Supplement “Redfern Now”

I have already mentioned the excellent drama series Redfern Now. Supplement your viewing with the independent local paper The South Sydney Herald, a monthly. The November issue is out now and includes a feature on “Redfern Now”.

GUEST EDITORIAL

Safety issues in Waterloo and Redfern

Michael Shreenan

Simmering social concerns are reaching boiling point in Waterloo and Redfern. A community meeting held on Tuesday October 16 at The Factory Community Centre noted the disconnect between what the police are working on, and Housing NSW allocation policies that house those with the most chaotic lifestyles and complex needs without much thought for the impact on communities. Police are dealing with a disproportionate number of recently released ex-offenders, people with mental health needs, as well as increasing drug availability and associated crime and anti-social behaviour.

Serious assaults, a number of suicides and numerous daily incidents are creating communities of anxiety out of communities that have historically been caring and neighbourly. Over-stretched and under-resourced services (both government and non-government), especially for those with mental health problems and ex-offenders with little post-release support, are creating an environment of fear and uncertainty. The meeting heard stories of “unauthorised” occupants standing over people, taking over properties and taking money, as well as damaging property to gain access, drug-dealing queues in internal corridors, ineffective security contracts and little care from most government agencies.

The meeting suggested inviting Probation and Parole into discussions and looking at the way allocations are made. The Factory and its partners, Waterloo Safety Action Group, REDWatch and Redfern Neighbourhood Advisory Board, are calling for a more integrated approach to human services, and more early prevention strategies to community safety challenges.

At a community meeting on Tuesday October 30, called to discuss the installation of the afterhours Needle Dispensing Machine outside Redfern Health Centre, Sydney Local Health District’s Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson announced the creation of a part-time community health liaison role in Waterloo and Redfern. Hopefully this will encourage other agencies to look more closely at how they can better respond to complex issues in our area.

— from the November South Sydney Herald.

Of course you do realise I have in the past written for the SSH! But despite that I really do commend it. Smile

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