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NSW Builders Labourers Federation and Victoria Street Resident Action Group




urban-development, environment, social


Activists, citizens, inhabitants

Maintained by:

Big Fag Press, The Cross Art Projects, The Firstdraft Depot, City of Sydney (a cultural grant), Awesome Foundation




1971 - 1974

NSW Builders Labourers Federation and Victoria Street Resident Action Group
The Green Bans


Green bans were first conducted in Australia in the 1970s by the New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation (BLF). The first green ban was put in place to protect Kelly's Bush, the last remaining undeveloped (but radioactive) bushland in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill. The BLF stopped conducting green bans in 1974 after the federal leadership under Norm Gallagher dismissed the leaders of the New South Wales branch. Gallagher was later jailed for taking bribes from developers. One of the last bans to be removed was to prevent development of Victoria Street in the suburb of Potts Point. This ban involved hundreds of residents, trade union members, and other activists and was successful for a number of years, despite facing a well-connected developer who employed thugs to harass residents. The artist Ian Millis and Jack Mundey were part of the movement, amongs others.


To keep urban low cost housing and to protect the environment and heritage.

Beneficial Outcomes:

They created a planning system revolution and changed institutions and introduced new laws. They set standards around the world. BigFagPress organized The Green Bans Art Walks in 2001. Green Bans saved many vital urban spaces and over 100 buildings were considered by the National Trust to be worthy of preservation.