In 1972, Aboriginal rights campaigners successfully pressured the Whitlam Labor government to grant funds for the Aboriginal Housing Company to begin buying houses in Redfern for low-cost housing for Aboriginal people.
Now, Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) is fighting for The Block to retain this role instead of being sacrificed to greedy developers.
RATE has been occupying a vacant plot at the centre of The Block since May 2014. It is currently facing a "trespass" lawsuit in the courts — ironic as this whole country was stolen by European settlers from Aboriginal communities.
On August 11, RATE and its supporters took the protest to NSW Parliament House.
"What we need to see is Aboriginal housing on The Block, Aboriginal housing controlled by Aboriginal communities," Jenny Leong the recently elected Greens MP for Newtown — an electorate that includes The Block — told Green Left Weekly
"We all know that there is money in the NSW state government's coffers for major developments yet at the same time it is unwilling to commit any funds for Aboriginal housing on The Block."
Leong said that the trespass action was "disgusting" and "wasn't a solution". "The solution would be for the state government to recognise that it should fund Aboriginal housing on The Block," she said.