||Issue No. 166||14 February 2003|
A Call To Arms
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
A Tale of Two Malls
Talk Back Tom
On The Beach
Currawong Must Pay Itís Way
Robertson says Currawong is losing $30,000 to $50,000 per annum, money the union movement needs to invest in organising and renewal.
The issue has become a political football in the lead-up to the NSW State Election, with Opposition Leader John Brogden joining forces with those opposed to any upgrade of the facility.
Brogden last week vowed to block any development on the site, despite refusing to meet with Labor Council to be briefed on its plans.
The Labor Council terminated a contract with Longevity Management to improve the facilities in December after a deadline to submit a development application to Pittwater Council lapsed.
This has sparked a new wave of activity by anti-development protestors opposed to any change in the current operations. Robertson says there are no offers on the table, but made it clear he'll consider all proposals to stem the cash drain.
The Open Letter reads as follows:
Anyone who has spent time at Currawong knows that this is a magical place. This has never been the issue.
The facts are that over the past decade Currawong has cost the NSW union movement between $30,000 and $50,000 per annum. While the ACTU Organising Centre runs residential courses on the property, the facilities are run down and in need of repair, meaning we will need to spend even more in the future. The other income comes from union members and their friends, overwhelmingly from the North Shore, Northern Beaches, Inner West and Eastern Suburbs taking cheap holidays on Pittwater.
It is well known that Labor Council has been reviewing Currawong for some time. In 1999 Labor Council entered a management contract with Longevity Management to upgrade facilities, pay Labor Council $200,000 in rent per annum and still keep the facility open for union training and holidays. Labor Council terminated that agreement in December 2002 when Longevity Management failed to meet one of the conditions precedents in the Management Agreement.
Despite claims by some, there are no other proposals on the table, although I have made it clear to the Labor Council Executive that I will continue to look for ways to ensure that Currawong is not a drain on trade union resources. Those of us who care deeply about the future of the trade union movement know this is not the time to be focussing on where we take our holidays. Every one of us needs to be working to organise workers and see the movement strong again.
Throughout their campaign the Friends of Currawong have never entered this debate about the most responsible way to manage a trade union asset. Instead they have promised plan after plan to make the property profitable without ever delivering on a real or viable alternative.
At the same time they have engaged in a series of unprincipled attacks to support their case including personal attacks on Labor Council Officers and their families, religious vilification of the TM movement, and entering politically opportunistic alliances with the same Liberal Party that is championing a war on Iraq and attacking workers' rights at every opportunity.
I have told the Friends of Currawong I am open to a reasonable dialogue on the future of Currawong. But I have also made it clear that to continue to squander union resources for a holiday camp is not something I can responsibly do as Secretary of Labor Council.
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