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City News

Funding for The Block rejected again

Redfern's historic "The Block"

CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC), Mick Mundine, has expressed frustration with his lack of success in obtaining funding for the redevelopment of The Block.

On Monday, the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) rejected Mr Mundine’s application for funding.

Mr Mundine said he doesn’t understand why his this has happened.

“We tick all the boxes at the NSWALC,” he said.

“I can’t see why they can’t come through with the money.”

CEO of the NSWALC, Geoff Scott, said despite The Block being an iconic Aboriginal site, they could not provide the funds at the cost of Aboriginal Land Council members.

“Whilst the NSWALC supports the AHC in its endeavours to reform and improve the area, this cannot come at the expense of Aboriginal Land Council members,” he said.

“NSWALC has a legal and ethical obligation to deliver the best return possible to our members, and as such any financial dealings must be conducted on a commercial basis.”

Mr Scott said any financial proposals put to NSWALC are analysed and assessed rigorously.

He said for NSWALC to provide funding to The Block, the analysis would have to indicate the proposal would be of benefit to Aboriginal people.

“The proposals currently before NSWALC to provide loan funds to the AHC have been considered, but after analysis NSWALC has decided that it is unable to proceed with the matter any further,” Mr Scott said.

But Mr Mundine maintains the redevelopment will benefit generations to come and does not expect the money for free.

“People have to realise this (redevelopment) is for the Redfern community and the next generation of children,” he said.

“We don’t want the money for nothing, we don’t want it interest free.

“We will pay back the money.”

Mr Mundine said despite numerous rejections for funding, he would not give up.

“We’ve been out there lobbying and it just seems like somebody doesn’t want this to happen,” he said.

The Block redevelopment is estimated to cost $65 million.

By Sophie Cousins