Friday, October 21, 2005

Libs vote to support Aboriginal future for the Block


Local Liberals call for Aboriginal future in the Block

Three key local Liberal party branches have voted unanimously to support an Aboriginal future for the Block in Redfern.

At a meeting held this week the Darlinghurst/Surry Hills, East Sydney and Elizabeth Bay branches unanimously supported a motion moved by City of Sydney Liberal Councillor Shayne Mallard calling on the State Government to allow the local Aboriginal community to determine the future of the Block. The motion was seconded by Redfern community leader Ian Thompson and followed a presentation and debate about the governments plans for the area.

The motion reads: "The local Liberal party branches support in principle the Aboriginal Housing Company proposal for redeveloping the Block and call upon the State government to allow the local Aboriginal community to determine the future of the Block."

The motion concludes by calling on the Minister responsible for the Redfern Waterloo Authority, Frank Sartor to resign "after the irreconcilable breakdown in communication and respect." Referring to Frank Sartor's racist slur on Aboriginal community leader Mick Mundine, Councillor Shayne Mallard said:

"The minister has demonstrated yet again that he is not prepared to listen or treat people with the respect they deserve. How can the Redfern Aboriginal community sit down and negotiate with the Minister when there is a break down in respect and trust?"

The local Liberal party members heard from guest speakers Mr Michael Mundine, CEO Aboriginal Housing Company and Mr Peter Valilis Project Director for the AHC Pemulwuy Project. Both men outlined their vision for the Block including plans for an Aboriginal cultural centre, training college and commercial areas. Importantly the redevelopment will include new housing for the inner city Aboriginal community.

In response to a question from Shayne Mallard regarding the social and crime problems over the past decade, Mick Mundine explained that a mixture of private home ownership and renewed community focus would work to prevent a repeat of the past problems.

Legislative Council Parliamentarian Mr Greg Pearce, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Finance also addressed the meeting. Mr Pearce was instrumental in the Parliamentary Inquiry following the Redfern riots. He explained that the NSW Liberal Leader Mr Peter Debnam was backing the right for Aboriginal people to determine the future of their land and pointed out that the government has had no real answers to the social disadvantage and problems in the Block.

Shayne Mallard pointed out the positive and community empowering role the Redfern Community Centre was playing in the Block and that it was a good example of what can be achieved if people work in partnership with mutual respect.

For more information on the AHC Pemulwuy Project visit

21 October 2005

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