BY SONJA FORSBERG
MELBOURNE — Two-hundred residents cheered Martin Kingham, secretary of the Victorian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), when he announced at a rally outside the Sunshine Swim and Leisure Centre on October 18 that his union would ban any work on the pool until the council consults with local residents about the future of the pool and gym. The rally was held to demand that the Brimbank Council repair the pool and gym.
"We will help any community campaign so long as they can show that they are willing to have a go", the construction union leader said. Kingham said that he should have no trouble in getting other unions to follow the CFMEU's lead.
Dr Jamie Doughney from the Victorian University of Technology pointed out that the loss of public space was a result of the Brimbank Council's short-sighted attempts to replace the outdoor pool areas with a car park.
A spirited march through Sunshine's central shopping area was held, with protesters chanting: "The money's in the budget, spend it on the pool or come the next elections you won't be cool."
Maurice Sibelle, one of the protest organisers, explained: "We've come a long way since the lord mayor, Dorothy Costa, announced that the pool may have to close in May this year. So far we have forced them to set aside $3.3 million in this budget. This rally is only the beginning of a concerted effort to ensure that we win the complete restoration of the pool and gym."
The campaign group will meet at 7.30pm on October 31, at the Sunvale Primary School Hall, Neil Street, Sunshine.
From Green Left Weekly, October 29, 2003.
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