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Jack Mundey talks in Thirroul on Illawarra Green Bans history

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 12 Jul 2012

What: Green Bans leader Jack Mundey speaks at free public meeting about the history and relevance of Green Bans today in the Illawarra, alongside local community activist Sharon Callaghan and NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. The  Green Bans documentary 'Rocking the Foundations' will also screen.
When: 2 for 2.15pm Saturday 14 July 2012
Where: Thirroul Railway Institute, Station Street (beside Thirroul Station)

Organised by Illawarra Greens and Senator Lee Rhiannon

Background - Green Bans in Illawarra

Jack Mundey was a key organiser of the Builders Labourers Federation's (BLF) campaigns to protect our heritage and environmentally significant sites from rampant development in the 1970s, including in the Illawarra.

The Green Bans movement, led by Jack Mundey who is now a Greens member, inspired people around the world.

The South Coast branch of the NSW BLF supported the Green Bans movement and in 1972 declared it would have nothing to do with destruction of 1882 Bustle Cottage in Wollongong threatened by a proposed high rise development. It still stands today.

Jack Mundey's legacy lives on, with Green Bans imposed by the South Coast union movement on key sites including Sandon Point (2001), Regent Theatre (2004), Killalea State Park (2007), Wollongong Town Hall (2008) and Wollongong Harbour (2008).

The Green Bans movement

The Green Bans movement was in response to the building boom of the 1960s and 1970s that changed the face of Australian cities. In the 1950s the height limit on city buildings was 150 feet (45.72 metres). This restriction was lifted in 1958 and the sky became the limit. In the ongoing rush for development, many heritage buildings were demolished.

Green Bans were a powerful new form of environmentalism, driven by the builders labourers union working with resident action and student groups, to protect vital open spaces, retain existing low cost housing and preserve older buildings. 

Ultimately the Green Bans drove the Wran government to introduce the Heritage Act 1977 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Over 100 buildings preserved through Green Ban actions are now preserved by the National Trust. The book, Green Bans, Red Union, estimates that the Green Bans prevented as much as $3 billion worth of development between 1971 and 1974. 

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