Meeting notes

Panel meetings 2017

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel meets at least 6 times a year.

Main areas of discussion and advice are summarised and made available to the public.

March 2017

The panel discussed the use of native plant species in the city and requested further information, and about how to increase the knowledge and use of native species in Sydney.

The Aboriginal Housing Company’s intention to propose amendments to their Pemulwuy project in Redfern was discussed. City staff explained the planning process for the development and informed the panel the Department of Planning is the responsible authority for approving the development. 

The panel was informed about an architecture tour of the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre by 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu summer school program at the University of Sydney. 

The panel was updated on the City’s plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum with a number of events, activities and partnerships.

The panel was advised 10 December 2017 marks 25 years since Paul Keating’s Redfern speech in Redfern Park to launch the Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Panel members agreed to provide feedback at a future meeting on how the community is planning to celebrate this event. It was noted that the large painting on the stage behind prime minister Keating on the day is part of the City’s civic collection. 

May 2017

The panel discussed upcoming events and activities celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including National Reconciliation Week, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Sydney Film Festival as well as interstate and international festivals.

The panel was updated on the status of Eora Journey projects including NAIDOC in the City in Hyde Park. This year’s event includes the installation of a gunya (dwelling) for 3 days leading up to the event.

The panel was consulted on the City’s busking discussion paper. It discussed the importance of practising culture and recommended a number of local stakeholders that could provide input for the busking policy review.

The Office of Environment and Heritage informed the panel about the nomination of Redfern Park for a state heritage listing and sought advice. The panel outlined a number of significant events, activities, uses and stories relating to Redfern Park. 

June 2017

With the NAIDOC theme being ‘Our Languages Matter’ in 2017 the panel discussed the way the City can support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The City continues to roll out new park signs featuring Gadigal words ‘bujari gamarruwa’ (good day) throughout all parks in the city.

The panel discussed sovereignty, treaty and constitutional recognition. A few panel members attended the First Nations National Convention in Uluru and reported back on the broad range of views and outcomes from the convention. 

The panel discussed the Statement from the Heart in detail and the call for treaties, a ’makarrata’ in Yolngu, truth-telling and a First Nations voice enshrined in the constitution. There was agreement on the importance of meaningful change that goes beyond symbolic recognition. It was noted the Referendum Council was due to hand its recommendations to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader on 30 June 2017.

The panel discussed Australia Day celebrations and the change-the-date campaign, suggesting there should be broader engagement with the wider community about Australia Day. It was noted that a national day of unity is important for everyone to be able to celebrate

Panel meetings 2016

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel meets at least 6 times a year.

Main areas of discussion and advice are summarised and made available to the public.

February 2016

The panel discussed NAIDOC in the City and the NAIDOC theme – Songlines. A key focus of this year is involving more Indigenous businesses as stall holders.

The draft Eora Journey economic development plan was discussed in detail led by members of the working group – Norma Ingram, Nancia Guivarra, Mayrah Sonter and Rebekah Raymond. Discussion included maximising employment opportunities through leading by example and employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the City of Sydney including in management roles, supporting business owners and entrepreneurs through seminars, mentoring and networking activities, and promoting Indigenous tourism and authentic cultural experiences.

The panel discussed the review of alcohol restrictions in identified streets and public places in the City's local area.

April 2016

Hetti Perkins, Eora Journey curatorial advisor presented an overview on the next phase of the Redfern Terrace project including an artist briefing at the Redfern Community Centre to explain the expression of interest process for artists.

Troy Daly, UrbanGrowth program director for Central to Eveleigh presented key findings from community engagement conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the Central to Eveleigh transformation program.

The panel stressed the need for UrbanGrowth to undertake deeper and more extensive consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities affected - Elders, community and business organisations. Clarification was requested on how the needs of tenants particularly in Waterloo were being met and options to return or relocate. The panel stressed the need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to be engaged in roles that influence decision-making at UrbanGrowth. The panel requested that Central to Eveleigh be a standing item on panel meeting agendas.

The panel provided feedback on the social sustainability draft policy and discussion paper. Key issues identified were social housing, gentrification and the provision of appropriate services tailored to the needs of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Professor Paul Haber from Sydney University presented on the impacts of the drug ice and provided information about specific services within the local community. 

May 2016 – Central to Eveleigh

The panel resolved to raise concerns about Central to Eveleigh redevelopment with the Ministers for Planning and Housing. The panel Co-Chairs have written the following letter to the Ministers.

Representatives of UrbanGrowth recently presented at a meeting of the City's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel on the Central to Eveleigh precinct and the Waterloo Housing Estate.

The City's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel is very concerned about UrbanGrowth NSW's plans to redevelop the Waterloo social housing estate, and its approach to the development of this area. While the panel supports renewing the Waterloo social housing estate, UrbanGrowth's approach seems to be driven by maximising profits and returns to the State Government, including to fund the new Waterloo Station, rather than by the positive redevelopment of social housing according to the needs of the community.

The panel questions the role of UrbanGrowth. It seems to be both the Government's strategic planner, setting renewal principles, and the Government's developer, needing to maximise development and financial opportunities. The panel strongly believes that the City is best placed to undertake the planning role for Waterloo as it has for Green Square. This approach would help give confidence to the residents that their views and interests will be taken into account.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have a deep cultural and social history in Redfern and Waterloo. Any renewal must be respectful of the existing tenants. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations continue to play a central role in building and sustaining the communities of Redfern and Waterloo. They are also significant landowners in this area.

The communities of Redfern and Waterloo have led the way in self-determination, rights and reconciliation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nationally. Many of the families living in the Redfern and Waterloo area have already suffered displacement across generations. There is deep concern that, once again, the Government is displacing this community that has fought to stay together and thrive.

We urge you to work closely with Waterloo public housing tenants to allay and respond to their fears, and reconfirm that all public housing tenants affected by redevelopment will be provided with alternative housing and have the opportunity to return to new public housing constructed in Waterloo and adjacent areas. Tenants should be properly consulted about the timing of moves in and out of housing, and relocated in close proximity to each other to maintain their ties with familiar services and their community networks.

There must be sustained community consultation where the views of the Redfern and Waterloo communities are taken seriously and have impact on the final decisions regarding the Waterloo Estate.

Any renewal must also include proper provision of community facilities – open space, quality streets, cultural and community places and services.

The City has demonstrated its ability to plan for successful and liveable high density urban renewal in Ashmore and Green Square. To ensure positive outcomes for the Waterloo community, we urge to you work with the City and the Central Sydney Planning Committee as the planning authority for the Waterloo area.  

July 2016

The panel provided feedback on NAIDOC in the City noting the event is growing every year, it's highly visible in the heart of the city and reaching diverse audiences.

Wesley Enoch gave an overview of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works in the 2017 Sydney Festival program and discussed plans to include Sydney Aboriginal language in the festival over the next 3 years while he is festival director.

Land and Housing Corporation and Family and Community Services representatives gave an update on the Waterloo redevelopment. The next stage of the redevelopment is master planning. The panel along with LAHC and FaCS discussed what this entails and what engagement they will do throughout the process. The panel asked LAHC and FaCS to ensure the community understands and can participate effectively in the master planning process.

The Resilient Sydney strategy was introduced to the panel. The strategy is being developed to help metropolitan Sydney respond to the impacts of 3 worldwide trends –urbanisation, globalisation and climate change. To provide advice on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, 4 panel members nominated to attend a follow-up meeting with the project team.

Representatives from the Redfern All Blacks gave a progress update on the NSW Koori Knockout to be held in Sydney in October.

The panel requested correspondence be sent to the Prime Minister and relevant ministers about the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and the experience of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system.

September 2016

The panel was updated on the process to select artists for 2 Eora Journey public art projects – Monument for the Eora and Redfern Terrace.

An overview was provided on the draft Cultural Ribbon strategy. The strategy aims to celebrate some of Sydney's significant cultural and historic landmarks, connect existing cultural institutions and showcase spectacular views and the natural environment along the harbour. The panel agreed it is a strong idea and good for tourism.

Mayrah Sonter shared information about the upcoming Indigenous Business month in October and related events.

An update was provided on the development of the Eora Journey economic development plan.

City staff representatives attended to discuss procurement and employment actions in the reconciliation action plan. The panel offered feedback on the importance of internal engagement, developing the City's employment strategy through specific recruitment techniques and looking at successful Aboriginal employment strategies. The panel noted the positive achievements with the City’s procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

November 2016

Recognise campaign directors Mark Yettica Paulson and Tim Gartrell presented to the panel. There was an in depth discussion about the role of Recognise, constitutional change, race clauses in the Constitution and issues of sovereignty and treaty.

The panel was asked for advice on how to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum. There was discussion around possible events and programs to pay respect to the occasion. Representatives from Reconciliation Australia attended to hear the discussion as this will be a key part of National Reconciliation Week 2017.

The panel was given an update on the Eora Journey economic development plan and was consulted on an expanded working group to oversee the implementation of the plan.

The panel advised that the group should involve relevant expertise and influential stakeholders from business and be clear in terms of the purpose of each meeting.

The panel was consulted on the Redfern business enterprise project. Feedback indicated the intent and structure of the project was commendable and panel members were keen to be involved.

Panel meetings 2015

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel meets at least 6 times a year.

Main areas of discussion and advice are summarised and made available to the public.

1 April 2015

Dr Liza-Mare Syron and Timothy Gray were elected as co-chairs of the panel.

Proposed actions and goals for the reconciliation action plan (RAP) were discussed. 3 members of the panel nominated to be on the RAP working group – Nancia Guivarra, Patricia Adjei and Mayrah Sonter.

The panel identified the following actions as priorities in the RAP:

  • employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the organisation and career development opportunities for current employees
  • building the cultural capabilities of all City staff
  • understanding the Sydney context in reconciliation and self-determination
  • involving staff in evaluating the implementation of the RAP.

Justin Noel (Aboriginal Community Engagement Consultant) discussed the consultation process for the Central to Eveleigh urban transformation and transport project on behalf of Urban Growth NSW.

The design for Victoria Park was presented. Feedback from the panel is being incorporated into the developed design.

6 May 2015

A decision was made to form a naming working group to explore recognition naming and dual naming. Norma Ingram, Cass Goodwin, Warren Brown and Tracey Duncan nominated to be on the group.

Hetti Perkins gave an overview of public artworks delivered as part of the Eora Journey: recognition in the public domain. The objectives, criteria and project plan for the next project, Monument for the Eora, were discussed. Representatives on the Eora Journey public art working group were confirmed as Tracey Duncan, Liza-Mare Syron and Lachlan McDaniel.

An overview was provided of the research and consultation for the Eora Journey economic development plan. The emerging themes and ideas for action were discussed. Nominations were called for the economic development working group.

NAIDOC in the City was discussed including opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to participate in the event and the new NAIDOC creative, Night Skies by Kamilaroi artist, Suzy Evans.

1 July 2015

The meeting was held at Redfern Community Centre and community centre staff attended to update the panel on the centre’s programs and activities.

A preliminary discussion about the naming policy took place including the current approach to use Jakelin Troy’s research to identify appropriate words. The panel requested Jakelin Troy attend a future panel meeting. The panel supported naming the Sydney Park wetlands using Gadigal words. 

An update on the Monument for the Eora was provided including feedback from the morning tea for community members and stakeholders.

The panel discussed early actions for the draft Eora Journey economic development plan. The draft social sustainability policy was also discussed.

Staff informed the panel that the reconciliation action plan had been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and adopted by Council.

12 August 2015

The meeting was held at Customs House so panel members could see the NAIDOC Week activation of the city model. Updates to the model included a new acknowledgement of Gadigal country, Gadigal names on the bays and coves and flags marking sites of significance identified in Barani Barrabagu and the culture walk app.

The panel discussed acknowledging Gadigal country on parks signs. The panel advised the City to use the words, ‘You are on Gadigal country’ and asked the City to include Gadigal words meaning ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ on the signs.

The Monument for the Eora discussion included feedback from the key stakeholders and agencies briefing. A short video was proposed to support the release of the artist’s expression of interest and panel members were asked for their input into the video.

The role of the Eora Journey economic development working group was discussed along with early actions in the draft plan.

The draft social sustainability policy was discussed including a written contribution by Nancia Guivarra about social sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Sydney.  

A report was provided on NAIDOC in the City 2015. 7,500 people attended the event. 7 Indigenous businesses participated and continuing to increase this number was identified as a priority for next year.

An update on the implementation of the reconciliation action plan was provided including NAIDOC Week activities with staff, Indigenous traineeships and positive media coverage of the plan. 

16 September 2015

Professor Jakelin Troy from Sydney University attended the meeting. The panel discussed the growing interest in learning and using Aboriginal languages across Australia. Professor Troy identified the notebooks of William Dawes as the best resource on the language of the Gadigal people.

The list of places with dual names was circulated. These were identified by research in 2003 and adopted by the Geographical Names Board. 

Suggestions were made to help re-awaken the Sydney language including language forums, the new school curriculum language framework, and naming places and events.

The panel supported placing the words ‘bujari gamarruwa’ (good day) on City park signs.

Hetti Perkins notified the panel that the artist’s expression of interest for the Monument for the Eora was now open.

Dr Perkins reported that community members are being interviewed about the Redfern Terrace to capture some of the stories that will form part of the Redfern Terrace art project. The panel provided suggestions of other people and organisations to interview.

The 40,000 Years Mural in Redfern was discussed. Cr Doutney reported that the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council had a grant to look at how the mural can be restored and the community would be consulted.

14 October 2015

The panel resolved to write to the Redfern All Blacks to congratulate them on winning both the men’s and women’s Koori Knockout competitions.

The panel provided feedback on community engagement for the draft social sustainability policy.

A discussion took place on the question – what does success look like for the Eora Journey economic development plan?

Other recent activities to promote economic development were discussed including the Ethical Art Forum hosted by the Eastern Regional Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum and Leichhardt Council, the Indigenous Business Month event at Customs House and the City’s success in the social procurement category of the Procurement Australia Awards.

A discussion took place on the use of Gadigal language to name new community facilities in Green Square.

25 November 2015

Cass Goodwin and Warren Brown were elected as the co-chairs for 2016.

The City confirmed meetings were taking place with the Redfern All Blacks organising committee for the Koori Knockout.

Panel members raised concerns about the impact of methamphetamine (ice) in communities throughout NSW and requested a briefing on programs to address the ice epidemic in Sydney. 

Sam and Janet Cullen presented on the Lindt photographic collection (studio photos taken in 1874 of Aboriginal people from Grafton) that are now housed in the Grafton Regional Gallery. The panel discussed the idea of a community exhibition in Sydney to help identify and connect descendants of the people in the photos.

Advice from Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council on using Gadigal language was reported back to the panel. The panel supported the use of Gadigal words to name new community facilities in Green Square.

The design for the welcome sign for the new childcare centre in Green Square was reviewed by the panel. Feedback was given on new signs for City of Sydney community facilities.

The panel discussed the section of the City's Writing Guide on culturally appropriate language and provided feedback.

Information about the Cooks River Alliance was provided and panel members felt the issue of healthy rivers should be included on the agenda for 2016.  

Last updated: Friday, 8 September 2017