Taste vinegar, Woolies
1 November 2006
The Brisbane based Courier Mail newspaper has run a great opinion piece by Jane Fynes-Clinton further reinforcing the message that a majority of Maleny residents have rejected the Woolworths supermarket.
Channel 7 Broadcast - Today Tonight
26 October 2006
The national media in Australia are slowly waking up to the ruthless business practices of the big supermarket chains - Woolworths in particular. Today Tonight have broadcast a story clearly showing that shopping at smaller independent grocery shops will save you money.
"You would think the bulk buying power of the major supermarkets would guarantee you savings on your fruit and vegetables. But, we have found your local independent store can save you a bunch on the most popular produce."
Documentary Film: No Woolies in Maleny, the struggle for community empowerment
A documentary which focuses on the small community of Maleny, 100 km north of Brisbane, Australia, concerning our fight to keep out the supermarket corporation Woolworths. Also similar struggles overseas, including against Walmart (USA) & Tesco (UK).
You can now see a shortened 34 minute version of the video online at myspace. Our thanks to Paul Alister for producing this important documentary and sharing the message far and wide, including at overseas film festivals such as the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
DVD copies of the full-length video are available from:
Alister Multimedia, 48/8 Maple Street, Maleny, QLD 4552
PH: 07 5494 2533 (International: +61 7 5494 2533)
Channel 9 Broadcast - A Current Affair
16 October 2006
The Channel 9 Australian national television network aired a story on Maleny and the empty Woolworths supermarket on Monday evening. Seen by millions of Australians, the word of our campaign is spreading...
Southern Sydney Retailers Association Speaks Out
16 October 2006
Dear Maleny residents,
I read about the Woolworths in Maleny in the Sydney Morning Herald today. Congratulations on your efforts.
Our organisation is trying to lobby for Geographic Price Discrimination (GPD) laws to be brought into Australia, similar that exist than Canada, and also to expose the harm that the Woolworths/Coles duopoly is doing to Australia.
GPD is an anti-competitive trick used by Woolworths by lowering the prices on all goods when they open a new store in the country (such as Maleny), thereby making it impossible for local business to compete and the locals are then driven to ruin and bankruptcy. See a Senate Report for an example of lowering prices to kill off the competition in Dubbo.
Once the local competition is suppressed, Woolworths then raises at the prices at this store above all other stores forcing the local residents to pay high prices.
A classic example of the tactic was revealed by Choice Magazine, where Woolworths increased prices 23% after a competitor pulled out of the market and this is the plan for Maleny. See the Choice Article here. This destroys the local community, as the inside of the money that this spent in the town - staying in the town, the wealth of the country town is just siphoned off to Sydney and the country town goes in a spiral or decay.
In Canada such tactics carry penalties including two years jail but in Australia it’s just a sharp business practice. Section 50 of Canadian Competition Act states it is illegal for anyone to “engage in a policy of selling products in any area of Canada at prices lower than those exacted by him elsewhere in Canada, having the effect or tendency of substantially lessening competition or eliminating a competitor in that part of Canada, or designed to have that effect”.
We would hope that you could assist our research by collecting and documenting Woolworths prices in Maleny, as so a comparison could be made with Sydney prices.
Our aim is present this evidence to government to assist in the lobby for Price Discrimination Laws in Australia. We believe that following Woolworths previous tactics, that they will offer below cost prices to destroy all local competition in Maleny, with the aim of increasing prices once the local competition vanishes, just as they were exposed as doing by Choice Magazine.
We believe a large chain such as Woolworths should not be able to “price flex” subject to local competitive conditions our laws should be like they are in Canada, where a large chain must have one price at all locations, to ensure fair competition.
The following is brilliant quote from the US Congressional Records back in 1936 which is in an article “The Decline of Country Towns”
“Mr. Speaker…… [our country] communities depend primarily upon local enterprise for the support of their social, educational, and spiritual institutions, their schools, their churches, their hospitals, their civic enterprises of all kinds. The backbone of that local enterprise is the local independent businessman, whether manufacturer, merchant, or producer of raw materials. It is a mistake to assume that he is less efficient just because he is small. For that very reason, on the contrary, he is often more efficient. He has less overheads, less of a top- heavy, unwieldy organisation, less of this activities devoted to the crushing of competition rather than to services really productive.
Yet a non-resident competitor, armed with the privilege of price discriminations now permitted by law, with the financial resources furnished by the metropolitan banks, and with the ability to absorb losses with excessive profits in non-competitive territory, is able to come into that local community, plant a competing enterprise next door to the local merchant, cut prices below cost, and the crush the local merchants superior efficiency with no other weapons than those of greater size and power of outside resources. In the assurance of equal opportunity and fair play which gives this bill to local independent business, it guarantees the integrity and wholesomeness of the local community life against corruption and impoverishment by these sinister influences”.
This is the argument used 70 years ago to introduce Geographic Price Discrimination Laws in the USA and it is relevant today in Australia.
I hope that you will agree with these sentiments and help to lobby for the introduction of these laws in Australia. We are 100% behind your consumer boycott of Woolworths, but to beat them in the long term we need to work to introduce competition laws that exist in other countries and Geographical Price Discrimination Laws are just a start.
Southern Sydney Retailers Association
Help Us Spread The Message
We have produced a sticker which is spreading the message in and around Maleny, and also far and wide. If you would like a sticker, or several to adorn your car bumper or window, please contact us. Available for free or a small donation to help our cause.
Town slings off at Woolies and Goliath stumbles
14 October 2006
The Sydney Morning Herald has published an excellent article further expanding on the way the people of Maleny are shunning the unwanted Woolworths supermarket.
Woolworths Supermarket Struggling
14 September 2006
The controversial Maleny Woolworths supermarket has been open for around five months now and the car park can often be seen nearly empty. Whilst it has attracted some business (usually at busy peak times when commuters drive home and on weekends when out-of-town tourists pass through Maleny) many Maleny residents are giving the Woolworths supermarket the cold shoulder.
There have been reports that the Woolworths store has been forced to recycle perishable foodstuffs with other better patronised stores on the Sunshine Coast to reduce massive wastage costs. Those using the Woolworths store are reported to have been unhappy with the 'freshness' of many fruit, vegetable, meat and dairy products on sale there. Large supermarkets rely on strong and consistent patronage to achive turnover of stock.
The existing IGA supermarket in the heart of Maple Street is thriving, having suffered minor reductions in business after the opening of Woolworths store. People are voting with their wallets and purses and supporting small local businesses such as the bakeries and butcheries, as well as the long standing IGA supermarket.
In spite of overwhelming public opposition to the Woolworths store being constructed on the bank of Obi-Obi Creek in Maleny, Woolworths Ltd persevered with their plans. They were not willing to set a national precedent and back down on this occasion. They will now have to carry the burdon of a clearly unprofitable store for many years to come.
The challenge is for the people of Maleny to stick with their principles and continue to support the Maple Street businesses and local food producers...
Cheap Food - At What Cost?
by Stephen Alexander
Last August I attended a meeting at Sunshine Coast University to explore the possibility of setting up a study to examine and measure the overall economic impact that supermarkets are having on regional communities in Australia, from both the consumer and supplier perspectives. My input was to report on the work I'd carried out over the last 15 years for the US and UK governments as well as for Australian Federal, State and local governments on the implications for trade of the growing trend in e-commerce, and to evaluate which tier of government, if any, would act on any findings.
Big Brother Takes On Maleny
by Ruth Parnell, Maple Street Co-op News
Woolworths has been using biometric finger-scanning technology for several years to monitor the attendance of its employees, despite concerns that this is an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Now it seems the corporation may have gone a step further introducing face recognition technology into their stores...
- Sat 8 Apr
A street parade was held on Saturday 8th April 2006 to mark the start of the struggle for locally owned businesses against a corporate parasite. The parade started at 10am, with many people dressed in colourful clothing. Many wore black arm-bands to mark the sad day for Maleny.
The parade ended at Tesch Park for a party/wake to celebrate what a wonderful community we have, with a sausage sizzle, music and entertainment.
Unsolicited Mail Returned
31 March 2006
Storm clouds are not the only thing gathering over Maleny. Pictured is just some of the mailædestined for the supermarket giant If the bean counters are doing their job properly the cost should be apportioned to the Maleny store which won't show a profit in this century. This is just the start of April Avalanche and we're almost halfway to target.(target:20,000) Mail your wofs nowæ to reach Foolworth's by April Fool's Day!!!!!!!!!!
Maleny Movie Premier: "No Woolies in Maleny!"
No recent issue in Maleny has generated more passion and emotion than the building of Woolworths supermarket . This Friday, March 3rd at 7 PM, local videographer Paul Alister will premier his dramatic documentary "No Woolies in Maleny: The Struggle for Community Empowerment." The documentary covers many of the protests, meetings and actions as well as the raw emotions and feelings for and against Woolies in Maleny.
The fast-moving film, beautifully narrated by local presenter Robin Harper, will bring you right into the history and feelings of this passionate issue with interviews across the Maleny spectrum including: Cr. Dick Newman, State Member Carolyn Male, protest leaders, farmers, business owners, academics as well as protesters at the site. Although he would not be interviewed, written comments received from Woolworths' Peter Thomas are included.
An interesting highlight of the video is a live-to-camera comparison of locally-made items available at Maleny IGA and Wooworths in Beerwah, You may find the results surprising!
People who have seen previews of the documentary have shown overwhelming support for the moving and sensitive coverage of this important issue. If you have had anything to do with the Woolworths issue, or just want to understand the strong feelings behind it, then this video is a must see! A discussion with Paul after the video will also be held.
'No Woolies in Maleny' is the first of three videos being presented Friday Nights at the Community Hall, as part of a Community Strength Film Festival.
Controvery Plagues Woolworths Building to the End
The 'ugly-box' nears exterior completion.
21 Feb 2006
As the controversial Woolworths supermarket building nears completion the extent of the spin and deception ('public relations' in Woolworths-speak) in relation to the building appearance has become obvious.
The builders (Hutchinson/Uniton) have thumbed their noses at Maleny by erecting a huge and unsightly air conditioning and plant house on the roof of the supermarket building. This plant house was never shown in their 'artist's impressions'...
Uniton/Hutchinsons have completed their nice reinforced concrete access roadway and car parking areas. Low maintenance and there for years to come. However, the public roadway, maintained at taxpayer expense, has merely been afforded cursory patchwork repairs, is lumpy to drive over, has inadequate turn lanes, and will be a drain on the public purse for years to come.
Strong Message For Woolworths
13 Feb 2006
Maleny residents sent an extra strong message to Woolworths last week. After numerous repeated requests for the retailer to cease the mailbox delivery of catalogues (80% of residents have stated that they will not shop there) many Maleny residents have been returning them to the retailer via their reply paid address.
In an unprecedented move last week over 6,000 pieces of mail (mainly catalogues) were returned to Woolworths with many addressed to their new reply paid address.
A spokesperson for the group stated that this action will continue until the retailer respects the wishes of the majority of residents and discontinues the mailbox delivery of their unwanted and wasteful promotional material in Maleny.
'Obi' with a trolley load of Woolworths junk mail bound for their reply paid address.
||Our campaign for social and environmental justice on the Obi Obi Creek bank in Maleny was reflected in the wonderful Fire Event ceremony at the Woodford Folk Festival in SE Queensland which heralded in the New Year. A beautiful cane and paper giant platypus image (created by Maleny local Emma McDonald) and a giant shopping trolley featured in the show.
|Recent expressions of discontent in Maleny. The Woolworths supermarket is still festering on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek. This is on land gazetted as "Open Space" in the Caloundra City's Development Control Plan!
||Local residents (including Obi) appeared at the Caloundra City Council chambers to view a council session in which the Mayor was being questioned about the release of the findings of the Probity Audit into "wheeling and dealings" in relation to land acquistion around Maleny.
CD Launch Raises Funds for our Campaign
7 Oct 2005
An innovative music CD full of recipe songs has recently been launched in Maleny by Paul Lawler & The Just Desserts. The CD, A Taste of Good Music, is being sold via the internet with a strong anti-Woolworths message thrown in. Paul is no stranger to our cause, having attended many of our rallies in Maleny, often with strongly worded banners.
Show your support for our supporter by visiting Paul's "Peculiar Hand" website today. Oh, and while you're there, why not order a copy of the great CD and help support our cause, and it makes a great Christmas present too!
For Maleny locals, the CD is also for sale at the Maple St Co-op.
Find out more at the Peculiar Hand website.
(Monument to Corporate Greed) growing taller on "Open Space", next to the Obi Obi Creek, as designated by the Maleny Development Control Plan!
6 Oct 2005
Higson vs Boyle
was heard in the Supreme Court
on Sept 22.
AN environmentalist launched a Supreme Court campaign to keep Woolworths out of town has been told by a judge that the case has some merit and to return when he formulates a full legal argument.
|Students Study Maleny Situation
Young Film-makers from Indooroopilly State High have been in Maleny making a film about the protest. They caught up with some of us at the Kiosk a couple of weeks ago filming the exchanges between the tourists and local protest supporters.
We find that many students, ranging from primary school to university, are researching this community's battle with Woolworths.
||Keeping the Message Fresh
This group of concerned community members express their displeasure of the lack of ethics of the Woolworths monster.