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Historic NSW holiday retreat for workers' children threatened by developers

A beautiful and historic holiday retreat for workers' children bought by the NSW union movement back in the '40s in the Ku-ring-gai National Park north of Sydney is threatened by developers, assisted by their bidders at the helm of the NSW government, Premier Morris Iemma, Treasurer Michael Costa and Minister for Planning Freank Sartor. The group Friends of Currawong has launched a public campaign to prevent Camp Currawong being turned into yet another playground for the world's wealthy elite, "something ike St Tropez".

This story will be told on tonight's (Thursday 27 March 2008) viewing on ABC television's The 7.30 report.

Sold for $15 million in February 2007 by Unions NSW secretary John Robertson, Currawong is now in the hands of the developers Eduard Litver and Allen Linz, who are at the same time turning Bondi waterfront into "something like St Tropez". The broker of the sale was one David Tanevski who is also linked by a maze of business deals to Linz, Litver and formerly to one Michael Costa, as secretary of Unions NSW and now NSW treasurer.

Currawong is a developer's wet dream. Or would be, were the beachfront not currently occupied by a charming collection of shacks and a farmhouse described by Heritage NSW as possessing "state historical significance as the most intact remaining . mid-20th century, union-organised workers' holiday camp in NSW and probably Australia".

The developers have persuaded Minister for Planning and Heritage Frank Sartor that Currawong is scarcely worth noticing, much less listing, while simultaneously claiming it is so significant it is a Part 3A State Significant Development Site (automatically suspending all heritage and environmental safeguards).

Currawong is too important and sensitive to be governed by the Heritage Council. Too important and sensitive not to be exploited for a fast buck by ALP-connected developers. And too important and sensitive not to have the minister's personal thumbprint on such development.

Friends of Currawong are still in there fighting to save it.  It would take about sixteen paragraphs to tell you about the ups and downs.  It is great that (at least part of the saga) is on the 7.30 Report tonight1.

Our best

Jo Holder & Shane Withington
Co-convenors, Friends of Currawong
Jo - 0406 537933

Footnotes

1 See transcript at www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s2201091.htm