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Redfern centre fiasco deepens as NSW Aboriginal Land Council hits back at ILSC's agreement claim

Jarred Cross -

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has hit back at reports an agreement had been reached to save crucial services at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence community hub in Redfern.

An Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation statement released Sunday claimed conditions for the transfer of the NCIE's fitness and aquatic centre operations to the NSWALC were anticipated to come within days.

That followed community outrage with news of a breakdown in handover between the two organisations resulting in the prompt closure of the facilities and laying-off of staff announced at the cherished facility last week.

"We have been in constant dialogue with key stakeholders over the weekend and, as a result, the ILSC will keep the fitness and aquatic services operating," ILSC chief executive Joe Morrison said.

Community planned sit-in protest at NCIE Monday, August 8.

"We are looking forward to meeting with NSWALC to finalise principles for the transfer to them as the new owner and operator."

NSWALC took ownership of the site on June 30, but management of the fitness and aquatic centre was reportedly left out of the arrangement.

On Monday the land council rejected claims an agreement had been met, throwing the onus back at the government body to secure the facility's viability.

NSWALC chairman Danny Chapman said the saga had left him disappointed.

"We are a self-funded, community-controlled organisation, who is being railroaded by the Commonwealth to take on an entity they should have managed better," Mr Chapman said.

"We are concerned that the community have been placed in a position to have to stand up for what is needed, rather than their needs put before deadlines.

"There was no need for the ILSC to make their drastic decision to give one weeks' notice to both staff and community.

"We all have a bigger job now, to not just maintain services but also to rebuild trust and relationship with community."

NSWALC and the ISLC have reportedly being going to-and-fro over the centre's management since April, with the blame game now frustrating stakeholders.

Both have however guaranteed tenants and organisations uninterrupted use of the centre.

Tribal Warrior chief executive Shane Phillips said his organisation had been left out of consultation.

"This is a place of strength, we cannot let it go and just become a commercial transaction by two departments that don't really care about us," he said.

"We are not going to let our community (be) trodden on"

"Sit down with us, let's talk."

Local service Redfern Youth Connect director Aunty Margaret Haumono called on Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney to step in and take control of the situation.

"Linda Burney is a solid community woman, but despite her support for the NCIE, we are still waiting for answers and sustainable outcomes for the community," she said.

Ms Burney has addressed concerned residents at the centre and on Friday gave the ILSC and NSWALC one week to sort out the sorry saga.

Protests at the NCIE continued on Monday, with a planned sit-in stirring the local community to express their concern for the centre's future.

Organisers invited NSWALC and government representatives to attend and engage in conversation to meet a resolution.


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