21st September 2005
REDFERN ABORIGINAL AUTHORITY
PO BOX 1103 STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012
Phone: 02 8394 9666
Redfern’s Aboriginal community controlled organizations have united to form a new Authority to be headed by Aboriginal leader and community activist, Sol Bellear.
The Redfern Aboriginal Authority (RAA) will replace the Organisation of Aboriginal Unity, reformed late last year following suggestions that the NSW Government planned to forcibly acquire land owned by Aboriginal people in Redfern’s Block.
Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council Chairperson and RAA Member, Rob Welsh, said Mr Bellear would give the new organization the professionalism and experience needed to successfully negotiate with government over the future of Redfern.
“We need to keep up the momentum of our campaign to ensure that Aboriginal people benefit from the redevelopment of our suburb,” Mr Welsh said.
“Sol’s experience, contacts and political skills will be essential if we’re to once again turn Redfern into a place of Aboriginal hope and achievement.”
Mr Bellear said one of his first priorities would be to develop a united and strategic Aboriginal vision for Redfern.
“Although it will be primarily geared towards the Aboriginal community, the RAA will also form strategic alliances with other organizations who have the best interests of Redfern at heart,” Mr Bellear said.
“Redfern has always been a vibrant, multicultural community and we want to keep it that way.”
Mr Bellear said he would adopt a cooperative approach to working with government, but would also not take a backward step in achieving the best outcomes for Aboriginal people in inner city Sydney.
“The RAA’s preferred approach is to be a professional, trusted and constructive partner with government. But we are also better organized and determined than ever before if there are any attempts to short change our people,” Mr Bellear said.
Mr Welsh said that Mr Bellear would also assist Aboriginal organizations in Redfern to source funding in a coordinated way.
“Politicians are now focusing on whole of government approaches to Aboriginal Affairs, so it makes sense for us to adopt a whole of community model in dealing with governments,” Mr Welsh said.
Sol Bellear was the founding Chairperson of the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council and a foundation member of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Housing Company. He was a former Deputy Chair of ATSIC, a member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and a senior manager in the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
He is currently the Chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Service and a Board Member of the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club.