You are here: Home / Updates / 05 December 2004

05 December 2004

Lobbying to Amend the Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill? / Call for the Government to Release the Documents Rally Against Government Imposed Plans Monday 6th December at 10am Waterloo Green’ / RWPP Rushes Out FAQ Fact Sheet on The Redfern Waterloo Plan / Is this “Working Together” & “Consulting”? / Heritage Concerns / Report on Problems of Building over Railway Stations / South Sydney Herald Christmas Party Sunday 5th December 4pm Skybar Redfern / Safety risk stops rail apartments

Lobbying to Amend the Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill?

A delegation of three people from REDWatch and three people from the Redfern Organisation of Aboriginal Unity (OAU) met on Friday with Brad Hazzard and Don Harwin from the Liberal Party. The meeting went on for almost two hours with Don Harwin and a couple of sessions with Brad Hazzard. The delegation was given a good hearing of their concerns (outlined in the REDWatch Briefing Paper and the OAU Briefing Note based on their earlier statement - both of which were emailed out earlier). We are confident our concerns were understood and in many cases shared. The Liberal Party has not yet decided if they will let the Bill go through un-amended or if they will put up or support any amendments. They are still listening to what people have to say and we suspect trying to gauge if there is support for the amendments from enough cross benchers as well as the community. So, it is worthwhile continuing the pressure.

As we understand the upper house politics (from a number of MPs), even if the Liberals do decide to support any amendments they need at least eight of the cross benchers to support them for amendments to get up. The Government needs only four cross benchers to support them to push the Bill through without amendment. There is a block of five MP’s who tend to support the Government, this group includes Fred Nile, Gordon Moyes, John Tingle, David Oldfield and Jon Jenkins. Two of this group along with all the remaining cross benchers will have to support amendment if they are to get up. Given Fred Nile has been quite supportive on Aboriginal issues and there is hope that he may be persuaded to vote in favour of amendments and bring some of this group with him. A delegation from the OAU will address the cross benches on Tuesday.

As a foot note we have just realized that on our earlier list we omitted the Unity Party’s Peter Wong Ph 9230 3523 and Fax 9230 3312 so please add him to your list of addresses.

Call for the Government to Release the Documents

Frank Sartor is telling people that there is no existing Plan. His job is to put one together and he says that the community is going to be involved in its development. The argument goes that the documents referred to in the SMH last week are earlier working papers exploring possibilities but those proposals will not necessarily be in the final Plan. If this is the case the Minister should release the documents put together as part of the RED strategy as soon as possible so that all parties have access to the same information when the Redfern Waterloo Plan is developed. If this does not happen, existing suspicion will continue that those documents are in fact the details of what the Government really wants done in the area and that it only awaits the formality of the Plan wording before they will be revealed.

Rally Against Government Imposed Plans Monday 6th December at 10am Waterloo Green’

Word seems to be getting around about the Rally on Monday with a couple of press mentions. Please keep spreading the word so people know about it. The Rally will be held on Monday 6th December at 10am ‘Waterloo Green’ (Matavai and Turanga towers) between Phillip and Raglan Streets, opposite George Street, Waterloo. The rally is being organised by REDWatch (contact Trevor Davies 04 0000 8338, Ben Spies-Butcher 0414744758), Redfern Organisation of Aboriginal Unity (contact Shane Phillips 0423605236), The Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development (contact Charlie Richardson 9698 7461) and other concerned individuals and groups. The Rally will be held the day before the Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill is scheduled to go to the Legislative Assembly. See you there!

RWPP Rushes Out FAQ Fact Sheet on The Redfern Waterloo Plan

The RWPP circulated a fact sheet at 5pm Friday with responses to some of the questions doing the rounds of the community. The file was 1.5MB and is too big for us to send around to many of our readers (if you need to see it before Monday let us know). Recently the RWPP has been good at putting such information up on their website so we can link to it rather than us filling up your email box. On this occasion while they have posted a few points from the fact sheet on their website, the link you expect to be the Redfern Waterloo Plan #2 fact sheet actually brings up the Human Services Review #2 fact sheet, which is also new! The material on the RWPP website is part of the information on the first and second pages of the 4 page Redfern Waterloo Plan #2 fact sheet. It can be viewed at The Redfern-Waterloo Plan 2 - FAQ (hopefully on Monday they will post both fact sheets correctly).

Is this “Working Together” & “Consulting”?

According to the new Redfern Waterloo Plan #2 fact sheet the AHC and the Minister “are working together to establish a sustainable vision for the area”. We are sure the AHC would welcome the Minister working together with them on their Pemulwuy project but the Minister’s first forays were to dismiss the five years of work that have gone into the Pemulwuy project and to have a vision for something entirely different (preferably with only half as much housing and a non housing development). The Redfern Organisation of Aboriginal Unity has urged the government to embrace the plan the AHC has put together for The Block.

Almost every politician we have talked to has been told by Frank Sartor, or in Premier’s Department briefings, that there has been lots of consultation with the community and what is currently being done by Government arises from that consultation. Brad Hazzard was hence very surprised at the OAU statement that “there had been a total lack of consultation with the community, not only the Aboriginal community but the Wider Redfern Waterloo community regarding the Government’s proposed Redevelopment of the area”.

There is a huge gap between Government and the community perceptions of what constitutes consultation and what the community has actually been consulted about. This difference is going to have to be addressed if the RWA is going to work. From the fact sheet it looks like “working together” is going the same way as “consultation” and means very different things to the government and the community!

Heritage Concerns

The answer we liked most in the new Redfern Waterloo Plan #2 fact sheet was to the question about what will happen to heritage buildings. The answer is that “the Bill lists important tests before the provisions of the Heritage Act 1977 do not apply”. What are the tests? – 1) the site has to declared “State Significant” (that not for heritage protection but for development) and 2) the Minister must be satisfied that what he wants to put there is essential for achieving the strategic vision for the improvement of Redfern and Waterloo. In our view, these are not tests let alone important tests. To get an idea of why this is and will be such an issue for the new Authority you should read the Press statement on the Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill put out by the National Trust at, This site has a link to a National Trust Map of the listed sites in the initially announced boundaries of the RWA RW National Trust Map and it also has a link to the details of the Australian Heritage Commission’s listing of The Block. Block Registration of The National Estate.

If the Heritage section isn’t thrown out of the Bill, REDWatch is lobbying for the Minister to have to tell the community why he wants the Heritage Act to be waived for a particular area or building and to allow time for submissions for other alternatives. Ideally a final decision to disregard a Heritage Listing should be made by someone other than the RWA Minister, who is the person wanting the development to go ahead, so therefore must have a conflict of interest!

Report on Problems of Building over Railway Stations

We have included a copy of an article from this Saturday’s SMH at the foot of this email about a RailCorp report obtained under FOI which details problems with building over Railway Stations as seems to be proposed for Redfern. The article also mentions Nati Stoliar’s interest in a number of such sites including his interest in Redfern.

South Sydney Herald Christmas Party Sunday 5th December 4pm Skybar Redfern

Just in case you forgot! Or, in case you read this on Sunday and have nothing else you would prefer to do!


Safety risk stops rail apartments

By Anne Davies, State Political Editor


December 4, 2004

As Sydney grapples with how to accommodate its future population, a report to RailCorp has warned that building residential apartments over railway lines is "inherently problematic", could pose safety risks and inhibit growth of the rail network.

The report, obtained by the Herald under freedom of information legislation, warns that the 40-year-old Hurstville Super Centre, which straddles the tracks, is an example of the problems that could be faced in the future. It says the centre is rundown and does not meet modern safety standards.

"The Hurstville Super Centre does not meet Railcorp standards in a number of respects, including support piers, transfer beams, clearance, centre-line clearance, column and pier stability, structural integrity, vibration and noise isolation and fire life safety," the report, by independent consultant Arnold Dix, says.

It also cites the recently demolished car park at Marrickville station as another operational and safety risk.

The Hurstville centre was bought two years ago by the developer Nati Stoliar of Kimberley Securities, who has also secured sites around several Sydney railway lines, including Burwood and Redfern. In the case of Hurstville, he unveiled plans for nine residential towers over the line.

These plans have been put on hold since Mr Stoliar was told of the new policy.

"We will have to look at other uses. It can be a fantastic shopping centre," he said yesterday. Mr Stoliar said he hadn't been given detailed reasons for the decision on Hurstville, and talks were continuing.

Another major development over the Chatswood rail corridor has been proposed by the Government Architect, Chris Johnson, as part of a masterplan to redevelop the station and create a green belt.

Apartment buildings have already been built over the lines at St Leonards and Bondi Junction. But the report, which is being used by Railcorp to develop a formal policy on the sale of air space rights, strongly counsels against building apartments directly over the line.

It says they should rather be built beside the Railcorp-owned station, which should then be integrated into the development.

It points to a number of subterranean accidents that demonstrated the sort of devastation that could occur.

Mr Dix was particularly concerned about apartments over freight lines because of the risk from hazardous cargoes such as chlorine gas and LPG. He also cited future high-speed trains as a risk, saying that a derailment could cause serious problems.

The report says that developers are often surprised at the cost of "possession" of a rail line. "History has shown us within NSW that, in such circumstances, developers will seek to have the rail-imposed requirements relaxed."

It cites the example of a prominent Sydney developer who fought to have vibration standards relaxed on his apartment building.

"Discussions with rail authorities in other countries - particularly the United States - indicate that developers are not only disappointed at the apparently inordinate costs of development over a railway, they become extremely agitated and feel compelled to raise the issues at political forums, and accuse rail authorities of sterilising good development land through outrageous expense and ill-conceived requirements."