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Interim deal struck to keep cherished Redfern Indigenous community hub open

Jarred Cross -

The saga surrounding Redfern's National Centre of Indigenous excellence has turned a corner with the Federal Government's Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation committing to maintain management of the site's fitness and aquatic centre.

In a joint statement of Tuesday, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and ILSC said the Federal body would continue to manage the facility until a long-term solution was found.

NSWALC chairman Danny Chapman said as the new owners of the site, the Council want to ensure its future in the community.

"The site is important to all Aboriginal people, and our vision has always been to build on the legacy," he said.

"NSWALC needed to ensure we had the best interest of all Aboriginal people at every decision, but Council and I are now comfortable this will be achieved with the ILSC.

"NSWALC remains committed to facilitating the delivery of community benefits and outcomes from the property, including by ensuring there is community access."

The news comes following a public breakdown in talks between the two bodies to start the week.

An ILSC 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.

But on Monday NSWALC revealed no such agreement was close, throwing the onus back on the government body to secure the facility's viability.

Mr Chapman on Monday said the Council had been "railroaded" by the ILSC to take on the facility

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

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

The saga began last Monday when news surfaced the centre would close after NSWALC and ISLC failed to reach an agreement on management of the facility.

Staff and users of the facility were given one week's notice of the closure, leading to outrage and days of protests at the NCIE building.

Among prominent Australians to voice their concern at the situation were Federal Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney, City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, NRL star Josh Addo-Carr, and the centre's chief executve Jasmine Ryan.


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