Waterloo Public Tenants' Meeting

(10.30am 9 August 2012, Factory Community Centre, Raglan Street)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who live in our city.

This is our second meeting this year, and I also welcome Michael Modder from Housing NSW, Constable Maria Flood, Crime Prevention Officer of Redfern Local Area Command and Dominic Grenot, Public Liaison Officer at the City of Sydney.

The fifth annual Pet Day will be held in Surry Hills, in Ward Park and the Northcott Community Centre, on Saturday September 15, from 11am to 3pm. All pet owners are welcome to it for free pet health checks, information and advice. Transport will be available and flyers will be sent around in late August to remind you.

In the first week of July, we celebrated NAIDOC Week across the inner city and this year, for the first time, launched our celebration of indigenous culture right in the heart of the city, in Hyde Park. It was a great success and has set a good pattern for future NAIDOC Weeks.

October is International Mental Health Month and International Mental Health Day will be marked on Wednesday October 10. We'll be sending out information about the events planned closer to the time.

Also in October and November, Good Neighbourhood Barbecues will be held, which I hope you'll all be able to get to.

The Redwater Markets go from strength to strength, being held on the third Saturday of each month in Redfern Park. The next markets will be on Saturday August 18.

The Waterloo Recycling Workshop meets weekly on Fridays from 8.30am. Come along to the weekly market next to Waterloo Green and pick up a bargain - recycled furniture or household items (though no white goods or electrical items).

The Cycle Re-Cycle Club meets twice a week from 5pm to 8.30 on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Waterloo Recycle Workshop at 1 Philip Street (in the garage below the Turanga Building).

The Family and Culture Day has been held on Waterloo Green this year, on a bi-monthly basis. This alcohol and drug-free day has lots to offer children and families and the next one is planned for late September.

The annual Summer on the Green event will be held in early December on Waterloo Green, and even, there'll be notices near the time.

The City and Housing NSW meet monthly to work on a range of issues including safety and crime prevention, alcohol management, improvements to parks and public spaces, to recycling and to better communication between residents, Housing NSW and the City.

A new edition of Growing Older, Living Dangerously is available and the Centre in Kepos Street Redfern continues to provide a terrific range of activities and information. The Waterloo Library is also a great resource for everyone in the community, particularly the older members.

In June the City approved a number of new alcohol free zones and alcohol prohibited areas, including Bakery Reserve, Lenton Parade and Redfern Park. These enable the Police to monitor drinking in these areas.

At our last meeting in April we talked about Waterloo Green becoming a prohibited area and in June, the City held a survey in which over 250 residents told us overwhelmingly that things had improved and you wanted the APA to continue. The Police are continuing to monitor and enforce this, and on-going feedback for them is important.

The Beyond Walls Outreach program will continue until the end of the year, and there are on-going discussions to get funding to ensure it continues. Under the management of the Factory Community Centre, the program has so far engaged 20-40 street drinkers by providing safe gathering to develop cooking skills, take part in therapeutic arts programs, and also linking people to services and referral.

Lift Redfern campaigners were proud to hand over our 11,000 signatures to MP Kristina Keneally on May 2 outside Parliament House. Ms Keneally tabled the petition later that morning and was advised that a debate will be held on August 23 about the lack of access at Redfern Station.

Local MPs, the NSW Cabinet and the Transport Minister continue to be lobbied on behalf of the local community.

In April and May, a Safety Audit of Waterloo was carried out by the City, Housing NSW, Redfern Police and tenants. The Waterloo Well-being and Safety Action Group is looking after this, and will be presenting recommendations arising from it.

The audit covered all the public housing areas in Waterloo as well as many of the streets and parks. Some of the key issues that emerged included waste and recycling, sharps management, fencing, trees, security, lighting and cleansing.

The Safety Action Group meets here on the second Wednesday of each month, so the next meeting is on Wednesday September 12 from 2 to 3.30pm.

Housing NSW staff were heavily involved in the Safety Audit - a credit to Waterloo team leader Jim Green, who ensured staff were available and there was access to all areas during a busy time for their office, so a big thank you to Jim.

The Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project has been running from just over 18 months of the planned three years. The three components of this project have been:

  • a concierge in each of the six high-rise buildings
  • security, and
  • repairs.

An independent evaluation of the project to date has been carried out by the University of NSW for Housing NSW, but no information is available as yet. The dedicated position that was attached to the project for the first 18 months finished in early July.

Thank you all once again for your interest in coming here today, and with your help and the help of the Police and Housing NSW, we'll continue to make Waterloo a safer and more cohesive area.