Redfern Public Tenants Meeting

(10.30am 27 July 2011, The Redfern Centre)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our meeting. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I'd like to welcome to our meeting Superintendent Luke Freudenstein, Commander of the Redfern Police Local Area Command, and Clive Bradshaw, Acting Area Director for Housing NSW.

Since our last meeting in April, the Kepos Street Centre has continued to provide programs for the Over 55s - bingo and computer access among them - along with a daily lunch and a subsidised podiatry clinic.

Our community worker at the Centre also provides help and referrals to support services such as Meals on Wheels, community transport and supported shopping.

The City is about to launch the fourth edition of our Growing Older, Living Dangerously health ageing program detailing free or low-cost activities for a wide range of interests.

We celebrated both National Youth Week and Seniors Week in April with a number of activities including the Betty Making Youth Awards and a very successful Over 55s Dance Party.

In May the annual Volunteer Awards were held at the Factory Community Centre as part of National Volunteering Week and I want to congratulate all award recipients who have contributed so much to the Redfern community.

Waterloo and Surry Hills libraries are great meeting places and a terrific resource for this community, with a wide range of books and other resources, including free internet access.

There's a good range of activities for young people at the Redfern Community Centre, including cooking and sports programs and help with employment and training services.

The City supports Midnight Basketball at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence with local agencies providing night time recreational programs for young people at weekends.

The City continues to co-ordinate local Alternative Education Providers, including the Green Square School, Key College and the Exodus Foundation who provide an essential service for young people who have dropped out of mainstream education.

The next Family and Culture Day on the Block will be on Saturday July 30 from midday to 4pm. It gives people the opportunity to try indigenous "wild foods" and to celebrate Aboriginal culture through music and children's performances. These regular days have played an important part in activating the Block in a positive way, significantly reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

The City hosted and sponsored a number of NAIDOC events earlier this month from 3 to 10 of July including Family Days, and Elders' Lunch, talks and workshops, photography, and film, mural projects, music and awards.

The City continues to work closely with Housing NSW, holding monthly meetings under our Memorandum of Understanding to deal with issues ranging from pet animals to safety and amenity, as well as supporting local events and community action.

Work is continuing on the swimming pool area at Prince Alfred Park, though other areas are now complete and are being enjoyed. The improvements include new paths, benches and tables and lighting. There is a new exercise area, basketball courts, tennis courts and a playground in operation, providing a terrific sports and recreational hub for this community.

Next month Council will consider community responses to the proposal alcohol-free zones for Waterloo Green and surrounding streets proposed by Redfern Police and Housing NSW and our decision will be guided by the community's response.

The law was amended last December to allow alcohol restrictions to be applied to Housing NSW land, and the Waterloo Green proposed ban is the first the City will consider that applies to Housing NSW land.

The City, Housing NSW, police and tenant representatives, with other agencies, meet every two months on the Redfern Neighbourhood Advisory Board to deal with community and housing issues.

Consultations for the Redfern and Waterloo Built Environment Plan has finished, identifying issues including the need for open space, community facilities, parking and improved safety. Tenants also said that they had concerns about the allocation of properties.

Last year's Redfern Safety Audit is being implemented by Housing NSW and last month, over 100 nursing students from the United States helped delver some small landscaping and cleaning projects.

The Waterloo Safety Audit is about to begin, led by Housing NSW in partnership with the City, Redfern Police, the Factory Community Centre and residents. It will include every Waterloo precinct and will look at all issues identified by tenants regarding the management of housing precincts and public places.

The Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project began just over six months ago. This program covers the six high rises around Waterloo Green and provides a concierge service, night-time security and a repair service and has resulted in some tenants saying they now feel safer in their buildings.

Housing NSW is holding consultations on their Housing Affordability Scheme and it's important that both public and private residents have their say in this. Housing NSW are also consulting on their tenant engagement framework, so for more information, please contact your local office or go to

There are a couple of projects to mention today: an outreach worker employed for the Beyond Walls project based at The Factory Community Centre began work this month, helping street drinkers to get access to relevant services. The worker will also make recommendation to the Redfern Waterloo Community Drug Action Team and to local safety groups on possible actions they might take.

The CADRE Project will come to the area later this year, offering workshops to local agencies and residents to help the community to look out for neighbours with mental health issues.

There are a number of upcoming events, including the next RedWater Markets which will be held at Redfern Park on Saturday August 20 and the White Ribbon Day which marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, with a number of events being held around the City.

The Waterloo Bicycle Recycle Group meets every Monday at Waterloo Green. It's open to all, and you can learn to build a bike, learn maintenance skills and skills for safe cycling.

The Factory is hosting the 2012 International Children's Festival on Cockatoo Island. Five hundred children from many countries will be here for a week of theatre, dance and fun, camping out on the island. Over the next month, The Factory will work with local children who will be hosts and holding a number of fund-raising activities, which I hope you'll all support.

A number of young people have just returned from Turkey, where Yurungai dancers represented Australia at the 7th International Children and Youth Theatre Festival.

I remind you that the next Redfern Community Police meeting is on August 11 at Redfern Police Station at 10am.

There are Good Neighbourhood BBQs coming up in October and November. These provide a chance for you to meet your neighbours, and local Police and City staff, and to get information about safety and security in a relaxed atmosphere. There will be live music, children's activities and a free BBQ.

Later in the year there will be a couple of great community celebrations that have now been in place for a few years: The Redfern Neighbourhood Day at Poet's Corner, and Summer on the Green at Waterloo Green.

The fourth annual Pet Day will be held on Saturday September 10 from 11am at Ward Park in Surry Hills, and International Mental Health Day will be on Monday October 10 and a number of events are being planned for that.

And finally, I'd like to remind you that Groundswell is a new local group that has been formed to give local tenants and organisations a chance to have their views heard in relation to the Redfern Waterloo Master Plan and Built Environment Plan 2 Process and to act as an independent advocate.

Thank you for coming here today and I'll now hand over to...