Archive for May, 2015

Media Release 13th May 2015

The Aboriginal Housing Company provided a trespass notice to the protesters at the Block earlier this year.  The protesters have chosen not to respect this notice and so we have again contacted them to state that they are trespassing.

The Aboriginal Housing Company respects the rights of people to protest peacefully and legally.

However, these protesters are on Aboriginal Housing Company owned land, and have been occupying the site since the middle of last year.

The Aboriginal Housing Company is working to protect the Block – to make sure it remains Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and controlled into the future.

The Pemulwuy Project will provide affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the Block, as well as businesses and community facilities.

We do now need to be able to get on with the Pemulwuy Project so that we can ensure an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled future for the Block.

Pemulwuy Q and A

  1. What is Pemulwuy?

Pemulwuy will be a vibrant community with affordable Aboriginal housing, businesses and community facilities.

The first stage of the Pemulwuy Project will include development of student housing, commercial and retail space and a childcare centre. The second stage will be the development of affordable Aboriginal housing.

Pemulwuy will breathe new life into the Block, and restore a strong and healthy Indigenous community to Redfern with an emphasis on cultural values, spirituality and employment.

We want our community to come together to realise this vision – we are stronger together.

  1. Will Aboriginal people still live on the Block?

Yes. Pemulwuy includes plans for 62 affordable accommodations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people only.

The Block will remain in Aboriginal hands totally owned by the Aboriginal Housing Company.

  1. Why are you re-developing the Block?

We recognise that we can’t go back to the dysfunction that previously was a feature of life on the Block, where we couldn’t provide a safe environment for families and older people.

Redeveloping our land affords us the opportunity for self-determination and to build a stronger platform for future generations, keeping the AHC in total control of our own destiny.

  1. Why don’t you just develop housing – why are you developing a commercial centre as well?

Pemulwuy needs to be delivered in these two stages to ensure that it is financially viable and that the long term goal of affordable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing is able to be achieved.

  1. How will you fund the new Affordable Housing?

Affordable Housing is not easily able to be funded commercially because rent income would not cover loan repayments and operating costs. Affordable Housing rents are generally tied to people’s income not the market rent.

Most new Affordable Housing in NSW has been built with funds from the Federal Government such as under the recent Stimulus Package. Some, like that undertaken by City West Housing, comes from levies placed on other developers by Council.

The AHC is still pursuing funding for the construction of the Affordable Housing. Those who want to see Affordable Housing on the Block should be lobbying the Federal and State Government for such funds for this project.

  1. If the AHC exists to provide housing why is it doing commercial buildings?

Finding money to build Affordable Housing is one part of the problem, the other is maintaining it once it is operational. When tenants are paying low rents, not commercial ones, there is not sufficient income from rents to maintain buildings and to cover operating costs.

The Government has the same problem with public housing. There needs to be a “subsidy” from somewhere for Affordable Housing to be viable for the long-term.

The AHC have taken the next step to create a business model which creates a diversification of income from the commercial component of the Pemulwuy project to FUND the affordable housing on the Block and beyond. Our plans will allow us to break away from that vicious cycle of being dependent on the government.

  1. Why is there student housing in the project?

The site is close to a number of universities and colleges and there is strong demand for student housing. AHC research indicated that provision of student housing would be a viable commercial enterprise, the profits from which will be used to subsidise the Affordable Housing and the AHC’s operations.

This is a commercial enterprise to make the AHC and our Affordable Housing financially independent of Government funds in the long term.

  1. Will the houses just be for middle-class, better off Aboriginal people?

No, we have planned for a mixture of affordable housing. Of course, like all our housing, we expect people to meet their responsibilities as tenants and to be part of a safe community.

  1. Does any other identity own the land?

No, the Aboriginal Housing Company is the developer, and we own the land.   We have engaged a construction company to build the project, but we retain control of the project and ownership of the land, once again allowing the AHC to stand alone without government dependency.

Aboriginal Housing Company and the Pemulwuy Project

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, we at the Aboriginal Housing Company have been working on the Pemulwuy Project for some time now.

Pemulwuy will breathe new life into the Block, and restore a strong and healthy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to Redfern with an emphasis on cultural values, spirituality, housing and employment.

We wanted to take this opportunity to update you about where the project is up to, and to clear up some of the misconceptions that have been put forward.

First and foremost, we want to emphasise to you that the Block will remain in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hands.

We knew that without a viable plan for the future, the Block was in danger of being taken out of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hands.

That’s why we’ve worked so hard to develop Pemulwuy – so that it can become a vibrant community that includes affordable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing, as well as businesses and community facilities.

The Aboriginal Housing Company is the developer for the project and we have engaged a construction company to undertake the work. In other words, we have people working for us, and retain control and ownership of the land.

The first stage of the project will include development of student housing, commercial and retail space and a childcare centre. The second stage will be the development of 62 affordable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing.

The project needs to be delivered in these two stages to ensure that it is financially viable and that the long term goal of AHC continuing to provide housing is able to be achieved.

So far, we have secured private funding for the first stage of the project and we are committed to sourcing funding for the second stage of the project and want your support as we continue to approach governments and the private sector. As we all know, we are stronger together.

These pictures will give you an idea of what Pemulwuy will look like when it’s completed.

We will provide you with regular updates about the project, and you can also find out more on our website, or call past and have a chat with us.

Media Release 25th Feb 2015: Mediation

A mediation meeting with the Redfern Tent Embassy and their legal representatives was due to take place yesterday afternoon.

The Aboriginal Housing Company offered to have this meeting in good faith. It was our understanding that this would be a private mediation, so that we could have a genuine and constructive conversation.

We are keen to reschedule the mediation so that it can take place in a constructive way, rather than as a publicity opportunity.

The Aboriginal Housing Company is working to protect the Block — to make sure it remains Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and controlled into the future.

The Pemulwuy Project will provide affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as businesses and community facilities.

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