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RWIU 21 Feb 2008

In this Update: Redfern Community Health Centre Plans on Public Exhibition – Until 6th March 2008 / Sydney University Major Project to Consolidate Abercrombie Street Precinct / Robert Domm meets Darlington Businesses over RWA Plans / Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Inquiry Submissions – still being received until Friday 29th February 2008 / The RWA Submission to the Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage / Review and Evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One / Aboriginal Housing Company asked by DoP for $60,000 to assess Concept Plan / Planning for Dry Alcohol Facility for Aboriginal Men in Redfern is well advanced / Waterloo Green Safety still a problem in spite of Action plan / Supervised Accommodation can fix the Mental Health Crisis / Heritage Office changes cause concern / Redfern Residents for Reconciliation / Housing Community Assistance Programme (HCAP) Activities for 2008 / Village Bus timetable for new Redfern to Woolloomooloo Service / In the Media / After Sorry - Where to for Aboriginal Rights? - Monday 25th February, Redfern Community Centre, 6pm / Redfern Street - Mum Shirl Memorial Rededication and Decorative Lighting Launch – Wednesday 27 February 2008 7pm / Eveleigh Pocket Park Renewal - Community Celebration - Saturday 1 March 2008, 11.00am at Pemulwuy Park / REDWatch Meeting – 5th March 2008 6pm The Factory / Have your say – Summary of Current Consultations

[Please use the list of articles below to find what is of interest to you and jump directly to the story of interest.. We do not expect you to be interested in everything.]

In this Update:

Redfern Community Health Centre Plans on Public Exhibition – Until 6th March 2008

Sydney University Major Project to Consolidate Abercrombie Street Precinct

Robert Domm meets Darlington Businesses over RWA Plans

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Inquiry Submissions – still being received until Friday 29th February 2008

The RWA Submission to the Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage

Review and Evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One

Aboriginal Housing Company asked by DoP for $60,000 to assess Concept Plan

Planning for Dry Alcohol Facility for Aboriginal Men in Redfern is well advanced

Waterloo Green Safety still a problem in spite of Action plan

Supervised Accommodation can fix the Mental Health Crisis

Heritage Office changes cause concern

Redfern Residents for Reconciliation

Housing Community Assistance Programme (HCAP) Activities for 2008

Village Bus timetable for new Redfern to Woolloomooloo Service

In the Media

After Sorry - Where to for Aboriginal Rights? - Monday 25th February, Redfern Community Centre, 6pm.

Redfern Street - Mum Shirl Memorial Rededication and Decorative Lighting Launch – Wednesday 27 February 2008 7pm

Eveleigh Pocket Park Renewal - Community Celebration - Saturday 1 March 2008, 11.00am at Pemulwuy Park

REDWatch Meeting – 5th March 2008 6pm The Factory

Have your say – Summary of Current Consultations

Coming Events (look at the new local events entered on the REDWatch website that are not covered here)

Redfern Community Health Centre Plans on Public Exhibition – Until 6th March 2008

The Health Administration Corporation (NSW Health) has had its Major Project Application (MP 07_0011) for Redfern Community Health Centre in the old Court House and Police station approved for exhibition. Public comments will be received until 6th March. The project involves the demolition of the former Redfern Police Station building, adaptive reuse of the former Redfern Courthouse building and construction of a three-storey building at the rear fronting Turner Street, with one level of basement car parking for the purposes of a community health centre. There have been some major changes since the preliminary application used for the DGRs (see Revised Cover Letter to Department of Planning (272Kb PDF) for changes made at request of the Department of Planning (DoP)). The building will be accessible from both Redfern and Turner Streets, with vehicular access from Turner Street. Turner Street will be the entrance for REPIDU (Resource and Education Program for Injecting Drug Users), with the main public entrance for other services in the facility from Redfern Street. The new complex will not have a hydrotherapy pool to replace the one that was at Rachael Forster. According to the Proposal the centre will offer services in the following areas:

  • Population Health: Community Nursing and Post Acute Care Services (home and centre based) including TB registered nurses, Community HIV/AIDS Allied Health Service (home and centre based); General Counselling; Aboriginal Health.
  • Drug Health Services: Resource and Education Program for Injecting Drug Users (REPIDU) and Primary Health Care (centre based and outreach); Counselling; Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) Program; Aboriginal Health.
  • Mental Health Services: Acute care, triage, case management and service co-ordination (centre based services and home visiting); Psychiatric consultation; Mental health HIV/Hep C consultation; Mental health work program.

The exhibition details can be found on the DoP’s Major projects part 3A - On Exhibition – this is the link to View project documents electronically. Documents can be viewed at - Department of Planning, Information Centre, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney; City of Sydney Council, Level 2, Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street, Sydney and the City of Sydney Council Redfern Neighbourhood Centre, 158 Redfern Street, Redfern. The main details of the proposal are in the Environmental Assessment (599 KB PDF). The Exhibition closes 6th March 2008.

Sydney University Major Project to Consolidate Abercrombie Street Precinct

Sydney University has lodged a Concept Plan with the Department of Planning to develop a new educational precinct within the site bounded by Abercrombie Street, Codrington Street, Darlington Street and Golden Grove Street. The application excludes Darlington Public School and 88, 90-93, 97 & 120 Darlington Road which are not owned by the University. The Minister declared the application a Major Project (MP 07_0158) under clause 6 of the Major Project SEPP (see Record of clause 6 opinion) on 12 December 2007 and the Director-General's requirements for Environmental Assessment were issued on 17th January 2008. The University’s preliminary assessment report is in three parts and it can be downloaded from the DoP Major Projects website from the following links: Part 1 (4.2Mb PDF Scan), Part 2 (4.2Mb PDF Scan), Part 3 (Includes proposed Concept plan 4.2Mb PDF Scan).

The proposal is said to be part of the University’s ‘Campus 2010’ programme, but we can’t find any reference to it in the ‘Campus 2010’ material on the University’s website. The Concept Plan comprises the site layout and 11 new building envelopes varying from 2-7 storeys in height with a total gross floor area 50-60,000m2 for a broad range of university uses, as well as 300 underground car spaces. The application says the key objectives for the Abercrombie Street Precinct include the following:

  • Develop major new facilities for the Economics and Business Faculty to supplement and up-grade the faculty's existing building on Codrington Street to establish a world class business school.
  • Integrate the precinct with the remainder of the campus.
  • Build on recent campus-improvement projects which provide spatial and functional order to the Darlington section of the campus.
  • Respond to the potential generated by redevelopment of the nearby former Eveleigh rail yards.
  • Maximise the yield of the precinct while also recognising the neighbourhood scale and character.
  • Establish links to the adjoining Institute Building precinct on Darlington and City Roads.
  • Encourage public permeability for the precinct.
  • Respect the heritage significance of the precinct, especially the Darlington Street terraces.
  • Provide underground car parking to replace surface car parking within precinct streets and on nearby parts of the campus.
  • Avoid adverse impacts on adjoining residential areas and the neighbouring public school.
  • Identify an optimal solution for the precinct and establish planning policies and controls to enable efficient implementation through subsequent design and development control activities.
  • Achieve high quality design and sustainable outcomes.

The report also says “The existing community facilities (the child care centre and Shepherd Centre) and university housing will be retained on the site, either within the existing or new buildings, or relocated within the vicinity. Non-core university uses (such as student services, or uses which have a community orientation or non-university clients) are being considered as the main uses along the lower levels of Abercrombie Street to provide a community interface and street level activity.”

Over the years the University has expanded to take over a significant portion of Darlington. As an example the current Darlington Primary School was built to replace the old Darlington School, which still stands within the University grounds. Darlington Public School will again be surrounded on two sides by the Sydney University campus. The proposed changes look like they will make the rear drop off area at the school less usable.

It is also interesting to note that the University sees an objective as to ”Respond to the potential generated by redevelopment of the nearby former Eveleigh rail yards”. The RWA CEO indicated to a recent Darlington business meeting that the University was one of the parties that might be interested in buying some of North Eveleigh when the RWA puts it up for sale.

Robert Domm meets Darlington Businesses over RWA Plans

The South Sydney Herald hosted a meeting of Darlington businesses with RWA CEO Robert Domm on February 14th 2008 to address Darlington businesses’ concerns about how they may be affected by changes to Redfern Railway Station and North Eveleigh. Currently the upgrade of Redfern Railway Station appears in the State Plan as starting in 2011, but the RWA hopes that with the sale of North Eveleigh that they will be able to get the state government to allocate these funds towards the project and get it under way sooner. The RWA is currently preparing a budget submission on this and does not want to talk about plans until funding has been agreed to by cabinet. Robert did indicate however that it was the RWA’s intention to expand the access to the station and that station access from Lawson Street would remain.

The RWA’s proposal for a bridge connecting the CarriageWorks to the ATP near the Large Erecting Shop has proved to be a logistical nightmare because of the problems associated with building across the active rail corridor. The RWA will now proceed to plan for a pedestrian and cycle bridge between Cornwallis Street (near the Watertower) and Wilson Street (behind the Foundry). This will enable bike ramps rather than the lifts which would have been needed for the original proposal near CarriageWorks. This connection will help to open up Darlington businesses to the ATP and increased pedestrian and bike traffic. The proposed expansion of the Sydney University Abercrombie Street campus (see earlier item in this update) will also bring more people to the area past the Darlington shopping strip. There will also be more people living in the area with the bulk of the 16 storey building near the new pedestrian bridge to be residential under the RWAs yet to be released Concept Plan. But there will also be new competition to the Darlington shops from the markets in the old Blacksmiths shops and a new retail area being planned for a higher building at the Paint Shop near CarriageWorks.

The RWA recognised that there would be problems with traffic and acknowledged existing problems at the CarriageWorks including Council not making provision for a drop off zone near the Wilson Street entrance in its initial approval. One business person said she had spoken to some surveyors who were looking at North Eveleigh on behalf of Woolworths. Robert Domm said they knew nothing about this but that there would likely be many parties interested in buying or renting in the area to be sold when it goes to market including potentially Sydney University. The RWA expects to extract extra value from the sale by taking it to market with an approved Concept Plan which would cut development time. The RWA is hopeful that sale with a concept plan will also lock buyers into delivering what has been proposed in the Concept Plan.

The RWA has lodged its preliminary application for Director General’s Requirements which should be available on the DoP major project website when the DGRs are provided in the near future. At that stage the community will get an idea of what the RWA propose. The RWA hope to have the final Concept Plan completed quickly and on exhibition in the next couple of months. The RWA CEO has agreed to meet again with Darlington businesses when the Concept Plan goes on exhibition to answer any questions. If you would like to be advised of this meeting please let Trevor Davies know on 0400008338 or register your interest with Geoff Turnbull as Darlington Chapter Vice President of the Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce on 9318 0824 or turnbullfamily@stassen.com.au.

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Inquiry Submissions – still being received until Friday 29th February 2008

The NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage has posted many of the 48 submissions it has received on their website at submission(s) published by the committee in relation to this inquiry. Government submissions available include submissions from the Redfern Waterloo Authority (see more later in this update) the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Education and Training. Submissions with a strong Redfern Focus include the No. 11, Redfern-Waterloo Authority, No. 41, REDWatch, No. 44, Mr Ross Smith, No. 48, BABANA Aboriginal Mens' Group and the No. 42, Koori Aged & Disability Services Advisory Group. The DAA submission No. 40, Hon Paul Lynch MP focuses mainly on programmes, including some in Redfern Waterloo. Interestingly in the December 2007 “Two Ways Together New South Wales Aboriginal Affairs Plan (2003-2012)” brochure the DAA in identifying their Partnership Communities, lists the Redfern partnership as “through the Redfern-Waterloo Authority” (page 12).

As we did for the Inquiry into Redfern Waterloo, we have compiled a list of links to the submissions with information where available about who made the submissions, if the file is a PDF text or a PDF scan as well as the size of the file. The list is on the REDWatch website at Submissions to Inquiry on Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage. The Inquiry has also heard three days of evidence from Government Departments, Non Government Organisations and individuals. There is a summary of who has appeared on each day and links to the transcripts on the REDWatch site under Hearings and Witnesses.

Government bodies who have already given evidence include: Department of Aboriginal Affairs, NSW Health, NSW Housing, Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Juvenile Justice, Attorney General's Department, Department of Corrective Services, New South Wales Police Force, Department of Community Services and Department of Education and Training, The New South Wales Aboriginal Housing Office, New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Evidence has also been heard from: The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Aboriginal Legal Services, Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council, Tranby Aboriginal College, Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Housing Communities Assistance Program, Chain Reaction Foundation & Mt Druitt Learning Ground, The Men's Shed - Mount Druitt, Aboriginal Justice Group, Circle Sentencing Program and the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council. The Inquiry has also heard evidence from the community in a public forum at Bidwill Uniting Church Community Centre.

The Inquiry has extended its submission deadline until Friday 29th February 2008, so if you want to add to what has already been said there is still time.

The RWA Submission to the Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage

In their submission the RWA makes available significant new information about its activities, which has not previously been made public. The RWA’s Submission No. 11, Redfern-Waterloo Authority is a scan copy and hence the text will not be picked up by search engines for those researching aspects of the RWA’s activities (The RWA Appendices are the BEP, EEP, HSP1 and draft HSP2 which are searchable). To help make the RWA information accessible we have made an OCR version with an electronic table of contents and placed it in the RWA Statements section of the REDWatch website at www.redwatch.org.au/RWA/statements/2007/071130rwa. As with all OCR documents please check the OCR text against the original to make sure that no errors were made in production of the text document. So readers can easily refer to the mentioned sections of the submission in this update we have linked to various parts of the OCR text version.

The RWA submission reports on the RWA’s three plans with an emphasis on the indigenous components and includes many items which are either not connected to the RWA, predated its involvement or which probably would have happened irrespective of the RWA’s existence. Under Stage One of the Plan the RWA provides a list of its Achievements to date which includes the major developments that have occurred in the area with “quantifiable Indigenous Impacts” in bold. The list primarily highlights the number of Indigenous jobs created during the life of each project, the $16m earmarked for Indigenous affordable housing and the RWA investment of $850,000 in the Yaama Dhiyaan & Les Tobler Construction Training Centre. Other projects listed with quantifiable Indigenous impacts include the new health centre, the Indigenous Land Corporation’s Black Theatre & Redfern School site redevelopments and the City of Sydney’s Eveleigh Street park upgrades.

As well as seeking to gain credit for activities on school site, the RWA lists as a major achievement that with the sale of the school and Rachel Forster sites it has also ”achieved returns to government of more than $25million from the sale of surplus lands”. The RWA says they expect to increase returns to government “by a further $100-120 million in 2008” presumably from the sale of a concept planned North Eveleigh where the RWA want the sale proceeds to go towards covering the cost of the Redfern station upgrade.

The submission also mentions the Management of Australian Technology Park. It deals with the Aboriginal Housing Company Land – Eveleigh Street Precinct (including the Block) only in terms of its rezoning (see separate item below). The submission provides no achievements to date from the Redfern-Waterloo Partnership Agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales – Indigenous Community other than the RWA negotiating it in June 2006.

In the Training, Enterprise & Employment section the submission the RWA reiterates the Employment and Enterprise Plan philosophy that the “RWA sees wealth creation as an antidote to welfare dependency. The path to wealth creation through well-paid employment is education – whether this is through vocational education or tertiary education.” The submission recognises the need for Developing a Culture of Work in the Aboriginal Community and documents some aspects of the problem but concludes that the “RWA has found the best way to create a culture of work is to create the opportunity for Aboriginal people to become employed in mainstream jobs.” The submission also details the RWA Employment and Enterprise Strategies.

On the Human Services Plan the RWA submission still gives some credence to the Morgan Disney review. In summary it says: Overall, the Human Services Plan is premised on delivering positive outcomes for the Redfern-Waterloo community, to be achieved through reforms to service delivery within existing resources”. The question of where the savings come from to meet identified unmet need remain unanswered. How the early intervention strategies detailed in the plans will be funded adequately, while still servicing those who have not benefited from early intervention “within existing resources”, is also not addressed.

The RWA submission provides a list of its human services Achievements to date which is worth a read by human service providers who know the area to see what has been included. The submission says “There has been much progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One to date. Reports on the implementation of actions by Government agencies have been collected by the RWA on a quarterly basis and base line data relating to the priority areas has also been recorded and will continue to be recorded until 2010 to track the anticipated changes over time”. Unfortunately this progress of government departments in implementing the HSP is not covered in the submission apart from some individual projects.

The submission does however reveal for the first time that the RWA is undertaking a Review and Evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One (see more below). The priority areas of the RWA’s Draft Phase Two- Human Services Plan are also included in the submission but there is no explanation as to why over 12 months has elapsed since the public exhibition and the plan has still not been finalised by government. Hopefully government is reconsidering community and non-government input from the human services forum and the feedback from the exhibition of the draft phase two plan.

In its submission Conclusion the RWA says in part “The NSW Government's decision to establish an urban renewal authority with a clearly-defined purpose - to prepare and implement a long-term strategic plan for the area's revitalisation - has laid a solid foundation for future growth and prosperity. Essential linkages are being created to ensure that the benefits of urban renewal are shared by those in most need. However, positive change to the status quo is invariably incremental.”

To our mind overcoming Indigenous disadvantage is not simply about the incremental trickle down to the most disadvantaged from urban renewal. It requires definite programmes to address disadvantage irrespective of how it meshes with government plans to liquidate government land holdings to provide the government facilities lacking in the Redfern Waterloo area. The RWA is to be congratulated for the way it has used its influence to create Aboriginal employment opportunities on redevelopments in the area. It also it should be congratulated on the way it has lent significant support to the pre-existing activities of Les Tobler and Aunty Beryl Van Oploo in Aboriginal job training. We are aware that there are concerns in the community about some of the RWA employment and enterprise activities but, without more detailed information about the programmes from the RWA, it is not possible to properly assess their actual effectiveness.

While we are sure there are success stories as a result of RWA supported courses, just the provision of job and training opportunities will not overcome the problems from low education achievement, poor health, high incarceration and substance abuse and the effects of intergenerational unemployment. There needs to be a range of programmes addressing the diverse issues faced by the local people so they are assisted to gain the benefit from such opportunities.

It is invariably the case that in implementing plans the idea of what should happens meets the practical on the ground reality and new previously unidentified issues and possible solutions become evident. There are some indications that this too is happening with the RWA. The RWA involvement with Babana has lead to a proposal for a community facility for Aboriginal men reported in both the RWA submission and submission No. 48, BABANA Aboriginal Mens' Group (see more details below). As it is a grassroots initiative it could provide an important bridging role to help Aboriginal men deal with the complex interaction of issues that make it difficult for them to take up the employment and training opportunities that the RWA is creating. The RWA’s support for place for Aboriginal men in Redfern Waterloo should be welcomed, even if it is not in the EEP or HSP.

Review and Evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One

The RWA Submission to the NSW Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Provides details of a current Review and Evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One. REDWatch wrote to the RWA seeking further information on the review and on the “Consultation with key stakeholders including government agencies, non government agencies and community” to which it refers. The RWA provided further clarification to REDWatch which indicates that the consultant is currently meeting with some NGOs involved in implementing the HSP and which contradicts its submission to the Inquiry that “consultation with the community to identify their understanding, perceptions and feedback on the impact of the Human Services Plan would be a separate piece of research … not in the current scope of the review project”.

Below we have provided the text of the RWA submission on the Review and Evaluation:

“An independent qualified consultant has been contracted to undertake the review and evaluation of the progress of the Human Services Plan Phase One to date. An Evaluation Framework for the Human Services Plan has been developed and was endorsed by the relevant stakeholders in June 2006. This framework consists of a hierarchy of outcome, intermediate and process indicators covering the ten key priority areas. Key tasks in developing the Evaluation report will include:

  • Review of relevant plans and policies including the State Plan 2006 and Two Ways Together for Aboriginal people.
  • Assembly and interpretation of 12 month data on outcome indicators compared to baseline data.
  • Assembly and interpretation of 12 month data on service output and intermediate indicators compared to baseline data.
  • Assembly and assessment of agency performance in implementing key actions and strategies, and
  • Consultation with key stakeholders including government agencies, non government agencies and community.

The draft evaluation report will be prepared for circulation to the Human Services Plan Implementation Senior Officers Group for comment in early March 2008. The Human Services Plan will continue to be reviewed and evaluated on a biennial basis to monitor progress and achievement of anticipated outcomes for the community of Redfern and Waterloo.”

The clarification from the RWA CEO to REDWatch says:

“The requirement for the evaluation and review of the Human Services Plan Phase 1 was approved by NSW Government in December 2005. The RWA contracted Richard Gilbert Consulting in 2006 to develop the evaluation framework for the Human Services Plan. The framework includes:

  • medium and long term outcome indicators;
  • process indicators to monitor plan implementation by agencies; and
  • An audit of the plan to align goals with strategies.

The framework also indicates that the first major evaluation of performance in implementing the Plan would occur 18 months after the release of the final Plan. Government agencies have reported on their performance indicators in 2006 and 2007. In June 2007, 18 months after the adoption of the Human Services Plan Phase 1, Richard Gilbert Consulting developed a proposal to provide the 18 month evaluation of the Plan. Key elements of the proposal include:

  • Review of relevant plans and policies
  • Interpretation of 12 month data on outcome indicators compared to baseline data
  • Interpretation of 12 month data on service output and intermediate indicators compared to baseline data
  • Assessment of agency performance in implementing key actions and strategies (process indicators)
  • Review of data obtained through any community surveys and focus groups gathered throughout the process of the Plan being implemented. This includes review of meeting notes, Taskforce actions and working groups.
  • Consultation with key stakeholders with responsibility for actions in the Plan. This includes government agencies and NGO’s.
  • Preparation of the final report.

The review of the implementation of the Plan is focusing primarily on the actions that have been achieved, actions that haven’t been achieved and the reasons why, and a review of the processes utilised by lead and support agencies in implementation. This review is around progress to date.

Consultation with the community to identify their understanding, perceptions and feedback on the impact of the Human Services Plan would be a separate piece of research utilising a specific methodology for this purpose. This type of research requires a sampling methodology that is statistically valid and representative of a cross section of the community. This is not in the current scope of the review project.  However, the Consultant is currently meeting with NGO’s and Community based organisations such as Connect Redfern, and South Sydney Youth Services etc that are actively involved in the Plan’s implementation. Should you wish to discuss this further, please contact Julie Parsons at the RWA office on 9202 9100.”

Aboriginal Housing Company asked by DoP for $60,000 to assess Concept Plan

When the Aboriginal Housing Company put in its Preliminary Application for the Director General’s Requirements for the Pemulwuy project the DoP waived the initial fee. The AHC thought that that arrangement flowed through to subsequent fees however the DoP has advised the AHC that they will not waive the fee for subsequent parts of the process and hence, for the assessment of their Concept Plan to proceed, the AHC will need to pay around $60,000. The final processing fees could be at least three times the current fee. So far the Concept Plan has been put together by AHC supporters on a shoe string with pro-bono support from many professionals, but now the AHC has to come up with cold hard cash to pay for the assessment. The AHC is a lean operation these days providing affordable aboriginal housing with no government support (something the Department of Housing finds difficult even with the support of government). So finding $60,000, without strings attached and without eating into existing operations, is a big problem.

The DoP’s refusal to waive the fees has upset AHC CEO Michael Mundine who is compares the Minister with the Sherriff of Nottingham - "Sartor, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is trying to steal from the poor to give to the rich again... shame on him and his department...". The AHC initially told the DoP it would not pay for the project assessment, but rather than see the Block continue to sit idle and continue to provide a location for anti social activity, they are looking for a solution with no strings attached. So if you think you can help change the Minister and DoP’s position or assist in some way please contact the AHC office.

After all the conflict between the Minister and the AHC over the last 3 years about the Block it is disappointing that all the RWA can say in its submission to the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Inquiry is that the rezoning increased the land value of the AHC. In summary the submission says: “The new planning controls developed by the RWA in Stage One of the Built Environment Plan for the Eveleigh Street precinct …  have considerably increased the value and development potential of AHC land … The zone also allows housing … the AHC lodged a Concept Plan … It is understood that the application seeks to take advantage of the significant opportunities provided by the new planning controls.” There is no mention of the fact that the zoning changes reduced the residential floor space allowed on the site or of any of the other planning problems it created. To put in an application for development on the Block the AHC has to do so in accordance with the new controls otherwise it would not meet the Director General’s Requirements!  You can see the full text from the RWA submission under Aboriginal Housing Company Land – Eveleigh Street Precinct (including the Block).

Planning for Dry Alcohol Facility for Aboriginal Men in Redfern is well advanced

The RWA submission to the Inquiry into Overcoming Aboriginal Disadvantage in its Reduce Drug and Alcohol misuse section of the Human Services Plan announced that “RWA and City of Sydney have developed a proposal for a Dry Alcohol Facility in Redfern that will cater specifically for Aboriginal men. This project has attained support from the NSW Department of Housing in the provision of a facility with the RWA allocating funding for the refurbishment of the building. Funding is being sought from the Commonwealth to operate the service.”  In another point the RWA flags the “Development and implementation of a range of actions through the Waterloo Green Action Plan to address the health needs of street drinkers”. We understand RWA representatives at a Waterloo Green Meeting were asked about the proposal and the location provided by DoH, but they declined to elaborate.

The submission from BABANA Aboriginal Mens' Group (686 KB PDF Scan) to the Inquiry into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage provides a rationale for the establishment of such a mens centre. “BABANA respectfully suggests therefore that, rather than embarking on ineffective, policing responses and the creation of Alcohol Free Zones, the Australian and NSW Governments and the City of Sydney should establish a multi-purpose Aboriginal mens community facility in Redfern and assist it to move to financial viability and sustainability and independence.” (We have also made some comments on this proposal at the end of the item on the RWA submission to the Inquiry).

Waterloo Green Safety still a problem in spite of Action plan

Following the Waterloo Green Safety Audit a whole of government response was initiated which produced an Action Plan which was launched in October 2007 by the RWA Senior Officers Group. On Thursday 14th February 2008 the Waterloo Green Action Group met with Government Agencies for the first public feedback session on the implementation of the Action Plan. There is apparently a significant difference of opinion between DoH, police and community members about what the DoH is able to do to improve the safety of the Green.

We understand Police LAC Commander Mark Walton told the meeting that Police could only respond to allegations of criminal behaviour and reported offences against the liquor act on the Green. He pointed out that the Green could not be declared an Alcohol Free Zone under the Local Government Act as Housing NSW owned the Green and not council. The official named by the Minister as handling the Waterloo Green issue did not attend the meeting and residents were concerned that DoH did not send an appropriately senior manager who could deal with issues on behalf of Housing NSW.

The Housing NSW position is expressed in a recent letter from Minister Matt Brown to residents saying that “I am informed Housing NSW has received legal advice that it does not have the powers to enforce an alcohol free zone at Waterloo Green and that drinking in the area is not illegal.  Notwithstanding this, Housing NSW continues to work with the Redfern Waterloo Authority, other services providers and the local community to address concerns regarding street drinking and anti social behaviour.”

Community members were generally supportive of the police position, holding that Housing NSW is the owner of the property and can determine what happens on their land. In fact they go further and say that the Housing NSW has a duty of care to its tenants and those it allows to pass over its land and use the Green and that its failure to act on the issue opens Housing NSW up to legal action if anyone is injured as a result of them not taking action. Residents further say that DoH has addressed this issue in places like Taree, Dubbo and Lismore and are just dragging its feet in Waterloo. They argue the police can be appointed as agent for the Housing NSW to implement Housing NSW policy for Waterloo Green, such as a no alcohol policy if Housing NSW decided that was appropriate.

All this points to the need for the RWA to get the various Departments together and get the Departments to sort out a solution for those that use Waterloo Green. Residents at the meeting expressed some concern that while the RWA is happy to take credit for facilitating the development of the Waterloo Green Action Plan; they seemed reluctant to take on responsibility for the Action Plan’s implementation. Sorting out such problems is the reason for having a whole of government approach and the RWA and the relevant Departments need to find and implement a solution. Some community concerns about the Green also appeared in a brief story Clean up this Mess in Courier Central.

Supervised Accommodation can fix the Mental Health Crisis

Central Magazine’s report Nation’s Mental Health Crisis - New report exposes dire situation revealed the findings of Tolkien II, a four-year study conducted by St Vincent's Hospital researchers which found that the shortage of supervised accommodation for people with mental health problems was aiding a vicious circle for sufferers, clogging hospital beds and costing the government millions of dollars in treatment. The study found that providing suitable supervised accommodation would provide more appropriate care for many people and free up sufficient hospital beds to deal with the current level of crisis cases. More information on this study can be found at here. Housing NSW and the RWA should give serious consideration to providing some such accommodation in Stage 2 of the Built Environment Plan so local people with mental health issues can have supervised accommodation within their community.

Heritage Office changes cause concern

There are major concerns about the Department of Planning Heritage Office Changes Statement released on 19th February 2008 by the Department of Planning and reported in the SMH Heritage advisers will take on development under office amalgamation. The Herald article reports The body responsible for providing heritage advice to the State Government will be folded into the Department of Planning in a move critics fear could seriously undermine protection of heritage buildings and sites in NSW”. The incorporation of the Heritage Office into the Department of Planning rather than it operating as a separate entity is of concern for Redfern Waterloo decisions given the requirement in the Act for the Minister for Redfern Waterloo to consult the Heritage Office before overriding the Heritage Act in Redfern Waterloo.

Redfern Residents for Reconciliation

The Redfern Oral History website http://www.redfernoralhistory.org has links to new photos of the gathering on the Block for the apology. A new section giving details of Aboriginal enterprises in the area is being added to the site. RRR has changed its meeting date to the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7pm at Redfern Community Centre. For more details contact Lyn Turnbull on turnbullfamily@stassen.com.au.

Housing Community Assistance Programme (HCAP) Activities for 2008

There are a number of changes planned in the Housing Community Assistance Programme which have been outlined in HCAP Supported Community Meetings and Projects through 2008. In the Waterloo Neighbourhood Advisory Board there has been a separation between tenant participation and community participation. In short 

  • Tenant participation based is based on a refined and more robust version of the existing precinct & Housing Standards structure  which would operate as the primary formal relationship between residents and the local Client Service Team
  • Community engagement which would include greater accountability and representation from all relevant agencies and possibly be based and organised around specific themes and associated actions eg safety, community events. The Waterloo Green Action Group would be an example of such a group that has been effective in the immediate past.

If you would like to be involved in some way with one of the HCAP Programmes please contact Michael Shreenan at the Factory Community centre on 8399 1011.

Village Bus timetable for new Redfern to Woolloomooloo Service

In the last update we covered the new Woolloomooloo to Redfern - Village to Village bus service. The time table for both the new service and the existing Redfern to Glebe service that connects to it can be downloaded from the REDWatch website under Local Transport. The new service operates round trips on Thursdays and Fridays stopping at Surry Hills Shopping Village, Surry Hills ANZ Bank, Northcott flats, Central Railway pedestrian tunnel, The Dental Hospital, Old Children's Court, Frog Hollow Park, National Arts School / Caritas, St Vincent's Public Hospital, Darlinghurst Road at Green Park, the medical centre and William Street, Kings Cross Station, the old Metro Cinema, Woolworth's Macleay St, St Neots Street, Brougham St and terminates at Mary McDonald Activity Centre Bourke Street Woolloomooloo.

In the Media

Redfern Waterloo have had many media mentions in the last couple of weeks, many as a result of stories coming from the Federal Government’s apology to the stolen generation and the many people who turned up at the celebrations at the Big TV screen at the Redfern Community Centre to watch the apology. Such articles included Redfern out in force to watch apology, despite rain (ABC) and Speech gets standing ovation in Redfern (SMH). The Banana conference on improving services for Aboriginal men held after the apology got coverage in Central’s Apology brings chance to end family violence.

Not quite as big in the media as the apology was the media coverage of AFL suspended player Ben Cousin’s trip to the Block with Anthony Mundine which was reported in articles like Revivalist meeting as Cousins faces his demons.

In other local news The Australian Financial Review did an in depth look at the CarriageWorks first year of operation and the challenges facing its Director Sue Hunt in Staging place - A workshop for creative regeneration.

After Sorry - Where to for Aboriginal Rights? - Monday 25th February, Redfern Community Centre, 6pm.

Following the successful Canberra Protest against intervention in the NT, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition is continuing to meet at the Redfern Community Centre on Monday nights at 6pm. At the next meeting on Monday 25th February they are holding a forum After Sorry - Where to for Aboriginal Rights?  Speakers include: Bev Manton, Chairperson, NSW Aboriginal Land Council; Phil Bradley, NSW Teachers Federation; Shane Phillips, Aboriginal Rights Coalition and; Nicole Watson, UTS. For more information on The Aboriginal Rights Coalition visit http://aboriginalrightscoalition.wordpress.com/about/ or contact Greg 0432050240 or Paddy 0415800586.

Redfern Street - Mum Shirl Memorial Rededication and Decorative Lighting Launch – Wednesday 27 February 2008 7pm

This stage of the Redfern Street Upgrade includes the restoration of the Mum Shirl Memorial and decorative lighting on historic Redfern Street buildings. Consistent with the City’s environmental sustainability initiatives, each decorative light uses low wattage and long-life lights. Some of the LED lights used will last up to 50,000 hours. The lighting has been installed without affecting the heritage value of the buildings. Lighting features and upgrades include:

  • Redfern Park Gates: vertical shaped spotlights directed at park gates.
  • Redfern Court House:- highlights on entrance archway and steps; spotlight on the coat of arms.
  • St Vincent de Paul Church: lights between arched windows on Redfern Street façade; downlights on side walls and main door; spotlight on figure at the top of the façade.
  • Mum Shirl Memorial: new seat; new planter beds; new plaque celebrating Mum Shirl’s contribution.
  • Redfern Post Office: soft floodlight on copper dome; new light behind clock face; bell tower brightened internally and externally; new lights on entryway and either side of steps.

Join Council for the rededication of the Mum Shirl Memorial and for the launch of new lighting on historic buildings in Redfern Street - Wednesday 27 February 2008 7.00pm to 9.00pm - Commencing at Redfern Town Hall 73 Pitt Street, Redfern. More information on the CoS website at Redfern St Community Celebration RSVP essential to Lyn Black, Community Engagement Coordinator, 9246 7509

Eveleigh Pocket Park Renewal - Community Celebration - Saturday 1 March 2008, 11.00am at Pemulwuy Park

Join the City of Sydney to celebrate the renewal of Hugo Street Reserve, Yellowmundee Park and Pemulwuy Park in Eveleigh. New park features include:

  • Hugo Street Reserve: fence artwork by artists Bronwyn Bancroft and Dale Jones-Evans; resurfaced basketball court and new fence; new native trees and new street trees; low fenced area for dogs to be exercised; more grass for general play; new seats.
  • Yellowmundee Park: new grass; new paving and seating; new native trees and new street trees;
  • Pemulwuy Park: new grass and concrete kerbing; playground improvements – new swings and rubber surface; new paving near Lawson Street and surrounding the playground; new native trees and new street trees; dog waste bin and drinking fountain

Meet at Pemulwuy Park at 11.00am for a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony and then a walking tour from Pemulwuy Park to Hugo Street Reserve ending at Yellowmundee Park. Luke Carroll will MC performances by Redfern Youth Program, Terry Olsen and crew, Eora Nation, Wire MC plus DJ and Cho Cho. The acknowledgement of fence artwork created by artists Bronwyn Bancroft and Dale Jones-Evans will include participation by local children and tucker provided by Aunty Beryl. Celebration ends at 1pm. More information on the CoS website Eveleigh Pocket Parks Renewal Opening or contact Katrina Guyatt 9265 9115 or kguyatt@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

REDWatch Meeting – 5th March 2008 6pm The Factory

REDWatch meets the first Wednesday of the month downstairs at The Factory, 67 Raglan Street Waterloo at 6pm. Meetings are open to the public, so come along and talk about what is happening in Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo

Have your say – Summary of Current Consultations

Below we have listed consultations currently open for community input and provided a link for further information: 

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Upcoming Events
Council's public meeting on Waterloo - 6 March 6pm Mar 06, 2019 06:00 PM - 07:30 PM — Alexandria Town Hall
Monthly REDWatch Meeting Mar 07, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Factory Community Centre, 67 Raglan Street Waterloo
Monthly REDWatch Meeting Apr 04, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Factory Community Centre, 67 Raglan Street Waterloo
Monthly REDWatch Meeting May 02, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Factory Community Centre, 67 Raglan Street Waterloo
Monthly REDWatch Meeting Jun 06, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Factory Community Centre, 67 Raglan Street Waterloo
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