents about what was presented. Some of this may become clearer when HSP1 evaluation is released.
    • The RWA processes differed from that envisaged in the Morgan Disney Report and the processes of the RWPP. From the perspective of many NGO’s there remains a significant gap between Govt and Non Government agencies on the areas human services issues which for the long term benefit of the area needs to be addressed by Government through the SOG with hopefully the encouragement of the Minister for Redfern Waterloo.
  • Built Environment – what needs to still happen before this can be dealt with by Council as envisaged initially by the RWPP under the RED Strategy.
    • BEP and BEP2 will provide planning frameworks
    • Council can handle under $5m as they do elsewhere
    • DoP handle over $5m under part 3A 

Some Specific Issues that Need to be Addressed

  • An upgraded Redfern Station that works in terms of connectivity (at least this aspect should be made public). It should not turn its back on the Block.
  • A Movement Economics Study across the area to look at how it will interact as a whole to build business and activity
  • A long term Plan to address the barriers provided by the Reagent & Gibbons Arterial pair including their eventual return to two way traffic. This is a long term objective of the Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce
  • A long term plan to address the barrier created by the main railway line. At some point there has to be at least one more connection between North and South Eveleigh. In the rail days there were three.
  • RED Square – the proposal to cut the edge off the top of Eveleigh street and open the Block up rather than having antisocial activity hiding behind the brick wall was in the RWPP proposal. The RWA and Railcorp should be encouraged to revisit the proposal.
  • There has to be movement on redevelopment of the Block. Housing NSW should enter discussions with the AHC and AMS about the use of their three vacant terrace housing blocks in the middle of the proposed Pemulwuy project.
  • There needs to be a heritage strategy developed right across the former railway site in much more detail than the NE HIS. This should be done in consultation with those involved in heritage work in the area.
  • There should be a long term plan for the Large Erecting Shop to be used as a functioning rail heritage as proposed by Friends of Eveleigh within the Eveleigh rail yards heritage precinct as part of the HIS.
  • There should be serious discussions between Sydney University and the NSW Government about their interest in the NE site with a view to seeing if an accommodation can be reached that would see the University not acquire development capacity they say they do not need (and be held to it!). The State Government should pick up any shortfall in the upgrade of Redfern Station as they would do if there was not nearby land to offset the cost. The University development is seen by many as having less impacts on the area than the current higher density proposal.
  • On the North Eveleigh site there is concern about the density and that the RWA Concept Plan has not locked in aspects at the concept plan stage (eg Heritage Interpretation Strategy) and that when the site is broken up it will be difficult to have a consistent outcome.
  • The problems with the western exit of the North Eveleigh site were raised with Minister Sartor at his familiarisation walk around and there is ongoing concern that the modification does not adequately address the issue.

More Detailed Discussion of Issues

REDWatch prepared “An Agenda for Redfern Waterloo Changes in 2007 - State Election Issues” much of what is in this document in terms of the issues needing to be addressed remains relevant and should be addressed.

Notes for Meeting Prepared by:

Geoff Turnbull