Meeting against technology park

Issue 

Meeting against technology park

By Janet Parker

SYDNEY — More than 100 people attended a public meeting in Alexandria on May 27 to oppose plans for an advanced technology park (ATP) on the old Eveleigh goods yard site in Redfern.

The meeting, organised by the National Union of Students and the Cross-Campus Education Committee, follows a November meeting which voted overwhelmingly in favour of a five-year moratorium on the development. Despite this, work on the site is under way.

The plan was first announced in 1990 by Premier Nick Greiner as a joint research complex between industry and Sydney University, the University of NSW and the University of Technology, Sydney.

Community opposition was buried as the universities moved to establish the ATP company in February this year. Secret tenancy negotiations are under way with a number of companies — the project coordinator for the ATP, Tom Forgan, was present at the meeting but refused to name them. Rumours say that Hawker de Havilland, a company with a record of involvement in military production, and mining giants like BHP and CSR are ready to relocate to Redfern.

South Sydney Council alderperson Anne-Marie Whitaker pointed out that the plan for a 1500-space car park in the complex will generate an extra 20,000 car movements a day.

Local resident and environment activist Margaret Barry explained that the Eveleigh site was originally earmarked for a 450-dwelling public housing scheme. Only 40 of these had been built when the government decided that this inner city real estate could be more profitably disposed of.

Sydney University's Aboriginal student officer, Sue Green, pointed out that the ATP would accelerate gentrification in the Redfern-Darlington area, forcing out low-income residents and separating Aboriginal people from their families and support groups.

A lively discussion followed, and a series of proposals for stepping up action was adopted. These included the establishment of a People's Planning Committee to organise the campaign, a referendum of local residents and further public meetings and protests.

The first organising meeting will be held at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on Thursday, June 10, at 7.30 p.m. For more information, phone Anna on 660 5222 or Georgina on 330 1155.

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