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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 14 January 2008
Local ALP shuts down website of 'biggest community centre in Australia'?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: nsw govt

The Addison Road (Community) Centre is self described as the biggest community centre in Australia, and we did gardening work there 2003-2007.

As a variation we were instructed to build up their website so dutifully we put another 100 pages on with photographs etc reflecting the community aspect. It was quite uptodate with local news and profiling many if not  most of the 42 tenants. It got many compliments including from Board members. It had a community flavour and was never meant to be a slick corporate face.

The web address is: http://www.addisonrdcentre.com.au but if you try that for the last 3 weeks you will get this:

Come back soon. We are just getting it better. This Website is still under construction

How soon is soon?

When most decent organisations want to change their website presence they build up the alternative and only then when ready do they publish and make the changeover. Otherwise it's a bit like selling your old car and walking around for 3 weeks looking for another one, assuming you haven't gone to a low tech bicycle option (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Ironically the old front page of the website for ARC is still present in cyberspace though possibly against the wishes of the centre (?) here:


What we wonder is going on? We sort of gave up on transparent and honest governance there at the ARC and have decided to just keep on trucking but we do feel sorry for all those community sector groups and individuals who lost their additional website profile.

Maybe some one has been sabotaging the thing? Certainly not this writer.

One quite likely explanation is that the ALP/Hard Left - decidedly in control of the management of the ARCC, even to the extent of controversial rent free for a mate in a one case for some years (rather than going to public tender for 500 square metres of handy real estate) - were a little embarrassed by this writer cross referencing their webpage and complaining about nepotism rather than following their legal obligations under the companies code regarding director's duties.

Not least this image below of Yvette Andrews (top left) who used to be the spear carrier/employee for Meredith Burgman MP (until MB retired) and is now (dis?) honourary President of the ARC:


Yvette's hubby is an Aboriginal bloke, and her mate Terry who got the free rent for so long and on substantial discount into the future, promotes alot of Aboriginal art work so maybe there's a connection there. Also Gnat, that is Natalie McCarthy, is Terry's art studio tenant and from memory his domestic share tenant in Earlwood still (?), but most importantly she is on the Board of the ARC.

It was Gnat who was most upset at our reference in print to the Meredith Burgman Allstars at the ARC. This and a few other internecine power games seem to have resulted in rent free for 4 years and another 3 in the future for the art gallery under Cutcliffe (who it has to be said has suffered some hard knocks including a heart attack and seriously ill child in the last few years too).

It's these compassionate grounds that make this blatant case of favouritism so damn challenging morally speaking.

But what's that got to do with taking down the website? Well we started sniffing around when some of the Board members started acting like the power had gone to their head, one in particular like a regular martinet. Was this a symptom of other abuse of power, we wondered? Sure enough the gallery lease came to light. Now the demise of the website seems to be punishment for doing my research and challenging the Board to clean up their act not least the last AGM Nov 28 2007: There are actually legal rules about directors of a $500K pa non profit company acting in good faith, without personal bias, and without financial or other conflicts of interest.

Spiteful or vindictive trashing of the cyber gateway might be seen to be just another abuse of power?

These directors' obligations don't always sit comfortably, or even legally in our opinion as a solicitor, with the inhouse mates culture of the ALP with the public's community resources. In this case local Left ALP. And the top dog locally is ... Federal MP Anthony Albanese in local seat of Grayndler. Or even Senator John Faulkner also of the Left. If they know about this state of affairs and sit on their hands it will haunt them too.

Not ever being one very keen on closed shops or favouritism, especially with community resources we finally bit the bullet and gave a verbal briefing this afternoon to the loyal federal Opposition, namely local Senator Marise Payne's office. Can we expect some tennis match with Special Minister of State Senator Faulkner at Estimates? Time will tell.

Postscript #1 15 Jan 2008

Being an equal opportunity stirrer we have this morning called and offered to brief Senator Kerry Nettle of the Greens about this state of affairs via her staffer Max Phillips. Our position is that services for private revenue (studio rental, sales) on public land should be the subject of public tender, just like for instance the Beach Kiosk at Bondi leased from Waverley Council in an open public tender process, which duly allows for non financial factors like years experience, know how, public benefit etc. This way public land is not effectively privatised to the benefit of one political party, in this case the local ALP Left to run their favourite projects. They should have their access too, but not exclusivity.

Posted by editor at 2:43 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008 10:01 AM EADT

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