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17 June 2005

The Battle for The Block – Sartor talks to SBS / ALP Gets to Discuss Redfern Waterloo with Minister yet again … while the rest of us wait / RWA Human Services Team Announced / ANTaR Forum on Redfern/Waterloo Issues 25th June 2005 2-4.30 PM Redfern Town Hall / The Storytelling Circle - a FREE 5 Week Acting/Storytelling Course Starts Saturday June 18th / UTS Shopfront Projects – Deadline for new projects June 30th / Sydney University Settlement Changes / ALP NSW Conference Motion on Redfern Waterloo as passed

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

The Battle for The Block – Sartor talks to SBS

ALP Gets to Discuss Redfern Waterloo with Minister yet again … while the rest of us wait

RWA Human Services Team Announced

ANTaR Forum on Redfern/Waterloo Issues 25th June 2005 2-4.30 PM Redfern Town Hall

The Storytelling Circle - a FREE 5 Week Acting/Storytelling Course Starts Saturday June 18th

UTS Shopfront Projects – Deadline for new projects June 30th

Sydney University Settlement Changes

ALP NSW Conference Motion on Redfern Waterloo as passed


The Battle for The Block – Sartor talks to SBS

On 9th June around 1000 people joined the Bridge Walk and candle light vigil in support of Aboriginal Housing on the Block. A copy of the AHC Media Release is attached as is a media release issued by some of the Redfern clergy the day before the vigil.

On Wednesday 15th Frank Sartor spelt out publicly his position on the Block to the Aboriginal SBS Program. He reaffirmed his position of not wanting any more than 19 houses on the Block and his preparedness to provide the balance of the 62 houses in other parts of Redfern & Waterloo away from the Block. He is prepared to sit down with the AHC as soon as they are prepared to give their support for more than 19 houses to be put on and around the Block. Minister Sartor rejects the notion that Aboriginal professionals will want to live on the Block and argues that there is a 90% chance of the Pemulwuy project degenerating into housing for aboriginal people of “high dependency” as it did over the last 30 years. He argues that this is not because they are aboriginal but that this is a problem when you have concentrations of high needs such as at Macquarie Fields.

He does not point out what the implication of this approach if applied to the future redevelopment of the Redfern Waterloo Public Housing estates. According to the Government submission to the Upper House Inquiry 50% of housing stock in Redfern Waterloo is Public Housing. If the block is to be developed with only 19 “high dependency” houses in the name of breaking up an area of “high dependency” what will this approach mean for Public Housing tenants in Redfern Waterloo? Ironically Minister Sartor does not seem to mind increasing the number of “high dependency” houses in other areas of Redfern Waterloo by moving people who would otherwise live on the Block into areas which already have the Macquarie Fields “high dependency” Minister Sartor talked about.

Minister Sartor is ratcheting up the pressure on the AHC by inferring that other Aboriginal groups support his position for something else other than housing on the Block and that it is only their white advisors that are stopping the AHC coming to the negotiating table with him. It should be pointed out that this support for the Minister’s view may be influenced by the fact that Minister Sartor has ultimate say over decisions about services offered in Redfern Waterloo and their potential funding. This may lead some organisations he has been talking with to be reluctant to disagree with his views on the AHC.

As the AHC is the owner of the Block and as the state government has ruled out compulsory acquisition, Minister Sartor acknowledges there will be a stand off if the housing company does not give up the idea of the Block being mainly used for aboriginal housing. Minister Sartor made no reference to the fact that the AHC had indicated that they would participate in his working group if it focused on the Pemulwuy project and how it might be improved rather than from the assumption that housing on the Block could not be made to work.

The Interview is currently on the SBS latest broadcast link on their site . On the Wednesday 15th “latest broadcast link” the interview starts at 17:40 on the file. You can hear the streamed audio until it is moved using RealPlayer on

ALP Gets to Discuss Redfern Waterloo with Minister yet again … while the rest of us wait

Last weekend at the ALP state conference there was a motion passed regarding Redfern Waterloo. The final resolution was a lot weaker than the original motion and we understand that the section about not selling public land was removed entirely, presumably because it is still on the RWA agenda even after getting what they wanted from the state budget. The copy of the motion which finally got up is at the bottom of this email. We would not think that Minister Sartor will have too many problems with what was finally past.

There was also a union motion passed pushing the NSW Government to undertake a review of the NSW Governments use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s) which may be important for Redfern Waterloo given PPP’s are the mechanism Premier Carr said would be used in the RWA developments. The ABC report is at .

In the SBS interview mentioned above the Minister did make some comments that he was not happy about what was being said about his plans by people in his own party. This may explain why there has been another meeting arranged for local ALP members with the Minister for next week. This will be the second opportunity, in addition to last weekend, when ALP members will be able to discuss the issues with Minister Sartor.

The rest of the community has still not had a chance to meet with the Minister, neither have groups that are active on the issues like REDWatch. You may recall that we were advised by the RWA that by the end of June the Minister was planning to hold a Public Meeting. Here we are in the middle of June and there is still no sign of him meeting non ALP residents! With the balance of the Ministerial advisory committees still unannounced and yet to meet, there are no avenues for residents to put their views to Minister Sartor.

Maybe this is some strange ALP recruiting drive – Join the ALP and be able to meet with the Minister and hear about the plans he has for you!

RWA Human Services Team Announced

Further to our earlier update about changed staffing at the RWA, Aldo Pennini has announced the details of the RWA’s new human services team. As of Monday June 6, Aldo Pennini assumed the role of Director (Reforming Human Services) in the RWA with Michael Ramsey taking on a new role of Director (Strategic Response) within the NSW Premier's Department. The statement advised Michael will remain with the RWPP until June 30 in an advisory capacity until the RWPP is formally merged into the RWA on July 1.

The new human services team includes: Ross Bennett, Senior Project Manager (Strategic Directions); Norma Ingram, Senior Project Manager (Capacity Building Aboriginal Community); Don Stewart, Project Manager (Human Services Implementation); and Julie Parsons, Project Manager (Strategic Directions). The human services team can be contacted on 9202 9100.

The cluster group reports have still not been posted on the RWPP / RWA web site for the community to see. As the community has the right to know the direction that human services are going, especially since there has been only limited community involvement in the process to date, if they are not out in the next few days we are tempted to put the copies we have up on the web.

ANTaR Forum on Redfern/Waterloo Issues 25th June 2005 2-4.30 PM Redfern Town Hall

ANTar is organizing a forum entitled Pressures on a Community – Redfern Waterloo for 25 June 2005 from 2-4.30 PM. Redfern Town Hall, cnr Pitt & Wells St. There will be a panel of indigenous speakers and long time residents. Further info 95556138.

ANTar are also holding a forum on July 5th on the Future of Land Rights at 6pm at Building CB02, Room 04.10, University Technology Sydney Broadway.

The Storytelling Circle - a FREE 5 Week Acting/Storytelling Course Starts Saturday June 18th

Everyone has a story - what would sharing your story do for the world? Find out ... join The Storytelling Circle - a FREE 5 Week Acting/Storytelling Course. Held at Redfern Community Centre 9 Ogden Lane, behind St Saviours Saturdays 11:30 – 6pm from June 18 – July 16 for people aged 16-100. More information Calling Caroline 9698 3802 or Emailing . Only life experience necessary.

"It takes only one story to ...Inspire a song,  Create a bond, Alter a path, Heal a heart, Mend a rift, Rescue a soul, Transform a relationship, Reaffirm a marriage, Save a Life"  - Chicken Soup Books

Leaders of the Redfern community got together and decided to create an event which celebrate the diversity of our community through song, dance, story, music.  It's called Voices in the Village, September 23-24 and The Storytelling Circle is just one of the volunteer initiatives working to bring people together, give free training, and allow people in the community to perform at VITV.

UTS Shopfront Projects – Deadline for new projects June 30th

Since 1996 UTS Shopfront has successfully facilitated more than 260 separate projects by bringing together community organisations, UTS students and staff, and industry experts. You can find out about the shopfront and some of the projects they have undertaken on their website or by contacting Pauline or Lisa at the Shopfront by phone on 9514 2900 or by email at . If you have a community project you would like help with or would like to see happen Submit your community projects for second semester by June 30 at their website or ring the people at the UTS Shopfront.

One recent UTS Shopfront report produced with the Neighbourhood Centre Forum is entitled “Sydney Neighbourhood Centres at Risk”. It found Sydney’s aged, people with a mental illness, homeless and parents accessing childcare services would be hardest hit by a breakdown in services at Neighbourhood Centres due to deficient funding.

The report finds that the future of the 22 Centres is threatened by lack of core funding, overworked staff and volunteers, increases in the cost of Public Liability Insurance by up to 250 per cent in the past three years, and the problems inherent in all levels of government running social services as 'business', through competitive tendering and franchised service providers.

These community-run organisations are quick to respond to local needs and save taxpayer money in the delivery of community programs, but the report shows many are struggling under the current funding program and the policy climate bodes ill for the continued delivery of such grass roots service delivery

The research was supervised by Katherine Gordon and is available at or by contacting Lisa Andersen .

The Sydney University Settlement Changes

The Sydney University Settlement has been in the news a lot lately. On Tuesday 14th a Special General Meeting voted out the old Management Committee and elected a new Management Committee. This followed the coming into force of amendments to the Settlements Act on the previous Friday and a CFMEU Green Ban being placed on the existing centre. The meeting overwhelmingly resolved to try to maintain the Settlement in Edward Street and continue it as a place for community reconciliation. A further general meeting of members has been advertised for June 28th to update members on property matters.

The new management committee is Neil Stuart (Chairperson), Bernice Hughes (Deputy Chairperson), Lyn Turnbull (Secretary), Beverly Baker (Treasurer) as well as Ben Spies-Butcher, Rafael Mazzoldi, Clive Norton, Peter Cavanagh, Graham Mooney, John Rule, Lyn Simpson, Rodney Molesworth and Tony Vinson representing Sydney University.

Last update we provided the link to Arthur Chesterfield Evans speech in introduction to the changes in the Settlement Act. The lower house speeches by Frank Sartor and Don Page can be found at and the Upper House speeches from Tony Kelly, Sylvia Hale, Catherine Cusack, Fred Nile and Arthur Chesterfield Evans comments in reply can be found at .

ALP NSW Conference Motion on Redfern Waterloo as passed

Redfern Waterloo - Community Development

This Conference commends the State Labor Government on its decision to turn government attention towards the complex issues surrounding the Redfern Waterloo area.

It is vital that any decisions undertaken by the Redfern Waterloo Authority maintain the Redfern Waterloo area as a diverse and distinctive area. 

The Government must also not lose sight of broader social justice concerns when it comes to this particular community.

This Conference calls on the State Labor Government to commit to the following in relation to the Redfern Waterloo area and the operation of the Redfern Waterloo Authority:

Public Housing

The State Labor Government must make a public commitment to retaining existing public housing levels in the Redfern Waterloo area.  There must also be an increase in affordable housing provision through a higher affordable housing levy on developers.

The residents of the Waterloo towers and other community housing areas must be protected from community dislocation.

No compulsory acquisition of the block

The Conference affirms the Minister's commitment that there will be no compulsory acquisition of the block. 

However in all negotiations, the autonomy of the Aboriginal Housing Company must be respected.  There must be recognition that not only is the Block owned under freehold title, but that it was the Whitlam Labor Government that provided the grant to enable this acquisition. 


There must be public consultation regarding any plan formulated by the Redfern Waterloo Authority. 

The Conference applauds the establishment of Community Advisory Committees, but wants the State Government to commit to the use of similar procedures already outlined in EPA Act, in relation to public notification, advertising and acceptance of submissions prior to any plan for Redfern Waterloo being finalised.

Redfern Station

Disabled access and a reinstated southern exit must be the primary factors in any redevelopment of Redfern Station.

The Draft Human Services Plan

This Plan must be made public, with its impacts to be explained to the community and service providers.