The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has placed a "green ban" on redevelopment of the famous Bondi Pavilion, in support of community groups outraged by Waverley Council plans to effectively hand the building to private companies. Union and political leaders joined with local residents at Bondi Beach on May 29 to announce the union ban on work on the project.
Residents are strongly opposed to the council's plan to outlay $38 million of ratepayers' money refurbishing the pavilion and have accused Waverley mayor Sally Betts of trying to privatise traditional public space at the building.
Former NSW Builders Labourers Federation secretary Jack Mundey, who was instrumental in helping to initiate the original Green Ban movement in the early 1970s, spoke at the event. The NSW BLF imposed green bans on Sydney's Millers Point, the Rocks and other inner city areas, which effectively saved historic buildings from demolition at that time.
"Bondi belongs to Australia," Mundey said. He added that it was important for the union to connect with residents to "save special parts of Australia".
"The union is right behind the ban, and the union has got tremendous support. It will bring the union back to its great power that saved so much of Sydney. It's terrific to know that the spirit of the green bans will live on forever."
The Waverley Council plan is to redevelop the pavilion, which has been the home of artists and musicians in the Bondi area for decades. Actor Michael Caton has condemned the proposal, which will involve renovations leading to the establishment of private restaurants and bars in place of public areas.
Writer and local resident Adrian Newstead said: "After 20 years abrogating its responsibility towards the Bondi Pavilion, the soon to be [amalgamated] Waverley Council has had an epiphany, influenced by some of the biggest developers in East Sydney. Betts wants to spend $38 million of council rates on a major redevelopment of the Pavilion, home to our artists and performers and the hub of our community life and celebrations. The plans, unveiled at a rowdy meeting of largely stupefied residents, would see it fall into the hands of commercial operators."
A Save Bondi Pavilion concert was held at Bondi Beach on June 5.
For more information on the campaign visit the Save Bondi Pavilion Facebook page.