Thursday 21st of October 2021

WalMart down under

What's making Maleny so angry?

Because we're being bullied by powers that appear to have the law of the land and the fine print on their side and seem determined to continue with a development that defies morality. Oh - and there's the platypus, of course.

Maleny's a small town with a small main street, a decidedly quirky mix of people and a growth problem. We've put up with slash and burn development and some pretty thoughtless planning and even a traffic problem that would put Sydney to shame.

Put up with it all as we seemed to have no say in the matter.

But when Woolworths anounced they were going to build a supermarket at the entrance to town - right on the Obi Obi Creek (degraded no doubt but still iconic for those who care about these things) a few of us shook our heads in suprise. No way. Neither Council nor the EPA nor Main Roads would allow this sort of madness to proceed - or would they?

Well, yes. Council planning had (accidently?) turned the block from open space to special use, EPA wrung their hands and did nothing and Main Roads missed the deadline to get their submission on the development to Council.

Holy cow! So many small bungles in such a short space of time! While looking for some way to counter what we still thought was a bad joke, a couple of platypus stuck their heads up out of the waters of the Obi on the site and started to frolic and play around and mate as platypus do.

And so it came to pass that a short video of a decidedly weird creature became the focus of a campaign to stop Woolworths building on the Obi Creek.

Because - their development would entail digging up platypus burrows ('They'll move elsewhere' said the Minister for the environment).

Because - people couldn't empathise with our arguments of how destructive Woolworths is to the economy of a small town.

Because - not even the intelligent people really understood the enormous traffic problems this store would cause in the bottle neck that is the entrance to town.

Because - Woolworths did a really pretty artist's impression to show how attractive their great big concrete box would be right smack bang at the entrance to town.

Because - when push came to shough, the media were more interested in the platypus than any of the above. We held meetings. We got various bigwigs from Woolworths and their developer Cornerstone to come and talk to us. We took them to the Land and Environment Court and lost hands down. Things went quiet while we all simmered.
Then, in April 2004, Cornerstone got sick of us complaining and sent in the Dean Brothers to clear the site. And do they clear a site! That magnificent Bunya on the creek (not quite legal to take that down but...), that old fig on the bank down the back...anything and everything they could chain saw or knock over with a Kato was taken out. And the police had to be there in force to 'maintain the peace' while they did Woolworth's bidding.
Brave Daniel climbed up the last remaining Bunya on the site and lived there for 3 months as we argued with an increasingly grumpy Cornerstone.
A little camp grew up on the site and we dug in for a long fight.
We still had common sense on our side - it was simply the wrong site for the wrong sort of store for our town. And surveys showed that most people didn't want it anyway. All that aside - we also had a very clear law on our side - it is illegal to knowingly injure platypus or destroy their habitat. And there are platypus living and breeding in the footprint of their building. 
What we didn't (and don't) have on our side is any sort of State government support. First the Minister decided this wasn't a 'significant environmental area'. Then she decided the platypus were quite capable of moving elsewhere. The latest is that the bank is all rock and there are no platypus anyway. Damn! How delusional are we? Even the goddam police have seen them there in the morning. Oh - sorry - didn't mention the $35,000 a day police presence that allows the builder to get his heavy machinery into the site each day...
So why are we mad? Buggered if I know, we must be just a touch on the tetchy side.
The pylon holes have been dug, concrete trucks hum in and out of the site while we sing and cry and wave our impotent banners at the workmen. The media, at first kind of sympathetic to our cause, have started to turn Woolworth's friendly (why would that be?) and we seem to be fighting a losing battle.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a supermarket. Our 'We won't shop there' stickers and badges are selling right around the country. A documentary's being made. Barristers and others are coming to our aid and - futile or not - our battle seems to be stronger than ever.

They're scraping away the earth where the burrows lie and the last Bunya pine in Bunya St, Maleny will soon be dead but we're actually past being angry - we're planning the next phase of our battle against the corporate bullies. The platypus, wherever they are tonight, would approve, I am sure.

Visit the web site

the real wal-mart .....

And on the real Wal-Mart …..


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It is at the heart of what is shaping up to be one of the largest - & most important -national grassroots efforts for social change in recent history. More importantly, this is an invitation for you to participate in this grassroots campaign by hosting a
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We must demand change from Wal-Mart.


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Please visit to join us & host a screening by signing up. Pick a day that is most convenient for you - don't worry about the details; when we get closer to November, we'll be back in touch.

Not Walmart

It's not Walmart that's the problem, it's the way in which the government subsidises it.

... SBS shown it?

Is this the same doco that screened a couple of month ago on SBS? Exposing the tactics of cheap bargains to entice people through the doors but products are not really cheaper further inside the store? Is it the story with most products incoming from China, as multi-national and local manufacturers were being imposed below-production-cost wholesale prices by Wal Mart? Is this the story where most local manufacturers of good quality products had to close down while the cheap import from China were lower quality and slightly lower retail? If it is, organise as many viewing as possible and see how the trade deficit (between 60-86 billion dollars a MONTH in the US created by this sort of tactics) we are planning for ourselves with Johnnee's Freed Trade Anathema with China... Then go out protest in the streets and do not buy from these or similar stores (Maleny... Here they come!). Buy more expensive better home-made quality and only organically grown stuff supplied stores.... Lest start a new chain of little stores called "The Natural Stores" with good Aussie products exclusively... As coops if it must.... And slowly reverse the ugly accelerating trend of mass merchandising which could turn many of us into failed merchant bankers on the dole...


There was a small item on the 7:30 report last night, or the night before about Maleny and the Woolies building.

It showed two sides to this issue rather than just the one side which dominates discussion of the issue. The bit I found interesting was the long time resident of the area who made it clear that he accepts change but the more recent town dwellers seemed to think that time can stand still for them.

I'm no supporter of Woolworth's as it seems to me their whole strategy is to wipe out competition so they can then control pricing. Longer term strategy. This concerns me greatly as they are gradually gaining monopolies on a range of markets.

The damage to small business in Maleny should be the major, if not only, issue yet those seeking to deny the building seek any reason to try and stop the store being built. Platypus issues were of no interest to anyone until the building became inevitable. As such they are seen as petty rather than dedicated to an issue.

It is the residents of Maleny who should have the say, through their local council, on what is built in their town. Not the rest of us who may have never been there and never will.

If their council agreed to it then the council should be the focus of the anger and resistance.

Letter of boycott

What follows is a letter of boycott which is being distributed through some green/community rights groups. It is normally addressed to the manager of the local store, but in this case we've put the CEO on it.

Mr Roger Corbett
CEO and Managing Director
Woolworths Limited
Level 5, 540 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Dear Sir,

We are writing to express our dismay at the decision by Woolworths to proceed with the construction of a supermarket at Maleny on a site which is a valuable wildlife habitat and home to native platypus. If you have not been fortunate enough to see one in the wild, this unique Australian marsupial can be seen on the face of our twenty-cent coin, which may be the only place the residents of Maleny will be able to see them in the future. Most of the town does not want this supermarket, or any other, particularly on this environmentally fragile site

To show our disapproval at Woolworths’ total lack of concern for the environment and the highhanded manner in which the company has proceeded with this development without proper community consultation, we intend to express our opinion in the only language which your company seems to understand, MONEY. In future every shopping day for our family of four will be a “No Woolies Day.

I think, you need to revise

I think, you need to revise one little point in your comment.

It was the 'Dean Brothers' who cleared the site... but they just were paid for it... the real people who cleared the site in the background are different.

Since our country was made the 51st state in the US Union... lots of things are happening here, which don't make sense... except in ONE way:

And that way is... we are unable to fight against the other 50 States... cos we are being sold out by our Governor, and unfortunately the people of this 51st State can't or won't see it, let alone speak up against it :(

So I reckon until we learn, where the real enemy is, and how to defeat him... we might find Platypus one the day on a McDonalds advertisement.

Platypus Double Burger... only $ 9.11... I think the governor of the 51st state would buy the first one.


You are all welcome to visit and take part in SoapBox  to discuss this and related issues.

Proud of your Platypus?

Some rich psychopath might make a fat purse with the skin of the slow moving platypuses flattened by the bulldozers in the creek... Don't laugh... Then they will even deny there were any in the first place... or will argue they must have been too sick to move habitats... Tragedy no new inhabitants will ever know... Unless you make proper graves from one of national emblems... Talk to Australian Geographic... the platypus is their emblem... They might not want to rock the boat but on the other hand...

Crap Population's the problem

I visited Maleny a few weeks ago and had a look at the proposed site whilst there. I immediately dreaded the thought of the new development and thought to myself that I'm glad I don't live anywhere particularly special as some rich bastard would soon be there to bugger it up.

 The trouble isn't really the rich bastards though. It's our good old Aussie population, quite happy to destroy every last non-human on our continent if this will guarantee constant supply of endless congeries of cheap plastic junk (even happier to join in the murder of tens of thousands of foreigners to smooth supply of petrol for their unmudbesmirched SUV's).

If there was a decent chance that the local population would stay away in droves, the customerless store could be forced to close in months. But 'the bastards' know that this won't happen, because they know our corporate-trained population (thousands of honourable exceptions like yourself notwithstanding) just don't care. So they build.