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08 December 2004

Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill 2004

Redfern Waterloo Authority Bill 2004

Debate on the Bill commenced last night and will resume at 11am this morning (Wednesday). Amendments should be considered after the last couple of speakers on the Bill. I have attached a copy of the Hansard extract from last night for your easy reference.

After the briefing of the cross benchers yesterday (including by the Organisation of Aboriginal Unity) a note was sent from the cross bench to the opposition advising them that ten of the eleven cross benchers were opposed to the Bill. This means that for the Bill to pass the opposition must support it along with the Government. This has strengthened the Liberals hands and means that what ever amendments are / are not accepted will be down to both the major parties and there will be no hiding behind the cross benchers.

The Government and the Opposition have been in discussions and the Government has introduced a range of amendments. These include putting some objects into the Bill, Having the Minister consult the Heritage Council before going around the Heritage Act and accepting the need for an annual report and making the Bill subject to Public Financer and Audit Act. The Government has also put up substantial changes to 29 (development contributions), 30 (other development contributions) and 31 (contribution plans).

The Opposition has flagged it will move to limit the expansion of the operational area of the Authority to no more than 5% by regulation. Fred Nile is expected to move two motions requiring the Authority to work with the Aboriginal Housing Company to develop and implement the Pemulwuy Project.

While the Government has clarified some matters effecting developers they have chosen not to clarify arrangements for community participation in the making and changing of the Redfern Waterloo Plan or for a mechanism to ensure that the community is represented by a Community Advisory Council! Don Harwin for the Libs indicated in his speech that they had received some undertakings from the Government in regards to community involvement and that they would hold the government accountable for doing this but currently we have no details of what may have been agreed and why it has not been incorporated as an amendment. The Government and the Opposition should be pushed to adopt the amendments put up by the Greens that cover these aspects.

Other areas of concern remain at least the need for a strategic vision in the plan before any thing else happens, the need for a social and community plan and that any planning instrument made will provide the same processes for community notification and objection as would be present under a local government LEP. The Social and Community Plan is particularly important given the stated nature of the Authority and should be pushed as a priority.

The Government and the Opposition must be pushed to accept the Greens amendments regarding these matters to ensure the communities interests are clearly protected in the Bill and not just those of the developers. Remember this authority will go for at least 10 years and processes can not be left to the whim of the various Ministers we will see over this time.

There are two hours this morning to get that message to the Government and the Opposition before the amendments are dealt with. Then you can come to the public gallery (or listen on your computer if you can not make it) and see who you will hold accountable for the provisions of the Bill and the future of Redfern Waterloo.