The Guardian 10 August, 2005

CFMEU green ban

Construction workers have placed a green ban to prevent the eviction of disabled residents from a Lidcombe community hostel in Sydney's west. Disabled residents from Ferguson Lodge are fearful of plans to force them into group homes with lower levels of medical care after they discovered that the owners, ParaQuad, wanted to sell to major developers.

The move would see the residents split up into group homes around Sydney with substantially fewer carers.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) took the decision to place an interim green ban on the demolition of their home after being contacted by representatives of the Ferguson Lodge Action Committee.

"The CFMEU does not take this Green Ban lightly", said the union's NSW President Peter McClelland. "We are committed to preventing a situation where these residents are forced to leave Ferguson Lodge against their will and contrary to previous undertakings, for the sake of selling this seven hectare parcel of land for redevelopment.

"Many of the residents have lived at Ferguson Lodge for more than 20 years, they are active members of the local community, and they are reliant on the 24-hour care provided by the team of devoted and professional staff.

"Splitting them up, moving them out of the area, and restricting them to group homes which only have carers for 37 hours a week is a recipe for disaster, and in a worst case situation may result in the death of one of these residents unless the government steps in."

The CFMEU said the green ban was designed to encourage ParaQuad to fully consult with the residents and to urge the Minister for Disability Service, John Della Bosca, to step in to guarantee none of the residents will be evicted.

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