Maleny Voice


 
 

Here are messages of support for the Obi Obi campaigners received during the campaign. This list is now closed to further comments.


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Date Who Message

24 Apr 2004Pam Norman Kuranda Range DefendersHi there,
I just thought I would make contact with your campaign to save the banks of the Obi Obi Creek from development. I strongly support your efforts and will be following the outcome with great interest.

We in Kuranda are fighting simiarly a development proposal for a supermarket here. Whilst IGA has pulled out due to community opposition we will now go to the Planning and Environment Court to have the development approval thrown out.

Similarly, and our main concern and campaign is against proposed development that will turn Kuranda "Village in the Rainforest" into a city of 50,000 (present population 3,000) . This is facilitated by the construction of a four lane highway through World Heritage Rainforest from near Cairns to Kuranda, a distance of 14 kilometres at a cost of $500,000,000. That's right, half a billion dollars, part of which

will come out of the State budget for roads at the expense of all other needs in Queensland and
destroying at least 50 hectares of World Heritage rainforest, inhabited by rare and endangered species including the Cassowary.
Nothing is sacred anymore from development.

We have our hands full, but if there is anyway we can help your campaign, please let me know.

Great website by the way, but I couldn't find the e-petition to sign.

25 Apr 2004Jerry & Marilyn Dahlberg of Minneapolis USAHow sad we are to hear of the destruction in Maleny. It is indeed a beautiful and quiet little community and we will never forget our wonderful visits there with you--huntsman spiders and all.

If we had not seen it before, we would be more shocked at how big corporations seem to try to build in places where the residents do not approve. For the life of us, we do not understand why anyone would even want a facility in such a place. We see this more often in Arizona than here. Often the firm that wants to build is Wal-Mart. Some communities want it and some do not and they let their wishes be known as they should.

The good news we have for you is many times the corporate builder decides that they will build elsewhere, so we are hoping for you that this is the outcome. We can't imagine how long it would take for the old trees to grow unless they are replaced with mature trees. Have seen the Platypus at your place and it is so shy that we hope that it doesn't get frightened away by all the upset.

Bet you thought that retirement was going to be dull and boring didn't you?

Bet your community has gotten along so far without Woolies and probably can continue to do so in years to come.
Good luck.

The web site was very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Keep us posted and we would love to hear anything your want to share.

love,
Jerry & Marilyn

01 May 2004Sandy HayHi to you up there in Maleny -keep up the good work!

We are thinking of you here in Brisbane and we support your cause 100 per cent.

I have spread your web page around the net with my contacts and you have plenty of support -wish we could do more.

Reckon you should try and get Woolworth's to make a donation to your purchase fund too!

Hope you can keep media interest up so that you will keep the support going and people informed!

Am sure there are still lots of options and please email me at this address if I can do anything to help?

I am an environmental activist and am also good friends with Ray and Lorraine up there. And -I'm NOT shopping at Woolworths!!!!

Love ,peace and greetings
Sandy Hay
Mitchelton

Have you visited my web page?
http://www.envirosand.tk

05 May 2004Peter BrownsdonI have been a visiter to Maleny for many years and have liked its rural atmosphere and surrounds. There are already supermarkets in this town well serving its residents. There would be some who would drive elsewhere but let them. Do not destroy a lovely piece of bush. Just because it was saleyard or zoned business doesn't mean they can go ahead without a enviromental report or disiregard the wishes of the community.

Leave the bush alone, tell them to F___ Off!!! somewhere else.

I will also change my shopping habbits in Brisbane and stay away from Woolworths. and tell my friends and colleages to do the same.

Regards

13 May 2004Stewart BeattieEven although I'm from the Riverina NSW city of Wagga, I just want to add my support to your cause of turfing out the giant. Although it was back around 1988 when I last visited your delightful town, I still retain have fond memories of the place. I have ceased shopping at the kosher store of Big W here, and we don't buy our groceries there either now.

Big W, Woolworths, Coles and K Mart all redeveloped the centre of Wagga's CBD, and when the redeveloped complex opened, the main street almost died. There were over 35 empty shops for 3 years, and the small businesses are only just struggling to recover. Trouble is, the city now has an imbalance of retail types. The "big 4" are a blight on the town, and all of their subsidiaries crowd the malls and any lessee who ventures into these malls, have to submit and allow the landlord holding company to link their cash registers to a central surveillance.

They are a blight on any rural community. The best of luck to you all in your campaign.

16 May 2004Geoff EvansCitizens of Maleny may be suprised to learn that they have something in common with at least three suburbs of Sydney.

We in Lane Cove, Double Bay, and Thornleigh are also feeling the warm embrace of a "Not so Fresh" squeeze on our local community amenity.

In the case of Lane Cove and Double Bay, it involves a land grab whereby a huge Woolworths supermarket development, on mainly community land, has divided the community and threatens create an edifice totally out of keeping with our cherished village character.

Co-incidently, the same "Independent assessor", advised both Lane Cove and Woollrahra councils.

In Lane Cove's case, this edifice will be placed across a narrow loca street from a large public school. with large scale traffic generation expected on this and other local streets, many locals are concerned for the safety of School children, both at this school, and two othe schools nearby. "Fresh Food "Jugganauts and School kids - a great mix !

There is also concern for the effects on long-term local shops, that this "council assisted competition" will cause, and further concern for how much council funding might be diverted to ameliorate the various knock-on school safety and local traffic effects.

In Thornleigh's case the local shop keepers don't have to worry, because they are all gone. Now Woolies wants to place a loading dock, in a suburban street. "Fresh Food" Jugganauts visit your house - How neighbourly !

There are apparently, other examples around NSW, maybe in other parts of Queenland too. The detail might be different but there seems to be a recurring theme; that of a straight out real estate deal appearing to be some magic "Fresh Food" panacea to all local ills.

Its a done deal in some cases, and although we'll soldier on down here, its looking bleak. Double Bay was apparently forced through, days before the recent council elections, and the direct involvment of Woolworths in the elections in Lane Cove, has set up a situation whereby binding documents will be signed over on or about June 7. We won't be giving up though, they don't own us yet !

At least Maleny is still alive, and good on you for all you efforts! You got on TV down here, so keep up the good work, Queenslanders never give up, so maybe you won't get done over the way we look like being, and the're aint nothin fresh about it !

Meanwhile, attached are four items you may find useful :-

1. "Corporate Influence on a Local Election" My email to both the NSW Ministers of Local Government, and Fair Trading. It outlines my objections to the "Woolworths Election Leaflet", which is contained as an attactment in that email.

2. "New Page 1" The Website of the Double Bay Residents Association, who have been fighting the Woolworths onslaught there. Contact them for further details.

3. "The Big Squeeze" Sydney Morning Herald article about "Not so Fresh Food" impacts in Thornleigh.

4. "Trolley Wars" Sydney Morning Herald about "Not so Fresh Food" impacts in Kempsey.

19 May 2004kev foster fremantlePlease pass on our support to all concern over the woolworths campaign. We here in Fremantle WA will certainly flood as many sites as we can with the boycott request.

31 May 2004Don and Denise in BraidwoodI live in a small Rural Town (Braidwood N.S.W). Like Maleny it's a beautiful place to live.

I'm not a Greenie but a Conservationist. My apologies to those that I may offend with that word. We have to preserve our bushland and wildlife and your way of life which is similar to ours that exists in many parts of Australia.

Big Companies and governments are destroying our environments and ways of life in many parts of Australia. Dubbo in New South Wales is a good example of bad government decisions.

Braidwood is a small town with a population of about 3000. We recently lost our unique way of life not understood by others in cities and politicians, because of changes to local government boundaries.

I live in a natural bushland area and care for injured or orphaned native animals.

I can understand where those in Maleny are coming from.

Who wants to shop at Woolworths? They import fruit and vegetables from the U.S.A and other countries. They do not support rural communities. What ever happened to the support Australia logo "Buy Australian" and "Australian Made"?

Rural Communities are suffering because of drought. People are losing their livelihoods. Do Woolworths care?

If they (Woolworths) win I hope the community remain united and refuse to shop there. Boycott them completely (please).

Local businesses and employment will be affected as well as the environment. These things are important to all of us as Australians.

I support you fully (100% plus) and will circulate the information I have to as many people as I can.

Please don't give up.

Kind Regards,
Don and Denise Buckley

31 May 2004Mike and CherryWe too have had our problems here on Kangaroo Island. people power can and does work.You must keep on pushing hard and whatever you do dont give up YOU CAN WIN.

27 Feb 2005David, BrisbaneBeing interested in our political system and having a love for current affairs, I heard the latest on the Woolworths development on 4BC just before 12 midday.

I was appalled when this story first broke and whilst I'm a regular listener to 4BC, I decided to check out your website. Just to say thanks for your site and the information provided is of a high standard and informative.

Although I haven't visited Maleny for years, I think Woolworths and Coles are just getting too big and unfortunately, not much choice available to us all.

I looked at the aerial photos and I oppose the development and across-the-board we seeing the expansion of a concrete jungle.

If you know of Susie from your Action group who appeared on 4BC, pass my thanks.

I will check out your site on a regular basis and whilst 4BC news is reporting the rally up there today, the final outcome will be interesting.

Also pass my thanks to your team.

31 Mar 2005Vicki YoungerI live in the Bega Valley, southern NSW and there are plans to build a Big W discount store along with 20-30 specialty shops within a large complex, in our area.

Development applications haven't been lodged yet and the information isn't yet in the public domain, but I've been to a few meetings where this development has been discussed and the general opinion is that it will go ahead. I'm not convinced that's the case if we can raise enough awareness of the negative impacts.

I'm in the process of gathering information to support our case. So far I've put together a submission regarding many different ways such as shopping centre may impact on our community but I'm really after some quantifiable information if anyone there has facts and figures.

Unfortunately, I don't think environmental or social concerns will make as much impact on our council and community in general than the economic facts. More than anything, I'm hoping to find some figures such as what these developments could mean in terms of dollars leaving our community etc.

On the other hand, the council recently held a social planning conference where Dr Clive Hamilton, in his keynote address, spoke specifically about overconsumption, so it would be shortsighted to ignore the comments of the keynote speaker they organised themselves and this might be to my advantage.

Thanks,

Vicki Younger
Redgum Soaps
Australia's first solar powered soapmaking facility
www.redgumsoaps.com.au
vicki at redgumsoaps.com.au

16 Apr 2005Jo Vallentine, PerthYour website is inspiring. Hope the campaign is going well. good luck. I'm forwarding copies of letters sent to developers, just in case you could use them in the local paper, or whatever. Hope you win!!

Thanks for all your hard work - it's on behalf of people way beyond Maleny who care about our natural world!

16 Apr 2005Jo VallentineDear Mr. Corbett,

I hope that my now Woolworths ahs reconsidered its plans to build a store on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek in Maleny, Queensland.

Although I'm not a local resident, I understand that 80% of locals do not support your company building on the site in question, and that they have very good reasons for their opposition.

Looking after the natural environment , within a townscape is very important, especially if in doing so, the local citizens would be protecting a breeding ground of our very rare platypus. We don't have such gorgeous creatures here in the west, but I have been on expeditions. looking for signs of platypus in the wild, in various parts of eastern Australia, and I know them to be rare!

But we do have woolworths stores here in the west. I will not buy anything from woolworths, until I hear that there has been a reversal of this unwise decision.

I'm sure there are other places, other towns maybe, which would welcome Woolworths - but if the citizens of Maleny do not welcome you in their town, surely it makes better sense for your company to avoid all the adverse publicity, which is now Australia-wide, and win some good publicity by deferring to the will of the people.

I hope for your sake, for the peoples' sakes, and for the platypus especially, that you will reconsider!

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Jo Vallentine.
Perth.

06 May 2005SteveHi,

I think that this is an excellent initiative. I fully support all elements of the manifesto. Keep up the good work in Maleny!

Cheers,

Steve

www.wellbeingmanifesto.net

09 May 2005HenriettaI can't help feeling that these big companies have the full support of both our right wing capitalist political parties.

They seem to have been embarrassed for some time that small businesses are the backbone of the country in terms of employment and productivity. They've also tried convince us that we have moved on from being a major primary producer and resource based economy to a a first world services based economy (which incidentally is largely underpaid and overworked). The third embarrassment in terms of world image as a first world economy seems to be that the building industry figures are an economic indicator (normally a feature of the developing world ).

It seems like we are being driven by the economic version of cultural cringe. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a country whose leaders accept what we are and value what we've got in terms other than power, money and credit ratings.

12 May 2005BethThis is something my sister Jill (much younger that I) just sent me, and I thought you might like to post it on your site. She lives in Sydney (and yes, she has visited me here, so she knows what Maleny looks like).

Beth



Sounds like a bit of a David and Goliath fight - but what is the Maleny council doing?? Surely people move to/live in that area precisely because they are avoiding the rat-race with its big supermarkets and shopping centres? Is council not able to make local planning laws to prevent such things happening?

As for the poor old platypus - where else in Australia do people get to live so close to them and see them? Even in nature reserves they are incredibly difficult to see. I was lucky enough to see one skimming across the top of the water at dusk in the Adelaide hills last year. So any sites like yours should be protected by the state/federal governments, I reckon.

It is not as if Woolies NEEDS another store anyway - they are already raking it in, by being at the top of the food-chain (of which farmers are at the bottom).

28 May 2005DickPeople on your site may be interested in viewing this website. It will be interesting to see how this matter is progressed. While the data on the site may not be 100% correct, it is pretty darn close.


www.BuddinaUrbanVillage.com


Best regards,

Dick

12 Jun 2005KateThe following is the main part of a letter I received from Greg Quinn, dated 10.06.2005

 

"RE: WOOLWORTHS SUPERMARKET - MALENY 

 

"Thanks for your letter of 7 June 05 to Jack.

 

"We appreciate and respect your comments and promise to do all things possible on issues we can influence and control - that includes environmental and traffic management issues.

 

"However, the development of the shopping centre is going ahead and whilst we respect the various protest groups' rights to oppose the Woolworths shopping centre, equally we ask that those groups respect our rights to develop the project in accordance with the Court Order and also to respect the rights of those in the community who support the shopping centre to have access to Woolworths."

 

 

This was in reply to my letter to Jack Hutchinson.  Jack rang me but there was little joy in the conversation with regard to Woolies.  Another old Maleny friend of the Hutchinsons is going to try a different tack with Jack.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Regards,

Kate

15 Jun 2005Mal HarrisonWOTTERS Things have become quite serious in Maleny, with objectors now (many of whom are over 60 years old) risking arrest and a criminal record. This is to stop the construction of a supermarket in this extremely sensitive part of town. These people are not all "hippies" or alternates, they include mainstream people like you and me, who are taking a stand to protect ecological, social and community values.

You need to understand that "when" the Maleny community win this war, it will be a beacon and a precedent to people in other communities. So any help that can be offered is going to be really appreciated and have far reaching implications. So please don't underestimate the importance of participating.

To assist the objectors in Maleny, it would be a great help if you are able to partake of the "Trolley Action". As this is intended to be a national action, which will make WOOLWORTHS rethink their position, it would a great help if you (and as many other people who you think might like to help) would make a protest by filling a WOOLWORTHS (or SAFEWAYS) trolley and leaving it in the store for the staff to unpack.

As the WOT campaign is trying to keep a record of how many, and where trolleys have been left, it would be good if you could go to the WOTCOUNTER at

http://www.woolworthsexposed.com/wotcount/

and record trolley's which you or others have left. If you feel uncomfortable or unable to do this, then send me the details and I will do it for you.

This WOT Campaign is not like signing a petition, every trolley left to be unloaded really will help the cause. Also please appreciate that if any inconvenience is caused by doing this, it is insignificant to the traffic chaos that is going to be imposed on the Maleny community by "Out of Town BULLIES" imposing their corporate greed on the only street through the centre of the town.

Hoping you can help and the quicker the better!

Malcolm B. Harrison

25 Jun 2005SteveAn open letter to Environment Minister Desley Boyle. Please send Ms Boyle leter similar to this one, urgently:

Dear Ms Boyle,

I am concerned and disappointed that you are unwilling to protect the platypus colony which inhabits the creek bank on the proposed supermarket site in Maleny. You have been provided with compelling evidence that the site is riddled with platypus burrows, in a density rarely seen before by one of Australia's leading experts. It is highly unlikely that such major earthworks and site preparations as proposed by this supermarket development will not result in the injury or death of a platypus, regardless of how careful the construction company says they will be.

At the very least, you should ensure that every burrow under the site is thoroughly inspected using the latest remote camera technology, confirmed to be empty and then sealed to prevent re-occupancy.

I trust that you will keep your word and instruct your departmental officers to undertake a very high profile and thorough monitoring campaign during the construction process, should it be undertaken.

25 Jun 2005A Concerned Maleny CitizenA letter that I have sent to Peter Beatty:

The Hon. Peter Beatty MP
Queensland Premier
Level 15
“Executive Building”
100 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000


Dear Peter,

I was surprised and horrified to read in the local press that the Environment Minister, Desley Boyle, could not do anything to restrict a new development on the site of a large active platypus habitat.

Only recently, some 30 burrows were identified in the bank of the Obi Obi Creek on which Woolworths are about to construct an unwanted supermarket in the township of Maleny.

The platypus is an endangered species and one of the emblems of Australia. Currently, as we speak, the Australian Exhibition at the World Expo in Nagoya has as its centrepeice an enormous model of the platypus. Our Prime Minister was even photographed for the world press admiring this over-sized replica.

How is it going to look if this situation is taken up by the Japanese or world press, particularly in the light of Australia’s arguments against Japan recommencing its pursuit of whale killing, which amongst other issues, constitute a significant part of our tourist industry.

You tell us we are the Smart State – come on, we must and can be more active on this issue.

This proposed new supermarket in Maleny has been opposed by the local community for several years on the grounds that it would possibly destroy this platypus habitat, which is almost unique in that it is within the town’s center. Also this site is badly suited for a supermarket from a traffic safety aspect, as it fronts the main entrance road into the town, is close to the school and hotel and bridge with little or no traffic turning capability.

Other objections were from a planning point of view, including the fact that it is highly undesirable for an historical town which once saw bullock wagons loaded with timber passing this point, to have a supermarket at its front door.

The town also has a long and strong tradition of co-operatives, probably one of the best in the State, that has developed a healthy and vibrant community.

Certainly the legal defence mounted by Woolworths, a major corporation, was superior, but it is also admirable to see a small town continue to fight for its identity and community values.

A recent statement attributed to Caloundra City councilor Dick Newman who represents Maleny said “People are frustrated by a number of failures in our legal systems that have led to an inappropriate development taking place. Any legal avenues they have taken have led to dead ends. At the end of the day, all they have left is to protest in whatever manner they can”

But now we urgently need your assistance. The development should at least be put on hold. Talk to your Minister, there must be a better way for this issue to be resolved. The way it is going does not appear to be in the Town’s, State’s or Country’s best interest.

Yours faithfully,

26 Jun 2005Jill MorrisTo give the Silent Majority a voice (albeit in some cases an anonymous one) a group of us have initiated a Silent Majority Quilt/banner/flag which will capitalise on the amazing patchwork/quilting skills of our town, provide non-vocal, non-physical protesters with a vehicle to express their feelings on fabric, and say to the developers 'Lots of people care about this creek!'
Fabric blocks (squares) of 12 and a half inches square (12 inches finished after sewing together) can be decorated in any medium the makers feel appropriate: sewing, applique, embroidery, stuck-on pictures, drawings, written poems etc.... Colourfully.
The theme is 'What the Obi Obi means to me'. Perhaps platypus, water, grasses, Bunyas, birds, people, fish....
Blocks (squares) to be left at Peace of Green for sewing together on Monday 27 (and beyond), hopefully growing large enough to cover the fence beside the bridge and dangle towards the water. A creative expression in a creative town.
Great activity for kids in school holidays.
AIm: to show colourfully, visually, that there is a silent majority who want to protect that site.
Each person is welcome to contribute lots of squares. Any fabric, new or old, cut from old teatowels, sheets, pyjamas etc. Or (pre-washed) calico.


27 Jun 2005Helen KinniburghWe will not be shopping at our local Woolworths in Brisbane, and we have just sent messages of protest to Desley Boyle, environment minister, and Hutchinson's Builders. Recently visited Maleny and continue to worry and wonder about what is happening with the site. Hoping that you can keep up the spirit, and that good sense will prevail. I still can't believe that this land was considered for such a project in the first place. Best wishes, Helen Kinniburgh and family.

28 Jun 2005Bill McMurrayHi guys, I think what you're doing is great, and I agree whole heartedly with you that Woolworths should not be allowed in Maleny.
But you must realize that by picketing the site you won't stop them from developing it, how about this for a way to really put some sting into your protest.
Get as many people as you can to go to a woolworths store, and then each person buys one small item, then when each person goes to the checkout, pay for the item with 5c pieces, and do it all as slowly as you can, this will cause extreme congestion at the checkouts and make it almost impossible for other shoppers to get through the checkouts in a reasonable time. Most will probably give up and leave there shopping there in their trolleys and go and shop somewhere else. This form of protest is both legal and lethal for Woolworths, hit them where it really hurts, in their hip pocket!!!!!!!!
Power to the people, keep up the good fight!

29 Jun 2005Pat O'BrienWildlife Protection Association president Pat O'Brien's visit to Camp Platypus resulted in the following being sent out on the weekly ezine, "Wildlife Bytes". It goes around the world to thousands of subscribers.

Maleny/Woolworths

On Monday, with another WPAA member, I attended another protest rally at the site of a proposed new Woolworths store at Maleny in Sunshine Coast Hinterland. We had both been to several of the rallies before. The Maleny community do not want Woolworths in their town, and have been fighting the proposal for at least three years. Now however, the creekbank of Obi Obi creek that will have the shop and car park built on, has been found to contain around 40 platypus burrows. Some burrows go 30 metres under the site, and some only one metre below the surface that will be recontoured, dug up, and built on. The group have underwater video and still photos of platypus swimming around in the creek, and using the burrows. On Monday some of the activists visited Queensland Environment Minister Desley Boyle, and showed her the evidence that platypus ( a totally protected species) were at risk from the development. Tourists who visit the protest site have sometimes even been lucky enough to spot platypus swimming in the creek! If you have never seen a platypus in the wild, visit the campaign site, soon. Very soon!

However, Boyle says she is satisfied a supermarket development at Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland is ecologically sound. She said they should now go home, and consider their campaign lost. The group had asked the Minister to impose an interim conservation order stopping construction at the south-east Queensland site because of concerns for a platypus habitat. Ms Boyle says the science shows the supermarket will not affect the habitat and is urging protesters to accept the decision. "I would have been able to introduce an interim conservation order if the platypuses were endangered, if they were in anyway to be harmed during the development, or their broader family and habitat destroyed, but that is not the circumstances in Maleny," she said. But a veterinary biologist who assisted in a survey of platypuses in the area says the Minister is wrong. So do other scientists, and the Maleny people. The protest goes on, with people camped on the site in 'Camp Platypus'. One has to wonder how much this particular developer has paid into the Queensland Labor Party slush fund to be able to get away with this. One also has to wonder why Woolworths persist when they must surely know that they wont get many customers from Maleny. Perhaps its all just a tax dodge anyway. *WPAA

Pat O'Brien, President
Wildlife Protection Assn. of Australia Inc.
Coordinator, National Kangaroo Protection Coalition
Wildlife Division Representative, Animals Australia
PO Box 309, Beerwah, Qld, 4519
Ph 07 54941890, 0408 711344

29 Jun 2005Esther PockrandtI have sent this letter to our Premier and am forwarding it just in case someone else wants to use some of what I have written as they compose theirs. thanks Barry and others for yours to inspire me! keep the info coming. It is good.
Esther

The Hon. Peter Beattie MP
Queensland Premier
Level 15
Executive Building
100 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

29 June, 2005

Re: Proposed Woolworths supermarket at Maleny

Dear Premier,

I am writing to you because I am deeply shocked and outraged at what is being allowed to happen in the Maleny community under your government. I have been a Labour supporter for most of my life but fail to see why I should continue to be so when many of the issues that are dear to me and that have made me vote Labour over the decades are being violated right here in my community.

Indeed a columnist in the Courier Mail likened the struggle in Maleny to Daintree protest tactics during the Bjelke Peterson era in the eighties! I too am wondering whether we haven’t fallen back into Jo shortsightedness and unsustainable practices.

I like many others am feeling privileged to be living in Queensland. I call myself a Brisbane girl. I also feel very privileged to have been living in Maleny for the past 12 years. I feel equally privileged that my life and work have taken me overseas to know first hand how privileged we still are in Australia. I have managed to create my own income for all of my life except for a period of three weeks in my twenties. I am now 57.

My life has been spent teaching in remote communities in North Queensland and in the Torres Straight, in the Queensland Education System, in TAFE as well as in tertiary institutes here in France and Japan. Since the late eighties however I have been working as a Career Advisor and Personal Counsellor in TAFE, at UQ, QUT and more recently as a Guidance Officer in High Schools. I also have a Private Counselling Practice. Sadly I have seen a growth of personal disempowerment both in schools and the community at large with the undesirable side effects that government services are becoming increasingly burdened with.

While working overseas I have always been an ambassador for Australia and Queensland and the freedom, fair play and equality we enjoy. I wonder now.

I have travelled and taken on work to learn about communities and how people go about fulfilling (or struggle to fulfil) their needs in different cultures. I have seen communities fall apart and loose all sustainable opportunities as ‘progressive’ policies make it harder and in some cases totally impossible for individuals to take initiative and responsibility for their environment, their lives and their health.

I am consequently horrified at what is happening to Australian values (or the myth of them?) and right here in my small community, the microcosm of the macrocosm.

I see that in this country, let alone State, the unemployment figures and attitudes and perception of work opportunities of a large sector of our communities are alarming. Unemployment and the sense of hopelessness bring with them social disharmony, ill health and the vicious cycle of depression, irresponsible behaviour, drugs and more crime. More Welfare or Policing is an ineffective bandaid only as you well know. Opportunities for self-employment and the creation of healthy living habits however and incentives to reward people who take these initiatives create resilient and healthy communities, as you also know.

Yet still, despite government rhetoric for a SMART state, individual initiatives to generate an income are confronted with overwhelming government legislation in some portfolio knowingly (or out of ignorance?) which undermines these sincere individual attempts to live with integrity. Universities are now degree factories with students starting out in life with thousands of dollars of debt and without any exposure to humanities subjects that promote mindful and ethical business practices and communities.

We are losing bio-diversity globally (both environmentally and in consumption practices) with increased and thoughtless development, over-harvesting, monopolies, centralisation and management practices.

Yet your government criticises Japan for continuing whaling, when your own Environment Minister deems that the sizable and healthy Platypus colony on the Obi in Maleny will not be affected by the development of a Supermarket right on top of its habitat! Isn’t the Platypus on the endangered species list like the whale? How could the use of heavy machinery and earthwork NOT affect the colony? How many townships can still boast a healthy enough water and land system to have such a colony in the heart of it and just over an hours drive away from Brisbane! Isn’t that worth preserving and legislating for, for its uniqueness alone! How shortsighted has our government become? In other countries, like Japan for example, such sites are declared national treasures. The platypus is internationally famous, including in Japan, still our big tourist dollar! Or is viewing Platypus only in captivity at Australia Zoo, the government’s tourist and long term environmental objective?

Furthermore, rural Australia is dying in the grips of the drought. Businesses are closing down. People are leaving the country, if they can sell. Depression is at an all time high. Mental Health Services are barely coping, nor is our Welfare System with the increase of Welfare and Mental Health dependant SMART Queenlanders.

I am flattered to be living in the SMART state, Mr Premier, however I am starting to seriously WONDER WHY in light of the above, if we are SO smart:
• Woolworths (or any other big corporation) has been allowed to move into Maleny (or any other small community) when its track record is a string of dead local communities and businesses, results of its ruthless undercutting practices at the expense of farmers in other parts of the country. Do we need more depression and unemployment in another small community as it struggles to compete with a ruthless giant and the subsequent drain on the already struggling Welfare and Health system? I hardly believe Woolworth can compensate for the loss of jobs in the community by employing a few casuals. Shouldn’t you, Mr Premier, be supporting our farmers, small enterprises and communities instead for true diversity and the resilience that brings with it?
• Why your government does NOT foster small businesses to keep local communities resilient and alive but lets big corporations in instead. Surely having a community generating its own income, supplying its own needs, passing on its own produce to local consumers through its shops, creating its own employment circulating its own dollars and wealth surely MUST be a sign of a healthy and SMART community. It creates mutual respect, accountability and responsibility. Our IGA does all that, as do the other small shops, bakers, fruiterers, dress shops, Hardware, Paper, Art and Camera shop and all the local producers of dairy, fruit and vegetable, conserves, pastas, and the many other cottage industries Maleny has been growing. Woolworth does not have local buying practices! Why undermine all of what we still have? Why not encourage more of what we already have? Isn’t the long-term benefit obvious?
• Why your Transport department allows another traffic and potential accident nightmare to be created with no space for turning areas right next to a bridge, a Primary School, the Retirement Village and High School not far up the road and on the ONLY entrance and exit to Maleny and the only Range access to hinterland communities of Reesville, Witta, Connondale and Kenilworth.
• Why your Environment Minister has so little regard for our own endangered Platypus, that Maleny has the great fortune to still have living right in town in a natural setting, and to be so uninformed or inexperienced as to believe that heavy earth moving equipment will not impact on it.
• Why the proposal of a People’s Park along the Obi, a known flood bank, is not seen as a far more appropriate and sustainable development all around for the welfare of the whole Maleny community, not just one out of town developer and one big corporation.

I see this matter as extremely urgent, Mr Premier, as construction is scheduled to start. I trust that you will review the suitability of the site for a major Supermarket development before earth works begin, as well as consider the harm this development will cause to the community of Maleny and a protected Australian native, the Platypus. Please use your powers and portfolios to stop this senseless development. It would restore my faith in the Labour party and that of many others in the Maleny community. This is not just an anti Woolworth campaign it is a social, environmental and traffic safety impact campaign. We are fighting for the survival of our town, its safety and the businesses in it as well as for the Platypus.

Yours sincerely,

Esther Pockrandt
BA (UQ), Cert T (BCAE), Grad. Dip School Counselling (UQ),
Master of Counselling (QUT)

30 Jun 2005SueMay I suggest sending a copy of these brilliant letters to such community and business organisations as small business, tourism, conservation, environment, rural and regional, community and regional arts. Also political parties, authors and artists with values, independent radio and press - Asking them to write to the main players to help them to understand.  Anyone you can think of who can add to the voice.

Something that can be done on a rainy day.

Sue

01 Jul 2005Robyn LucienneTell websites like indy you will get the support of people and groups around the world.

In this day and age, the fact that the Maleny community has had to go to such great lengths, over a number of years, to protect endangered platypus, is ridiculous. Even the dullest of brains can see the length of time nature takes to build perfect platypus habitat , it wasn't intended for one developer to destroy and deprive the rest of the world of it forever.
There is no way to measure the loss when something is priceless, with a system that lacks legal standing for nature. Perhaps only Maleny can do it, merge with customary lore - I've thought about the platypus as the totem of a traditional owner group and wondered if the Indigenous Environment Group could apply for standing under their cultural heritage.
Is it just me, or can any one else see the absurdity of demonstrators having to seek an injunction to stop the construction of a Woolworths super market, when there is a precautionary principle? and don't we have enough supermarkets? what's going to happen if they don't build another supermarket on a beautiful creek?
Fancy having to beg the Environment Minister, Desley Boyle, to protect a native habitat. Isn't that her job? After all, it's much harder for the community to do because they're not privy to confidential and politically sensitive information that influenced the decision. The community had to produce the scientific proof of platypus habitation, under such harsh social conditions, being secretly filmed?

The very least the Council could do is to include in the development conditions to contract the developer to take all steps to preserve, enhance and maintain the platypus habitat, a breach of which is subject to withdrawal of approval for the development.
I wish the mighty little voice of Maleny the best of luck, lead us all to a safer home for the platypus.

02 Jul 2005Robert MustonHere is a letter I have sent to Roger Corbett:

Hello Mr Corbett,

I am a newcomer to SE Qld and have become aware and informed on your Maleny site. 

Apart from the Platypus issue there are other reasons that would make me question the common sense of the people at Woolworths who made the decision to build on that site.

If you had visited the site and driven in the area many times as I have you would firstly know that the entrance to the site is a major traffic hazard. 

Taking a walk on the badly designed concrete wall across from your site and sitting quietly for a few minutes would again make anyone with a small amount of common sense realise that in flood times your site would be partly under water, and blocking it with a building will undoubtedly cause water to back up and flood the library and other parts of town.  A bit of research on past floods will alert you to the large lawsuits you will likely face in the near future should your building cause a local flood.

3rdly is the Platypus issue, and

4th is the fact that the Maleny community is one that is unique and has an unusually high "intellectual capital".  The fact that these folks are digging in on this issue makes me think that you are making a sad and regrettable mistake. There are viable alternatives within easy reach of that location.

Who am I ?  I am well qualified to comment having presented papers on environmental issues in many countries and having contributed to several paragraphs in USA EPA legislation.

If you wish to have a discreet and informative visit to the site and surrounding area I would be happy to assist.

Best Regards

Robert Muston

03 Jul 2005MichaelThe Government has failed us.

Of course there will always be reasons why not to do something.... Labor or Opposition. ... too small, too insignificant, not enough money, many other causes better than yours etc. etc.

The fact is the decision to allow a supermarket on this site was always wrong from so many points of view ... local and state government ... that it shines out as a failure of government policy to resolve. What is even more disappointing is the lack of political will. Politicians can do anything if they want to or they feel it is politically advantageous. Clearly, Maleny does not fit into this category, despite the fact that I have not heard or read of one cogent argument in favour of this development.

It is gross commercial greed and damn the community. I don't see how you can get past that.

I accept that there has been a noticeable lack of vision from Caloundra City when it comes to the future planning of Maleny as well as gross incompetence regarding the DCP and protection of the Obi Obi Creek.

However, on the state front, what's the point of a bright spanking new Regional Plan if we can't get the clear cut issues solved like Woolworths and the Obi Obi Creek? It will fail too like the Water Act and the Nature Conservation Act, over and over again, unless we recognise that they do not contain solutions to real problems on the ground like Maleny.

I expected a lot more from the Labor Government and a lot more from a Premier who seems genuinely to listen and digest issues. It doesn't mean that I want to turn to the Opposition in the future, it just means that I, and many like me, are dispirited by the values sometimes being ignored by this government.

It is very disappointing to have been let down so clearly and so obviously by those people we elect to look after our interests. And the last bitter twist is being told by Desley Boyle to go away and cry. That is not the Labor Party I grew up with and admired, I can tell you.

Regards,

Michael

05 Jul 2005Peter van der DuysI sent this letter to the Premier:

Queensland Premier
Level 15
Executive Building
100 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

June 30 2005


Re: Proposed Woolworths supermarket in Maleny


Dear Mr. Beattie,

I urge you to intervene in the current environmental crisis in Maleny.

We deserve better than allowing a supermarket development on the banks of a creek – even if this was not home to Platypus - a protected species.

First the Deen Bros come accompanied by a huge police force to cut down trees on the bank – and now a year later the imminent destruction of what should be a protected riparian zone.

How does an ordinary local citizen such as myself prevent this kind of development? I am ashamed of my local Council, I am ashamed of the Australian government, I am ashamed of being Australian at a time like this.


Yours very sad and angry


Peter van der Duys

07 Jul 2005Frank WoolardWonderful to see enthusiastic protestors for a cause that affects many small towns in aussie

Congratulations

I am an oldie new to Maleny


07 Jul 2005James H Davidson, PublisherI'd suggest we call it POWER TO THE PEOPLE PARK

Maintain the Rage, J

07 Jul 2005Samantha.i'm here in North outer Brisbane where we have slowly but surely started a small boycott... like you said...lets show them with our wallets... i also happen to 'sadly' work within woolies... and plan on doing the very best i can from in the inside.
i also have written letters from those given on this site... and i ask everyone... start writting to the courier mail... the Sunday Mail ... LET everyone see, get your letters to the public ... writting to some guy at a desk isnt seen by the public, get your letters out in the open !!!
Good luck. Fight for our rights and the rights of the creatures on our earth.

07 Jul 2005KateA message of support from down here in Victoria. Though I have been living down here for nearly 6 years..there is still a big part of my heart in Maleny where I visited often as a child and where my parents now live. I have total admiration for the maleny community and especially the dedicated activists who have put their heart and soul into this campaign. You are the true leaders our world needs today. May you have the strength to keep on keeping on. Your work is not only important for your beautiful community for for the world at large. A world that needs to learn there are others ways of doing things. May the force be with you! You have supporters here in Melbourne - may you feel our supportive vibes. I plan to do a WOT asap! PS. Hello Mum and Dad!

07 Jul 2005Stephen FrenchCongratulations on you and your team's actions and efforts. You have my strongest support.

Can I make one suggestion. You may have already done this but even so it may be worth trying again.

All business decisions are based on profitable investments. The Woolworths decision to tenant the site is based on their belief that the store will be profitable. This will be based on a business case developed some time back. From what I can see, if 80% of Maleny locals do not want the store and refuse to shop in it, then the business case cannot be profitable. If Woolworths executives proceed with a plan that is clearly invalid they are in breach of their duty of care to shareholders.

If Woolworths are in the posession of a petition signed by most Maleny locals stating their intent to never shop in a Maleny (or any other) Woolworths the board members are duty bound to have the business case reviewed. If they do not they risk losing their jobs (and possibly breach their Directors duties). 20% of the Maleny population will not make a Woolworths store profitable.

regards,
Steve.


A suggested draft for the petition:

TO the board members, CEO and shareholders of Woolworths Ltd. The signatories to this petition are stating their strong objection to the proposed construction and future tennancy of a Woolworths retail outlet in Maleny, Queensland. The signatories wish to inform the board members, executive and shareholders of Woolworths that this retail outlet will be boycotted by the majority of Maleny residents.

In this event it is clear that the business case supporting the proposed outlet is suspect and most likely unprofitable.

The board and executives of Woolworths are duty bound to act in a manner that benefits the organisation's shareholders and investing in a clearly unprofitable business activity breaches their duty of care to shareholders.

The board and executives of Woolworths are duty bound to suspend construction of the site and revisit the business case for the investment based on the knowledge that the retail outlet will receive very few customers.

The following signatories represent XX% of the population of Maleny....

09 Jul 2005KimA message to the troops down on the creek from one of your troops outside the fence ... we'll stay here as long as you wish. Today's meeting will hopefully have shown, via the media, that many Maleny people are opposed to this site development by Woolworths and further, there were far more "grey heads" than "dreads" there ... we represent a vast cross section of the community but at heart, we are one, and we can win.

10 Jul 2005LeighI would like to congratulate Garry, Steve and anyone else involved with the Maleny Voice website for your excellent work. This website is crucial in disseminating the true, up-to-date story about what Woolies are trying to do to Maleny. You are definitely among the unsung heroes of this campaign. My friends around Australia and around the world are able to log onto your easily-navigable website and find accurate information and ways of showing their support — and we all know the more support we can get the better. Your energy in creating this website is truly appreciated. Thanks and good karma to you!

12 Jul 2005CaroleI'm appalled at willing destruction of the habitat of Maleny's platypuses. I sent an email to the Minister for Destroying the Environment and Promoting Dishonesty in Local Government and Planning, Desley Boyle, and her lack of response is indicative of the contempt she has for Queensland residents.

I hope it's not too late but I sent the following email to the Premier given that his Ministers don't give a shit.

I fear the noise and activity of construction spells doom for platypuses.

Please continue with your battle. Brisbane residents want to preserve Maleny and its beauty as much as you guys. Good luck.

Dear Premier Beattie,

You want to encourage tourism to Brisbane yet your government is willing to destroy the surrounds that encourage the visitors to come here. By allowing corporate development in Maleny you destroy the reason tourists and local visitors go there. I would much prefer to visit Maleny to see a platypus and enjoy the beauty of the rural environment than go there to shop in a multinational supermarket.

The locals don't want a supermarket, the visitors don't want a supermarket, so who is it for?

The Minister for Destroying the Environment, Desley Boyle, stood up in parliament at her inauguration and spoke of protecting the region she is from; to the Maleny locals she says: "Go home and cry".

The Queensland Government is no better than the Federal Liberals in their attitude of contempt for the general public and resident communities.

What's worse is that the Minister for Destroying the Environment is also the Minister for Encouraging Dishonesty and Corruption in Local Government. What happened to the gazetted decision to make public access the vicinity around Obi Obi Creek.

I have lived in South-east Queensland all my life and despite numerous attempts to see a platypus in the wild I've yet to see one. There's a winery with a viewing platform near Tamborine and I heard rumours of a platypus in a creek out The Gap way, but hours of patience did not fare me well.

Wikipedia suggests the reason: "Seeing a platypus in the wild is more a matter of luck and of patience than of difficulty. They tend to dislike populated areas, ...." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus). Building a supermarket on the banks of a platypus populated creek is nothing short of obscene. History will condemn this Government if it aquiesces to blind corporate greed.

Austalians hypocritically condemn the Japanese for their history of whaling (though it's not long ago we did the same) yet we'd happily annihilate "the mammal-like reptiles that predated the dinosaurs by 80 million years and lived in the late Carboniferous period, about 300 million years ago." (http://www.wonderquest.com/egg-laying-monotremes-falling-man.htm)

We invest millions in preserving the Wollemi pine — is that only because there's a buck in it for the government?

The platypus is worthy of our protection. Our environment and ecosystem are more important than giving more money to the people who already have the most.

What will the Queensland Government tell people when the animal it uses to market itself can only be seen in a zoo? Will you tell the tourists: "South-east Queensland has plenty of supermarkets — I hope you didn't want to see our once beautiful region or our extraordinary native animals"?

I thought we had laws to protect these animals and to protect us from dishonest local governments.

It's not too late to stop this development.

Yours sincerely,

Carole


12 Jul 2005LeticiaAlthough I had heard of the furore in the past, I wasn't aware until listening to ABC this morning that the developers and Woolworths were still proceeding, and was sickened when I heard of the 240 police + 30 private security officers evicting the people of Maleny from their own community. I work for a development company in Brisbane, and I'm not a "greenie", but I truly believe in what the residents of Maleny are doing to protect not only (and very importantly) the wildlife but also the community. I cannot see why Woolworths would proceed with such a site other than monetary greed and an ego complex. I hope it never gets constructed, but if it does I'm willing to drive the excavators in front of the doors of this construction and stop Woolworths from ever making a cent from profiteering at the expense of our livliehoods. Best wishes from Brisbane - we'll be doing our fight down here but I do call on everyone, however far away, to contact the media and the government and let your voices be heard.