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Redfern inquiry hears no effort made on police, Indigenous relations

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 18 May 2004


An Aboriginal community leader says "no consistent effort" was made to build relationships between the police and the Indigenous communities in the Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo.

Chair of ATSIC's Sydney Regional Council, Marcia Ella Duncan, testifying at the inquiry established in the months after the Redfern riot, said maintaining the relationship has never been given the attention it requires.

"I think that one of the biggest issues though is that there has been no consistent effort to develop and maintain that relationship over time.

"It only happens when there's a crisis."

New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS) says the Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo are "dumping grounds" for inexperienced police, making it hard to build relationships with the community.

Director of NCOSS, Gary Moore, was also given evidence to the inquiry.

Mr Moore says it is difficult to build positive relationships between police and residents in the current situation.

"The capacity to build relationships, the capacity to do things in the proper police community relating ways, particularly in this community, are undermined by the significant rotation of staff, by the fact that there are number of positions that are not filled and that's a real concern," Mr Moore said.

The inquiry has twice been closed because of clashes between Liberal committee member Greg Pearce and the committee chair, Labor's Jan Burnswoods.


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