ISV Spring 16 singleInner Voice magazine started in 1978 as part of a state funded regional information and resource centre project. In the instant access internet age, it is difficult to appreciate how important such a project was.

Inner Voice and the resource centre not only put up to date relevant information into people’s hands but they linked together people with a common interest across South Sydney and increased their capacity to act. It gave groups working on planning, transport, welfare and hosts of other issues ways of linking with interested others. They had a way of getting their story across. Information was a community development and empowerment tool.

Today we live in a different information age but we think Inner Sydney Voice (ISV) magazine still has an important role to play so for this issue we are asking readers to do a ISV reader survey. We are asking for your feedback and your ideas for ISV in the future.

With Regional Council holding its 40th AGM this year we are celebrating this in both print and video. The video is thanks to the work of James Walker – one of the long line of students who gained experience at what is now Inner Sydney Voice. James produced the video from our archival footage and interviews conducted last year – you can see it at Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development – The first 40 Years.

The decision to form an Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development in 1974 was both a response to a national Labor government social planning initiative and a reflection of groups across the inner city who wanted a greater say in their communities. Andrew Jakubowicz, who called the meeting to form the organisation, explains the climate that gave rise to the organisation in The Regional Council as a social movement. We also provide A Brief History of the Inner Sydney Regional Council.

We asked three of those involved in the past to share their memories and help us look back over our history to explore some of the important threads. Faye Williams looks at Community Development, Martine Brieger at Information and Resources and Neil Stuart at the experience of Committee Members and Volunteers. Our current EO, Charmaine Jones pulls some of the threads together in Public participation – past present and future.

We briefly explain the current incarnations of two of ISV’s long term projects in Support for Aged and Disability Services and Support for public and social housing tenants.

We also build on our Redeveloping Public Housing ISV (Issue 129) by providing a guide to Tenant involvement in public housing estate redevelopment. We explore A conflict over how land is imagined and used and report on Council’s concerns about Waterloo redevelopment in City of Sydney raises planning density concerns.

Council’s raising concerns on behalf of local communities was seen in a recent study as an important part of their role. The study found that Local Government Matters.

This month’s From the Vault – Seeing RED is from 2003 and its applicability to today shows a universality in the way government currently deals with communities.

Charmaine Jones and Geoff Turnbull Co-editors Inner Sydney Voice.