• A Redfern based Indigenous group is calling for a boycott of a community concert this Saturday after controversial development proposals . (Supplied)Source: Supplied
An Indigenous group is calling on community and artists to boycott Redfern's 'Rock the Block' this Saturday following controversial land development proposals.
By
Brooke Fryer

Source:
NITV News
24 Nov 2018 - 11:15 AM  UPDATED 24 Nov 2018 - 11:24 AM

Indigenous activists are calling for a boycott of Redfern's Rock the Block concert over a public housing dispute. 

Organised by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) and Last Minute Productions, Rock the Block is a family-friendly event that aims to bring the inner-city Indigenous community together through music, activities and cultural performances. 

Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) has voiced their concerns via social media about the sponsored festival after more details emerged regarding AHC's controversial development proposal of the iconic inner-city site, known as 'The Block' . 

Lorna Munro, a Wiradjuri woman and RATE activist, has told NITV News the 2018 Rock the Block event is " just an exercise to try and buy back the community".

Ms Munro said the boycott has been successful as many non-Indigenous residents have been engaging with RATE and offering their support. 

'We know we have been successful... for the fact that people around are inboxing us and getting excited about reminding other people how special this community is," Ms Munro said. 

Indigenous health and rights activist,  Joe Williams was set to host the event, but has since said that he will not be attending. Indigenous rapper, Nooky, who is listed on the bill, has also said he will not be performing.

"I was never formally booked to play Rock the Block so I was a lil' annoyed when i seen my name on its advertisement...", he wrote in a Facebook post. 

Alisi Tutuila, chairperson for the AHC, told NITV News that Rock the Block is an event to celebrate the land before the development goes ahead.

Ms Tutuila said she was well aware of the reasons behind the boycott, but ensured affordable Indigenous housing would be a priority of the new development. 

"The AHC messaging hasn't changed in regard to our motive, and in regards to this development. And that's always been to build affordable housing for Aboriginal people," Ms Tutulia said. "Affordable housing will go up, and it will go up first."

The controversial development proposals would see a high-rise tower constructed on the Block site that provides around 600 units for student accommodation and affordable housing for 62 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. 

However, the NSW Department of Planning warned in a report last month that there are no guarantees that the 62 affordable housing residences promised for Indigenous families will be built.

The proposals are before the Independent Planning Commission for determination.

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