Waterloo Public Housing Meeting

(The Factory Community Centre)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our meeting. I'd 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.

We last met in September of last year. Since then, the third edition of our Over 55s Healthy Ageing Program - Growing Older, Living Dangerously - has become available. It includes a range of free or low-cost activities including martial arts, Zumba dancing, sustainable eating, the Philosophers' Café, movie club and circus skills, to name some.

There are also programs for the over-55s at the Ron Williams Centre in Kepos Street, including a healthy daily lunch, sports and bingo, computers and free Wi-fi, karaoke and a subsidised podiatry clinic.

The Centre's community workers can also help you with advice and referrals to support services such as Meals on Wheels, community transport and supported shopping.

At the other end of the age spectrum, we celebrated National Youth Week through April with a range of activities centred on young people. These included Centre Stage, a very successful dance party held at Town Hall for over 200 young people; a Sports Day on April 14, and the annual Betty Making Youth Awards.

Last week the Waterloo community hosted the annual Volunteer Awards as part of National Volunteering Week. Congratulations to all award recipients and, on behalf of the City, thank you for the vital role you play in helping members of your community.

We celebrated Seniors' Week and Living in Harmony in April and a number of Good Neighbourhood barbecues were hosted by the City in February and March, with events in Redfern, Waterloo, Zetland and Darlington. The next series will begin in October.

Waterloo Library continues as a great resource for the local community. As well as books and other resources it includes free internet access. On Wednesday May 25 National Simultaneous Storytime will promote reading for young people, with thousands of children across Australia gathering to read the book, Feathers for Phoebe.

The Redfern Community Centre hosts a range of activities for young people ranging from cook to sports, as well as help with employment and training services.

The City, in partnership with other local agencies, supports Midnight Basketball at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to provide night-time recreation for young people on weekends.

The City also plays a key role in co-ordinating a range of local Alternative Education Providers, including the Green Square School, Key College and the Exodus Foundation to improve education and options for young people who have not been able to stick with mainstream education. The Glebe Pathways Project successfully engaged 13 students in the last school year, with five acquiring their School Certificate.

The next Family and culture Day on The Block will be held on Saturday May 28. This drug and alcohol free event is well attended, and offers people the chance to sample indigenous foods and celebrate Aboriginal culture through music and children's activities. It has brought a positive vibe to The Block and significantly reduced crime and anti-social behaviour in the local area.

The City is continuing to work closely with Housing NSW through our monthly Memorandum of Understanding meetings. These deal with a range of issues from cleansing and waste to companion animals, local events and collaborative approaches to issues of community concern.

Since our last meeting, the Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project has commenced. This covers the six high-rises around Waterloo Green and it provides a concierge service, night-time security and a repair service. I'm told that the project has got off to a good start and many tenants now feel safer in their buildings.

The Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan was released in late January, with a consultation period open until February 28. The Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority and Housing NSW have held 36 consultation sessions across the area and spoken to about 750 people.

Housing NSW tells us that feedback on the plan has been overwhelmingly positive, with most people saying it will be good for the area. People are generally comfortable with the proposed densities and the aim of achieving a social mix.

Most concerns focus on open space, community facilities, parking and safety. Tenants have also said they have some concerns about the allocation of properties.

The Waterloo Safety Audit led by Housing NSW is about to begin in partnership with Redfern Police, the City of Sydney, the factory Community Centre and other local services, as well as with you, the tenants.

Like the 2010 Redfern Safety Audit, it will include every precinct and look at all the issues that are important to you.

The Waterloo Well-being and Safety Action Group, chaired by the City, continues to meet monthly. It's open for anyone interested in safety and well-being issues and will be a key group in conducting the safety audit.

There are some other events I'd like to remind you of.

The next RedWater Markets will be held this Saturday, 21 May at Redfern Park.

The Cook Mosaic Project - which involved many members of the local community over a series of 18 workshops - will soon be installed. This creative and very successful project was funded by the City and Housing NSW.

The Waterloo Bicycle Recycle Group continues to meet every Monday at Waterloo Green. It's currently produced a video about their terrific work, and focussing on safe cycling and health.

The Factory is hosting the 2012 International Children's Festival on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, with 500 international children attending for a week of theatre, dance and fun, camping out under the stars. In the coming month, The Factory will be working with local children preparing to be hosts and carrying out fundraising for the Festival.

Finally, a new local group, called Groundswell, has been formed to help local tenants and non-government organisations have their views heard on the Redfern Waterloo master plan and BEP 2 process.

Once again, thank you all for coming to our meeting.