OVER the past 12 months, Wollongong City Council has supported a request of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Place Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations to address a number of issues at the culturally-significant Sandon Point Tent Embassy site at McCauley’s Beach, Thirroul.
In April Council, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and Aboriginal groups worked collaboratively to remove a number of items from the Sandon Point site.
Today, Council, at the request of the Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations, accompanied Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive officer Paul Knight to the site. The purpose of the visit was to provide a courtesy letter to the unauthorised occupant at the site requesting they leave.
It has been the consistent view of the Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations that the current occupant can’t remain on site as the current use is not consistent with its cultural significance and heritage.
The protection of this site is of utmost important to the Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations.
Council has been working with the Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations and the individual over the past 12 months to resolve the fact they’ve been living at the site, without the permission of the Joint organisations.
Council has facilitated a number of steps, including the appointment of an independent Indigenous mediator and facilitated conversations with representatives from the Wollongong Homeless Hub, to work through this process.
As there has been no resolution, they’ve requested Council give notice to the occupant to vacate the site, to remove additional structures with the exception of ‘the Pod’ and install non-permanent fencing on the site to allow for a revegetation program to be undertaken.
Council will work closely with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to ensure the fencing is appropriate and does not negatively impact on any culturally-significant items or areas on site.
The Sandon Point site is a dedicated Aboriginal Place and one of the few in our State. Council continues to acknowledge the cultural significance of the Sandon Point – McCauley’s Beach Aboriginal Place and the important role of the Sandon Point Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations.
The Agreement Partners include the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and four local Aboriginal community organisations.