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12 April 2005

REDWatch Fundraiser /// Service Providers Working in Redfern-Waterloo Workshop /// Redfern-Waterloo Ministerial Advisory Committees Expressions of Interest /// Human Services Plan Community Input into Cluster Groups /// RWA News on Consultation and Information /// Further News about The Block /// Minister Sartor seeks $36m Loan for Redfern Waterloo

Follow the links below to go direct to the story of interest:

REDWatch Fundraiser 16th April

Service Providers Working in Redfern-Waterloo Workshop 18th April

Redfern-Waterloo Ministerial Advisory Committees EOIs by 22nd April

Human Services Plan Community Input to Cluster Groups 3rd – 6th May

RWA News on Consultation and Information

Further News about The Block

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on the RWA

Minister Sartor seeks $36m Loan for Redfern Waterloo

Alexandria, Erskineville, St Peters and Newtown – City of Sydney Community Forum Calendar

Other Articles:

Redeveloping The Block: the battle drags on – South Sydney Herald

Joining Forces for Redfern – Sydney Central

Human rights and social justice - issues for the Redfern-Waterloo Authority - Calma


REDWatch Fundraiser – 2pm Saturday 16th April at Skybar Hotel George Street Redfern

Tom Zubrycki’s film “Waterloo” about the battle to save Waterloo in the 1970s will be accompanied by guest speakers talking about their experience in the struggle including Tom Uren, Jack Mundy, Meredith Burgmann & Tom Zubrycki

Come along and hear some of the stories from the “Green Bans” and the battle to save Waterloo in the 1970s when government urban renewal was about pulling down inner city terraces (slums) to build the new public housing estates that the government now wants to redevelop! The film looks at Waterloo’s working class history and the way the government went about resuming property to further their grand plan for the area.

The Waterloo Story will be screened at 2pm on Saturday the 16th April at the Skybar hotel in George Street Redfern. Donations of $10 and $5 suggested. For further information contact Trevor on 04 0000 8338. If you would like to experience the Indigenous cuisine at the Skybar’s Guinya lounge before or after the fundraiser ring 9690 0610 and speak to Phillip.

Service Providers Working in Redfern-Waterloo Workshop – 18th April 2005 12-4.30 Redfern Community Centre

Some time in April cluster groups are supposed to develop service options in priority areas. Hopefully service providers working in the four priority areas have been directly contacted about this as we have seen nothing to be able to pass on and let people know what is happening. The HSAC is arranged a seminar for staff working in agencies to explain what is envisaged in an integrated service delivery system. It is not clear if this is also for management committee members or if something else is planned for this part of the non-government service system. The information on the Seminar is as follows and we are passing it on in case some service suppliers have not yet heard about it as again there does not appear to have been much notice given.

Building an integrated service delivery system in Redfern and Waterloo – new practice or community development reinvented? This workshop will provide an opportunity for staff working in government and non-government agencies in Redfern and Waterloo to: Build your understandings of the ideas, concepts and practice of integration and integrated service delivery and its relevance to the future of the human services delivery in Redfern and Waterloo; Celebrate and share learnings from local and regional service providers and managers from both government and non-government sector engaged in projects, programs or initiatives which have some elements of integration and how it can improve services to families, individuals and communities; Learn about the delights and challenges of implementing integrated approaches; Explore how to develop integrated approaches and what this means for your own and other services; Take away practical and manageable ideas and tools for how to progress integration in your services and identified services clusters in Redfern and Waterloo.

A Follow Up workshop is planned on 2nd May 2005 (the day before the cluster meetings mentioned above) to: provide further opportunities for service providers to discuss and identify opportunities for integrated service delivery and to progress the outcomes of workshop #1. Outcomes arising from workshop #1 will be distributed to service providers prior to workshop #2.  Please RSVP to Darryl Monaghan on 9698 0911 or by 14th April for the workshop on 18th April 2005 for catering purposes.

Redfern-Waterloo Ministerial Advisory Committees Expressions of Interest before 5pm 22nd April

Just a reminder that 22nd April is the deadline for Expressions of Interest for Minister Sartor’s three Advisory Committees so please think about who should be encouraged to put their names forward from the community. Given that Minister Sartor will decide who will advise him it might also be worthwhile writing to the Minister making your suggestions of who you think he should appoint to represent the community. Expressions of Interest should outline relevant interests, skills and experience in no more than two pages (including contact details) and be forwarded to: Aldo Pennini, RWA Community Relations Manager, PO Box 3332, Redfern NSW 2016. Telephone: 9202 9100 Fax: 9202 9111  Email: by 5.00 pm Friday, 22 April, 2005.

The Advisory Committees are:

Built Environment - considering urban design, traffic, public access, public transport, land use, affordable housing, public housing, and urban renewal.

Employment and Enterprise - considering strategies to increase job and business opportunities in the area, including the Indigenous community.

Human Services - considering human services and health issues affecting Redfern-Waterloo.

Robert Domm, RWA CEO, has advised that the Advisory Committees are envisaged to contain approximately 15-17 people, including 6-8 community representatives, but the exact composition will depend somewhat on the expressions of interest received. The Minister also wants to ensure at least 2 indigenous reps on each Committee.

Robert has also advised that there will not be a new Human Services Committee. The current intention is to add further community representatives to the Interim Committee following the EOI process. Of course, this means that the Human Services Advisory Committee will be slightly larger as it currently has 17 representatives. Robert said “The Interim Committee commenced its work prior to the EOI process simply so that the progress of the Human Services Review would not be delayed.”

Human Services Plan Community Input into Cluster Groups May 3rd to May 6th

The Community Workshop on the Human Services Plan was advised that the next opportunity for community input into the Human Services plan will be to discuss service options with the various cluster groups in early May. These meetings will be held at 10 on each day at Level 11 Tower 2 of the old TNT towers (where the RWA and City of Sydney Council is located). The cluster meeting dates are:

3rd May - Health (particularly mental health, drug and alcohol and dual diagnosis)

4th May - Services for Aboriginal People

5th May - Youth Services

6th May - Families and Children’s Services (including domestic and family violence)

In June / July there will be Community Consultations on the Draft Human Services Plan.

There was substantial criticism at the Community Workshop about the short notice about the meeting provided to the community. There was a strong feeling that the RWA / RWPP must build into their processes time and resources to publicise such meetings and to gain community involvement and support. The day meeting also requested that a copy of the consultants report on the meetings to the HSAC be made available to the community so the community could see what was being reported on their behalf to the HSAC about what they wanted in the Human Services Plan. Two journalist attendees of the different workshops have reported to us conversations with the RWA after the HSAC meeting on Thursday about the outcomes identified from the community consultation. The outcomes reported to them are difficult to reconcile with what was discussed at the workshops so we are very keen to see what the report from the community meetings to the HSAC and to find out what changes the HSAC have made to the outcomes identified in the community workshops. We are told that it is likely that the write up of the Community outcomes workshops incorporating the HSAC's comments from last Thursday's meeting will be available this week for circulation.

While on the HSAC, the second HSAC meeting decided that various HSAC documents would be confidential while at draft stage but could then become public documents after being considered by the HSAC and going to the Minister. So far all documents are being marked confidential and as far as we can find out no documents have yet come back to become public. In a setback for holistic integration we also understand that the HSAC has been told it can not make recommendations about employment strategies from the human services side as there will be a separate advisory committee for this area. Also of concern is that while City of Sydney Council provides 13 of the human services to be included in the Plan they have not been represented at a HSAC meeting since the initial meeting when the Minister transformed the HSIWG into his advisory committee.

RWA News on Consultation and Information

The advertisements for Ministerial Advisory Committees are a starting point and further advice on consultative mechanisms will follow in due course according to Robert Domm. Minister Sartor intends to hold regular community forums, with the first to occur before the end of June 2005. Aldo Pennini is currently working on the RWA's community relations policy and the RWA website is also under construction. Work is also progressing on drafting of Stage One of the Redfern-Waterloo Plan, with the expectation the draft will be released for community comment and consultation within the next 6 months. There is no indication if there will be a community advisory committee or if public forums will provide broad community input to the Minister.

Further News about The Block

Two articles recently appeared about proposals to get around Minister Sartor’s refusal to support the Pemulwuy project on The Block. “Redeveloping The Block: the battle drags on” from The South Sydney Herald April 2005 and “Joining Forces for Redfern” from the Sydney Central Wednesday April 6 2005 document some of the recent developments including the suggestion that the City of Sydney and the federal Government become involved in helping bring the Pemulwuy project to fruition. Both articles have been reproduced at the foot of this email.

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on the RWA

On April 1 at the Redfern Community Centre Friday Night Speakers, Tom Calma made some observations about the human rights and social justice as it applied to the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. His comments raise some of the principles which need to be addressed by the RWA and for those who were unable to attend this talk I have reproduced this section of Tom Calma’s talk at the foot of this email.

Tom Calma has recently released two Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission reports – details of the reports can be found at the links below.

The Native Title Report 2004, executive summaries and a media kit are available online at

Social Justice Report 2004, including executive summaries, media pack, and launches dates visit:

Minister Sartor seeks $36m Loan for Redfern Waterloo

The Sydney Morning Herald ran the story Redfern revamp: Sartor seeks $36m on April 11 2005 and the story was also picked up with comments from Peta Seaton on the ABC NSW misled over Redfern redevelopment costs: Opposition .

Tim Dick’s article missed the word “loan” in the headline. As we all know the NSW Government is not paying for any of this, including infrastructure like Redfern Station, Redfern-Waterloo Authority will have to pay for the redevelopments from its own income. The article confirms the RWA has to fund itself, its community consultations, The Block Development (unless the Minister can avoid it) and all Government Infrastructure redevelopment in the area by flogging off scarce inner city Government land and creating development controls beneficial enough to attract developers. There have been no open community consultations yet, even though the article mentions “public consultation” as creating part of the cash-flow problem. Hopefully it means the minister is budgeting realistically for community consultation mechanisms when he does start talking to the community and consulting on the Plan. Recently ALP branches met with the Minister for a briefing, we hope he will soon hold a public meeting for the rest of the community and start letting non-ALP members also know what is going on!

It is of concern that the SMH article talks about the RWA wanting to raid the budget of the Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project. It will be seen by some as the rationale for the RWPP being absorbed so quickly into the RWA. NCOSS and the community groups pushed for an integrated community development corporation model when the RWA was announced. The Government set it up initially without integrating human services which continued under the Premier’s Department. Within two months human services are being absorbed into the RWA without any changes in RWA board expertise or to the RWA legislation that would create the integrated Authority NCOSS and REDWatch lobbied for. There is growing concern that innovative Morgan Disney proposal for the development of a Human Services Plan between government, non-government agencies and the community is not understood within the RWA and that the processes it requires are so different from the processes that drive bodies like SHFA or the RWA that it is doomed to fail. Critics point to the changes made to Human Services Implementation Working Group when the Minister decided to also make it his Human Services Advisory Group with the resultant confidentiality and lack of transparency as an indication of the changes that make it difficult to achieve its initial objectives in the manner envisaged by Morgan Disney. For an integrated community development corporation to emerge from the RWA’s absorption of the RWPP, the RWA will need to move in the direction of the Government / Non-Government / Community Partnership model Morgan Disney proposed for the development of the Human Services Plan rather than try and make the Human Services functions fit into the development corporation mold.

On the Infrastructure side (for which the RWA was established) the article points to the RWA only being given a loan of $7.75 million to set itself up before asset sales / income from developing government land were to cover its costs. We hope there was some non-loan component also in the set up which was not mentioned otherwise Redfern Waterloo will be paying also for the inherited ATP hemorrhage until the RWA can fix it. With a draft Redfern Waterloo Plan still six moths off according to Robert Domm, we wonder on what basis the Minister was supposed to be earmarking government land for sale / development and on what basis some of his other initial activities were supposed to have been undertaken if everything was supposed to be fast tracked to generate income. The Ministers request for a loan, if met, should take pressure off the RWA to go out and flog government property before it consults the community and before the Redfern Waterloo Plan can be put together.

All of this does not however take away from the fact that Redfern-Waterloo should not have to fund a new Redfern Railway Station to be the major change point in the city’s railway network, nor should we have to pay to minimize the impact of major city traffic flows on our area. Any NSW contribution to Aboriginal housing should also some from the State Government as should the cost of solving problems in public housing suffering from inadequate maintenance expenditure and a decline in commonwealth and state funding. The Redfern Waterloo community is being expected to pay the price for various “state significant” developments through an increased loss of amenity associated with ramped up floor space ratios and the disposal of scarce inner city public land which will be lost to future inner-city generations.

The Tim Dick article reminds us they we will be paying for this and not the NSW Government. We may not be able to unscramble the egg but we will all remember it, especially when elections role around!

Alexandria, Erskineville, St Peters and Newtown – City of Sydney Community Forum Calendar

For those who live in the above area there will be a City of Sydney Community Forum held on Monday 18 April 2005, 6:00pm to 8:30pm at Erskineville Town Hall, 104 Erskineville Road, Erskineville. Visit the City of Sydney website for more information.


Redeveloping The Block: the battle drags on

The South Sydney Herald April 2005 Page 1

Joe Correy

Negotiations between the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) and the Redfern Waterloo Authority have come to a standstill because of a failure to agree on what is a sustainable future for The Block. The AHC is committed to the Pemulwuy Redevelopment Project, which would replace deteriorated terrace housing on the Block with 62 homes in a low-rise apartment complex.

NSW Minister for Redfern-Waterloo, Frank Sartor, while declining to talk to the media, sent a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald on March 8 and described his plans for the Block. "My dialogue with the company is based on two propositions: Let's set up a working group to develop a new vision for the Block and its surrounds, and let's not rehouse any more than the 19 existing tenancies".

Peter Valilis, the AHC's Project Manager, said the AHC is shocked at the position that the Redfern Waterloo Authority has taken on the future of The Block. He argues that, until the formation of the Redfern Waterloo Authority, the NSW Government had  publicly supported the Pemulwuy Project and funded parts of its development.

Valilis said, "For the past three years the Premier's Department has encouraged us to follow a model of 62 houses. Now Frank Sartor has come along and demanded we disregard the entire plan. But the Pemulwuy Project will go ahead with or without the NSW Government".

Zoe Allebone, spokesperson for Frank Sartor said of the Pemulwuy ' Project: "The Minister, doesn't believe reconcentrating potentially, high-dependency housing on The Block is the way to make the area sustainable". The AHC agrees with this view, but argues that the Pemulwuy Project is based on a combination of private home ownership and tenants with mixed socio-economic backgrounds - not 'high dependency' housing as suggested by Minister Sartor.

Mick Mundine, chief executive of the AHC, said, "five years of planning has shown us that we can't compromise the figure of 62 houses because it is the number of properties we need to create a safe and sustainable environment". In response to reports that the Redfern Waterloo Authority wanted `no black faces on the Block', Mundine said: "The Aboriginal. people fought hard to secure this land, and now it seems likely that we'll have to fight to rebuild the houses on it. Frank Sartor can`t just come in here and use standover tactics to tell us what the NSW Government wants this company to do".

However, Sartor's tough talk has gained support from property developers interested in the area. Property Council of Australia NSW Executive Director, Ken Morrison, has publicly said: "There is no way that Redfern is going to be that commercial mini-centre with Aboriginal housing and The Block still in place. We need to sort that out before any private investors will be interested". When asked by, the South Sydney Herald about the comment, Morrison said, "We support the Redfern Waterloo Authority in their plans for the Block. I don't think it's unreasonable that they have an agenda of urban renewal, and the NSW Government's vision is unlikely to be achievable with a residential area in the Redfern Station precinct".

At present, talks between the AHC and the Redfern Waterloo Authority have ceased because Minister Sartor will only conduct negotiations through a "working body”, tentatively known as the Pemulwuy Vision Taskforce. A document obtained by the South Sydney Herald, known as the Pemulwuy Vision Taskforce Brief, detailed the conditions of the agenda for the proposed committee. They were that the AHC abandon the Pemulwuy Project and allow the committee to decide on a new vision for what is built on The Block. Representatives on the Pemulwuy Vision Taskforce, other than the AHC, would be selected from a list provided by Minister Sartor. A final report, with recommendation, would be due on June 30 2005.

Valilis said, "That's unacceptable. The Minister would have authority over the group and the final say on its decision. We won't place the future of the Block in the hands of the Frank Sartor. Of the representatives he suggested for the Taskforce, hardly any had experience in planning, but he expected the committee to come up with a better plan than the Pemulwuy Project in only five months. Negotiations with the State Government have finished as far as we're concerned. They gave us: a take-it-or-leave-it deal and we said, no thanks."

Robert  Domm, CEO of  the Redfern Waterloo Authority, when questioned about the proposed committee said: "The Aboriginal Housing Company has been invited to take part in a dialogue about a sustainable future for The Block. Our motives are genuine". He refused to say whether the Redfern Waterloo Authority would compromise on the conditions of the Pemulwuy Vision Taskforce, which have made further negotiations unlikely.

The AHC will now form their own committee, also to be known as the Pemulwuy Vision Taskforce, which will assess the Pemulwuy Project and offer advice on any changes that would make the plan more sustainable. The panel will include experts who are associated with the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy, the Chamber of Commerce, Sydney University, local community groups, and also a founder of the Aboriginal Housing Office.

There has also been a swell of support for the project within the City of Sydney Council. Green's Councillor Chris Harris said, "There is no formal resolution yet, but Chief Executive Peter Seamer is preparing a report on how we could form a consortium composed of the Aboriginal Housing Company, City of Sydney Council, and a Federal funding body that could supply money for the Pemulwuy Redevelopment Project. I'm confident council would support such a resolution. We aren't expecting the NSW Government to be a part of the consortium because they don't want Aboriginal housing on The Block."

NSW Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Brad Hazzard, told the South Sydney Herald that the Carr Government has adopted the wrong approach towards The Block. "The NSW Government is clearly wrong. A top-down solution will not work and never has in indigenous communities. If we gain power, we'll talk to the community and work out what's good for the local area. I don't see any problems that would prevent the Pemulwuy project from getting funding from a Coalition Government".


Joining Forces for Redfern

Sydney Central Wednesday April 6 2005 Page 10

Plans for redeveloping The Block are engaging politicians from all sides. Report Alexandra Walker

The Aboriginal Housing Company's plan to redevelop The Block received a boost this week, as councillors from the City of Sydney met with a Federal Government agency to discuss funding for the project.

Greens councillor Chris Harris, Deputy Lord Mayor John McInerney and the council's general manager Peter Seamer met with representatives from the office of Indigenous Policy Co-ordination on Tuesday.

The group met to look into the possibility of putting together a consortium to bankroll the AHC's Pemulway Project, which involves building 62 units and townhouses on the Redfern site.

Cr Harris raised the idea of a consortium with the council and said the project has the support of City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.

"They own the land and they are entitled to develop it," Cr Harris said.

"They aren't going to wear having a token Aboriginal presence on that land."

While Cr Harris said that nothing was concrete "just yet", he said he was confident there would be money made available for the project.

AHC spokesman Peter Valilis said the company were "absolutely" in support of the idea of a consortium.

"We've always said that the funding for this project should come from a consortium incorporating all levels of government, as well as private funding," Mr Valilis said.

He said that while the AHC had been in talks with the Redfern Waterloo Authority (RWA) over the project, they had been unable to agree on key details.

"We share a lot of common ground with the RWA, but we can't agree on the number of houses because we feel that cutting the number would compromise the sustainability of the project," Mr Valilis said.

"The official position of the AHC is that we've been made a `take it or leave it' deal and the board has chosen to leave it."

A spokeswoman for the minister in charge of the Redfern Waterloo Authority, Frank Sartor said that the minister's door was open to the AHC.


Human rights and social justice - issues for the Redfern-Waterloo Authority

Extract from Speech by Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner April 1, 2005 at Redfern Community Centre Friday Night Speakers

Today I would like to talk about human rights and social justice in relation to an issue that directly affects the Redfern-Waterloo community - the establishment of the NSW government's Redfern-Waterloo Authority (RWA).

First I would like to say that this talk isn't designed to take on the RWA but instead talk about human rights standards and social justice issues that you should expect the RWA to meet. Some of these standards relate to:

o          protection of areas of cultural and historical importance

o          decent housing, schooling and safe communities

o          effective participation in decisions

o          prior informed consent on issues affecting communities and

o          economic and social development.

All of these standards must be respected if there is going to be sustainable social and economic outcomes achieved in redfern-waterloo.

I'm also hoping that this talk will be an opportunity for people here today to give me feedback and comments on the social justice and human rights issues that challenge the community here. Not only about the RWA but also on other issues.

The creation of the authority created controversy. many people raised    y concerns that the authority hadn't been set up in consultation with the community i.e. it did not actively engage with the community in a way that respects the communities rights, and that it was not designed to properly address the social issues in the area.

I would encourage the RWA to develop sustainable social and economic outcomes in the RWA plan by incorporating important "rights" considerations within its processes. These rights focus not only on human rights protection but also on the process of engagement between the RWA and the community and are immediately relevant to the development of the RWA plan.

There are three specific rights I refer to: protection of culture; effective participation and prior informed consent and the right to development. All of these rights are important elements of the right of self determination.

Which brings me to the next point and one which the government has already recognised - the importance of sustainable social and economic development for the aboriginal community in the area. We cannot have a vibrant, culturally strong indigenous community if we struggle in other areas like income, education, employment and too many of our young kids going to prison. These things only bring us down. If we want to survive we have to find solutions to our economic- and social issues. But not just any type of solution. We have to find solutions that suit our community and culture and they must be solutions that we have developed.

Numerous human rights, and countless strategies for community development recognise that sustainable economic and social development cannot be achieved without the people who are aiming to achieve these goals being the centre of the process.

That means, that sustainable economic and social development in Redfern-Waterloo won't be achieved unless the residents, that is, the aboriginal community, are at the centre of the process. this means that strategies that are being designed by the RWA or the partnership project to create jobs, provide training and employment or address community safety must shaped by 5 principles. They must:

1. Be driven by the local residents and not just the RWA or the partnership project.

2. Build on the existing skills of the people in the area and not rely so much just on the skills and ideas of experts.

3.         Include a chance for people to be continually learning new skills.

4. Include a long term investment by everyone - government, community and NGOs, and

5. It requires a whole-of-government approach where government agencies are working together on issues.

The challenges for all are great but we must all work together, we must listen to each other and we must persevere if we are to succeed to improve the social and economic circumstance of indigenous Australians living in the area