||Issue No. 192||22 August 2003|
Flexing the Muscles
Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
The Locker Room
A Harsh Lesson
Axe The Max
India On A Dollar A Day
Kids Win From Building Stoush
Mayor Genia McCaffrey attended a meeting of building worker delegates this week to thank them for blocking a challenge to community levies flagged by upmarket developer, Platino Properties.
"The developer has withdrawn the Section 94 case and is paying the levy, thanks to the support of the CFMEU," McCaffrey reported.
"This was not just the action of an individual developer. It was to have been a test case for the property industry which wants to get rid of Section 94 levies.
"If it wasn't for the intervention of the union our council would have found itself in court, and, unfortunately, court cases can be a lottery.
"The CFMEU met the developer and put him on notice that if he didn't pay up he would face strike action."
Platino Properties went public, two weeks ago, with its intention to challenge the legality of community levies, struck by councils around NSW to finance such things as parks, childcare centres, libraries and, in the case of North Sydney, low-cost rental housing.
Section 94 levies are advertised and publicly exhibited before being voted on as part of council procedure. Once adopted, funds have to be directed to earmarked projects.
The charges are levied on commerical developments, on the basis of the number of rooms, or sites, being constructed.
The North Sydney mayor said Platino's objection to the $815,000 levy on its multi-unit development at Milson's Pt was a threat to local government services, across the state.
"Without a significant increase in rates, councils could not cope with delivering the services we are required to without them," she said.
CFMEU members struck for 24 hours on the Platino Properties site before giving the company seven days to pay the levy. Seven days later, Platino confirmed it was withdrawing its action in the Land and Environment court.
Workers Online understands NSW Local Government Association president, Sara Murray, is writing to both the CFMEU and Labor Council, thanking them for supporting the levy.
CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said his organisation was pleased to be able to assist the community.
"It's a continuation of the Green Ban tradition of the 1970s," he said. "In this case, using union strength to help big developers face up to some of their social reponsibilities."
A guest at last week's CFMEU delegates meeting was former BLF secretary, Jack Mundey, the man who led the famous Green Bans credited with saving much of NSW's urban heritage.
Mundey was on hand to receive a Gold Badge for service to building workers.
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