Supporters

Key Stakeholders and Supporters

‘No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges’ Campaign:

The campaign to keep McDonald’s out of the Dandenong Ranges and to stop the corporation from building their outlet in Tecoma, Victoria is made up not only of local residents, but also of key stakeholders, and prominent Australian and international figures. This list includes: politicians from both major political parties at the local, state and federal levels; local schools; health experts at the local, state and national levels; environmental conservationists; prominent legal experts; academics; national and international well-known figures and foundations; and unions. This is the list to date but it will keep growing with more supporters speaking out publicly.

List of Key Supporters Referenced:

1. Notable Australian and International Figures and Organisations:

  • Corporate Accountability International, an organization aimed at stopping corporate abuse with a 35 year history, based in the USA. They work directly with global governing bodies to achieve their vision. The organization has official relations with the World Health Organization, Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is an official observer to the Secretariat of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control.
  • Stephanie Alexander, OAM. Chef, author and founder of the Kitchen Garden Foundation, Medal of the Order of Australia and Centenary Medal recipient. Her foundation has received over $18 million in funding from the Australian Government to put her program into schools across Australia.
  • Jamie Oliver and The Ministry of Food Foundation Australia
  • Morgan Spurlock, Academy Award Nominated Director of the documentary Supersize Me, Producer, TV Presenter.
  • Genevieve Morris is an Australian actress best known for appearing on the popular TV comedy series Comedy Inc. She is also a local resident and created a video on the campaign to keep McDonald’s out of The Dandenongs.
  • Daniel Merriweather is an award winning and chart topping Australian R&B recording artist. Singer-Songwriter and an ex-resident of the Dandenongs and has been an outspoken and active supporter.
  • Robert John “Bob” Maguire AM, RFD ‘Father Bob’, Australian Catholic Priest, media personality, community worker and social activist. Commonly known as “Father Bob”, Maguire was awarded the Order of Australia in 1989.
  • Suzanne Johnston, An award winning world renowned opera star and principal artist for Opera Australia and state opera companies for over 20 years.
  • Missy Higgins, award winning and chart topping singer-song writer, musician and actress;
  • Rachel Ward, Hollywood cinema and TV writer, director and actress and Member of the Order of Australia “for service to raising awareness of social justice through lobbying, mentoring and advocacy for the rights of disadvantaged and at-risk young people, and support for the Australian film and television industry;
  • Dave O’Neil, Australian comedian and TV and radio personality;
  • Damon Gameau, award winning Australian television and film actor;
  • Joan Baez, American singer-song writer, released over 30 albums;
  • Bob Brown, Former Senator and Greens Leader and Founder of the Bush Heritage Australia and the Bob Brown Foundation;
  • Cr Simon Richardson, Mayor of the Byron Shire;
  • Janet Rice, Greens Senate Candidate for Victoria;
  • Steve Meacher, Murrindindi Citizen of the Year;
  • Rod Quantock, Iconic Australian Comedian;
  • Dave Rastovich, Australian professional surfer and founder of Surfers for Cetaceans;
  • Ash Grunwald, Australian blues musician;
  • Mat McHue, Australian artist;
  • Mona Heck, Naturopath and Author of the popular Book, “The Lunch Box Revolution”;
  • Green Peace, The enviornmental organisation;
  • Michele Simon JD MPH, Author, speaker, and public health Lawyer;
  • Martin Anderson, Former BBC journalist, CFA Digital Media Manager. 2012 Australian Govt Innovator of the Year;
  • Bill McKibben Author, Educator,Environmentalist and Founder of 350.org;
  • Gratton Wilson, Former CSIRO Physicist and Politician;
  • Debra Tranter, ‘Ocsar’s Law’ organisation Founder;
  • Chelsea Roffey, Australian Football League (AFL) umpire and named one of Australia’s most influential people by ‘The Age’ newspaper in 2012.

2. The Government from all Sides of Politics, at all Levels: Local, State and Federal:

  • The Yarra Ranges Council
  • Cr Samantha Dunn – Lyster Ward, Yarra Ranges Shire Council
  • State MP James Merlino
  • Federal MP Laura Smyth
  • Federal Candidates for La Trobe district

3. Local Schools and Organisations:

  • Tecoma Primary School
  • Tecoma Pre-School
  • Tecoma Village Action Group (TVAG)
  • Save the Dandenongs League (established 1950)

4. Health Experts at the Local, State, and National levels:

  • Local GP, Dr. Dennis Gration
  • Senior Lecturer in Pediatrics at the University of NSW, Dr. David MacDonald
  • Senior Policy Advisor for the Obesity Policy Coalition, Jane Martin
  • Community Health Nurse, Shakti McLaren

5. Environmentalists/Conservationists:

  • Murrundindi – Wurundjeri Nation ngurungaeta. Tribal leader of the Melbourne region indigenous people.
  • Southern Dandeongs Land Care
  • Friends of the Earth (FOE)

6. Prominent Legal Experts on the conduct of McDonald’s:

  • Maurice Blackburn, one of the largest social justice law firms in Australia. Defending “The Tecoma 8″ protesters pro bono.
  • Robert Richter QC, who specialises in criminal and human rights law.

7. Academics:

  • Dr. Kerin O’Dea, Professor of population health and nutrition, The University of South Australia
  • Dr. Beryl Langer, Honorary Associate in the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University.
  • Dr. Elissa Sutherland, Lecturer in Economic and Social Geography, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
  • Dr. Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University

8. Unions:

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). It is Australia’s main trade union in construction, forestry and forest products, mining and energy production. The CFMEU has offices in all capital cities in Australia and in many major regional centres. The Union has over 140,000 members in total and employs around 400 full time staff and officials. Construction workers become members of the CFMEU Construction and General Division in the state or territory in which they work. This includes both on-site and off-site construction workers.

  • Australian Workers Union (AWU) is Australia’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union representing over 135,000 working men and women and their families. The AWU started in 1886 representing shearers and miners and today we have grown to be Australia’s most diverse union representing workers in the manufacturing, steel, aluminium, glass, oil & gas, aviation, agriculture, construction, state public services, local government, health, plastics, hospitality, food, paper, resources, aquaculture, events and racing industries
  • Australian Services Union (ASU) has 120,000 members from across Australia. Their website describes them as “the Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union, trading as the Australian Services Union or, just simply, the ASU, and it is one of the largest trade unions in Australia. Formed in 1993 as an amalgamation of a number of unions, including the FCU, the MEU and the MOA, the ASU operates in areas as diverse as local government, energy, water, public transport, airlines, shipping, travel, ports, social and community services, information technology and the private sector clerical and administrative area”.
  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) have a membership of over 230,000.
  • National Union of Workers (NUW) is a union from a wide range of industries including: Food Services, Food Manufacturing, General Manufacturing, Cold Storage, Pharmaceutical, Poultry,Warehousing and Distribution,Market Research and Call Centre,Sales, Marketing and Merchandising, Dairy and Cheese Making, Oil, and Defence Logistics.

Key Stakeholders and Supporters Statements of Support:

1. Notable Australian and International Figures and Organisations:

  • Corporate Accountability International, an organization aimed at stopping corporate abuse with a 35 year history. They work directly with global governing bodies to achieve our vision. And have official relations with the World Health Organizationk, Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and are an official observer to the Secretariat of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control.

They have been awarded recognition for their achievements, including:
*Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, from the Institute for Policy Studies, 1982
*Oscar for Best Documentary: Short Subject, “Deadly Deception,” from the Academy Awards, 1992
*BENNY Award, from the Business Ethics Network, 2006
*Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control, from Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2012
*World No Tobacco Day Award, from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), 2012

They posted this statement about the proposed McDonald’s development in Tecoma on their Facebook page and included the petition, encouraging their followers to sign, stating:

“McDonald’s is building next to an elementary school in the small town of Tecoma, Australia, despite public outcry from residents. Here’s another of many examples of McDonald’s marketing to kids and undermining the personal choice of parents and communities. “SHARE” if you stand with communities across the world and the #momsnotlovinit (and dads, too!).

  • Stephanie Alexander is a chef, restaurateur, and food writer. In 1994 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia and in 2001 she received the Centenary Medal. Crikey.com named Stephanie Alexander “The most powerful person in food” (August 30th, 2012). The Australian Government initially committed $12.8 million over four years in the national roll-out of Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden National Program. Last year, she secured an additional $5.4 million in federal funding, and the kitchen garden program will be in 10% of Australian schools in the next three years. The Australian Government stated the “focus of the program is for primary school students to learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food in the belief that this approach will provide a better chance of positively influencing children’s food choices”. There are currently 324 schools that have her Kitchen Garden Program to date.

She sent a letter to the campaign stating,

“Like many others, I was dismayed to hear via the television that the wishes of your community to oppose a McDonald’s store in the rural township of Tecoma were ignored…To site such an outlet so close to a school and in a locality chosen by many to lead a life closer to nature seems to be completely contrary to the best interests of the community”.

  • Jamie Oliver has been showing support through social media, sending messages to his 3 million+ fans on Twitter to sign the petition. His organization, The Ministry of Food Australia sent this statement of support:

“We congratulate the community of Tecoma on being standout advocates for ongoing health and wellbeing and we send our best wishes to you in your efforts to maintain such a special and beautiful area”.

  • Morgan Spurlock, Academy Award Nominated Director of the documentary Supersize Me (outlining the health problems associated with McDonald’s food) has been using social media to support the campaign. He has sent many tweets on Twitter, including a video of a protest in Tecoma, ‘liked’ the No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges page on Facebook, and asked fans to sign the petition.
  • Genevieve Morris is an Australian actress best known for appearing on the popular TV comedy series Comedy Inc. She is also a local resident and created a video on the campaign to keep McDonald’s out of The Dandenongs.

In her video she states;

“…I chose to live in the Dandenongs because of the beauty of the area, and the fairly untouched nature of small towns like Tecoma. I’m extremely concerned that by allowing a McDonalds to be built here, it is not only historical buildings that will be destroyed in the process, but the very fabric of what makes this area unique.
There are already McDonalds restaurants only a 10 minute drive away in Ferntree Gully, Boronia and Rowville. We have a good selection of restaurants and take away food shops in Tecoma that are small businesses who would surely face financial hardship if they had to compete with McDonalds…I really hope that common sense prevails and that this community is respected and listened to, as we are the ones who will have to live amidst the consequences…”

  • Daniel Merriweather, an award winning and chart topping R&B recording artist is an ex-resident and has been a big supporter, posting comments on his FB page and using Twitter to urge his fans to sign the petition. Hollywood.com reported on his support in their article, DANIEL MERRIWEATHER JOINS CAMPAIGN OVER HOMETOWN FAST FOOD JOINT:

“Australian singer/songwriter Daniel Merriweather has thrown his support behind a campaign to stop bosses at fast food giant McDonald’s opening a super-sized restaurant close to a local school. The Change hitmaker, who grew up in an area close to Melbourne, has joined local residents of Tecoma in their battle to stop a giant McDonald’s eaterie from opening in their neighbourhood. A petition has been launched to oppose the restaurant’s planned location next to a school, and Merriweather has urged his fans to add their signatures. In a post on his Twitter.com page, he writes, “Help my home town by signing this petition… Let’s tell this multinational corporation to burger (sic) off.” A statement posted alongside the petition on Change.org reads, “McDonald’s plans to build a huge 24/7 store and drive-through in our town… demolishing local iconic buildings on the site and ensuring it goes directly opposite the kindergarten and school… Every day, kids as young as five years old would need to walk past a giant advertisement for junk food just to go to school… Our community doesn’t want that. The plan is opposed by 90 per cent of residents… “If McDonald’s win this fight, it’ll break our hearts.”

  • Robert John “Bob” Maguire AM, RFD ‘Father Bob’ Australian Catholic Priest, media personality, community worker and social activist. Commonly known as “Father Bob”, Maguire was awarded the Order of Australia in 1989. Father Bob tweeted his support for the campaign to stop McDonald’s from building in Tecoma on Good Friday just before CNN picked up the story Easter Sunday, causing a Twitter frenzy.
  • Suzanne Johnston, An award winning world renowned opera star and principal artist for Opera Australia and state opera companies for over 20 years wrote this statement to the campaign,

“Tecoma vs McDonald’s represents nothing less than a case of corporate thuggery from a multi-million dollar company which can afford to ride rough-shod over the will of the people and their elected council representatives. Democracy is a right which cannot and must not be sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed.”

  • Gary Young, Iconic Australian rock musician of Daddy Cool and Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons fame, wrote, performed, and recorded 6 songs specifically for the No Maccas in the Hills campaign.
  • There are also numerous other well-known figures in the public eye who have spoken out about their opposition to this development. TV and Radio personalities, politicians, journalists, sports personalities, musicians, artists, actors, scientists, politicians, and other public figures have demonstrated a wide range of support by way of: giving commentary on news programs and articles, signing the petition, Tweeting the petition, Making posts of Face Book, posing for photos with the ‘no McDonald’s’ symbol, and sending emails of support.

These include:

  • Missy Higgins, award winning and chart topping singer-song writer, musician and actress;
  • Rachel Ward, Hollywood cinema and TV writer, director and actress and Member of the Order of Australia “for service to raising awareness of social justice through lobbying, mentoring and advocacy for the rights of disadvantaged and at-risk young people, and support for the Australian film and television industry;
  • Dave O’Neil, Australian comedian and TV and radio personality;
  • Damon Gameau, award winning Australian television and film actor;
  • Joan Baez, American singer-song writer, released over 30 albums;
  • Bob Brown, Former Senator and Greens Leader and Founder of the Bush Heritage Australia and the Bob Brown Foundation;
  • Cr Simon Richardson, Mayor of the Byron Shire;
  • Janet Rice, Greens Senate Candidate for Victoria;
  • Steve Meacher, Murrindindi Citizen of the Year;
  • Rod Quantock, Iconic Australian Comedian;
  • Dave Rastovich, Australian professional surfer and founder of Surfers for Cetaceans;
  • Ash Grunwald, Australian blues musician;
  • Mat McHue, Australian artist;
  • Mona Heck, Naturopath and Author of the popular Book, “The Lunch Box Revolution”;
  • Green Peace, The enviornmental organisation;
  • Michele Simon JD MPH, Author, speaker, and public health Lawyer;
  • Martin Anderson, Former BBC journalist, CFA Digital Media Manager. 2012 Australian Govt Innovator of the Year;
  • Bill McKibben Author, Educator,Environmentalist and Founder of 350.org;
  • Gratton Wilson, Former CSIRO Physicist and Politician;
  • Debra Tranter, ‘Ocsar’s Law’ organisation Founder;
  • Chelsea Roffey, Australian Football League (AFL) umpire and named one of Australia’s most influential people by ‘The Age’ newspaper in 2012.

2. The Government from all Sides of Politics, at all Levels: Local, State and Federal:

  • The Yarra Ranges Council unanimously voted against the development.
  • Cr Samantha Dunn – Lyster Ward, Yarra Ranges Shire Council made this statement:

“I am the local councillor for the Tecoma and I have been living and breathing this issue since McDonalds first met with the Yarra Ranges Council in February 2011. After following the application through to the council meeting, where I put up a refusal motion, which received unanimous support from councillors, I became part of the community campaign to prepare for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal appeal. McDonalds decided to appeal council’s decision, a decision made by the democratically elected local representatives. Myself, the Tecoma Village Action Group and community members spent countless hours, meeting week after week to coordinate the efforts at VCAT, an enormous effort it was.

It was a dark day for all of us when we got the news on the VCAT decision, to approve this development in Tecoma. What this has highlighted to me more than anything is the flaws in the appeals system. A system where community aspiration doesn’t come first, not even second, a system where the community’s voice continues to be disregarded.

It is wrong that this application with its 1,090 objections to council, 670 community members attending the council meeting, 330 objectors through VCAT fails to even be a consideration of the tribunal when they have the power to make the decision, a decision that will change the township of Tecoma forever. That is the system, but that is not democracy.

When I put up a refusal motion to council back in 2011, I presented 15 different grounds of refusal, the community spent 3 days telling tribunal members hundreds of reasons why this development was not appropriate for this site in Tecoma. There are plenty of reasons why this is a bad outcome for Tecoma.

The community is strong in its resolve to protect what’s special to the people in the Dandenong Ranges. They have great passion and commitment to our community and our region. I know them well, they have elected me three times since 2005 to be their local representative, they have an enormous connection and love of the place they call home as do I. I have no doubt they will continue to make their presence felt and never stop fighting to keep McDonalds out of Tecoma”.

  • Victorian Planning Minister Mathew Guy has publicly stated in a radio interview that VCAT “got it wrong” in their decision to over-ride council and allow the development.
  • State MP James Merlino is a key supporter and has stated on his website that the VCAT decision to allow the development was “a disgraceful decision and in no way takes account of the huge weight of opinion against this proposal”. He goes on in great detail to outline his opposition to the development.

“What may be appropriate in a fully urban environment is simply not appropriate in an area such as the Dandenongs. People live in the Dandenongs and tens of thousands of tourists visit the Dandenongs precisely because the area is not another suburb of Melbourne. The issue here is one of precedence. If we have a McDonald’s in Tecoma, there is nothing to stop a KFC being established in Belgrave, a Hungry Jack’s in Kallista and another McDonald’s in Monbulk. Before we know it, the Dandenongs will be littered with these fast food franchises, which is exactly not what the majority of the residents of my electorate want and not what Melbourne, interstate and international tourists who visit the hills want.”

  • Federal MP Laura Smyth is a supporter of the campaign.

“I think that the VCAT decision on McDonalds at Tecoma was a poor decision. I think that it was unrepresentative of the views of the broader community about a development that is inconsistent with residents’ expectations and wishes for the local area. I was also disappointed that Council didn’t feel that it could appeal the decision further. The issue is essentially a planning and State Government issue, but I’ve expressed my views locally and have been down to the site like many other residents in the area. I’ve also been prepared to speak with representatives of McDonalds on the issue if they are willing to engage. “I think that beyond the McDonalds decision itself, there’s a case for looking at the way that VCAT accounts for the opinions of local communities in reaching decisions on planning matters. I had always thought that VCAT was intended to be a forum through which people who may not be able to afford legal representation could have their say on matters affecting them – and be heard. It doesn’t seem to me that VCAT is achieving that goal.”

  • All Federal Candidates for La Trobe district who responded to a journalist at nofibs.com.au were opposed to the development. In addition to Laura Smythe (sitting MP), these included:
  • Former MP and Liberal Candidate, Jason Wood who stated

“In regards to the Tecoma McDonald’s proposal, having lived in the Dandenong Ranges all my life, including 17 years in Belgrave, I am personally opposed to a local McDonald’s development as in my view it goes against the character of the Dandenong Ranges”

  • The Greens’ Michael Schilling said McDonald’s was an inappropriate development in the Dandenong Ranges.

“The community said no. I believe McDonald’s should respect the rights of the community and respect the integrity of the community. McDonald’s should not go ahead.
“I’ve visited the site to hear the protester’s views on it and to give them moral support. I’ve also supported the campaign via social media.”

  • Democratic Labour Party candidate Rachel Carling-Jenkins outlined her concerns for local businesses and her worry that if McDonald’s development went ahead, other big fast food chains would follow.

“The DLP believes that too often, small businesses and the local communities supported by these small businesses, are ripped off by big business.

“I want to see healthy local economies develop in the LaTrobe electorate which are built on small businesses and will promote buy-local campaigns.”

3. Local Schools and Organisations:

  • Tecoma Primary School Council (VCAT submission):

“Our objection to the proposed development is based on three areas that we believe the proposed development will have an adverse impact on our school, namely:

*Traffic Congestion, Parking & Safety;
*Graffiti, Vandalism & Litter
*Local character & amenity”

  • Tecoma Pre-School (Committee of Management for Tecoma Preschool submission to VCAT). The Tecoma Preschool Committee registered their objection to the proposed development of McDonald’s in the immediate vicinity of the Preschool. The Committee objected to the proposal on the grounds of traffic congestion and hazards to families, litter, detraction from the amenity of area, and raised concerns after receiving feedback from parents who would not sent their children to the preschool if McDonald’s was across the road.

The VCAT submission stated

“If the development proceeds and this becomes a common occurrence, the viability of our Preschool will be questioned by this development”.

  • Tecoma Village Action Group (TVAG) is one of many Township Groups throughout the Dandenong Ranges working to make their township a better place to live and work. They are an incorporated not-for-profit registered organisation. TVAG is a member of the Shire of Yarra Ranges Township Groups Network. They have been very active in opposing the McDonald’s development in Tecoma following a process of extensive community consultation. They made a submission to VCAT to oppose the development and have had a very active role in the campaign to stop the development.
  • Save the Dandenongs League is a not-for profit community based organisation that advocates for the protection and restoration of the Dandenong Ranges as a natural asset for all time. It was established in 1950. The League’s Aims and Objectives are: To work for the preservation of the historical and natural beauty of the Dandenong Ranges as a national asset for all time. The League is a non-sectarian, non-party, nonprofit making organisation. Save the Dandenongs League submitted an objection to the McDonald’s development to VCAT and has spoken out publicly in the media.

4. Health Experts at the Local, State, and National levels:

  • Local GP, Dennis Gration teamed up with prominent Senior Lecturer in Pediatrics at the University of NSW, Dr. David MacDonald to oppose the development.

In a Medicare Local article, Dr.MacDonald stated that

“There is impressive epidemiological evidence that close proximity of fast food restaurants to schools may increase the obesity rate in children attending these schools”.

The article cited the National Health Strategy that states that “prevention is everyone’s business-and the government has called on all levels of government, peak organisations, health professionals and practitioners, communities, families and individuals to play their role in preventing chronic disease and making Australia the healthiest country by 2020″.
Senior Policy Advisor/Executive Manager for the Obesity Policy Coalition, Jane Martin, is also a supporter of the campaign, and regularly speaks about it in her public engagements. She is committed to building the evidence to support legislative and policy reforms to restrict the marketing of unhealthy food to children. Jane is currently a member of the Australian NZ Obesity Society’s Public Health Committee, the Leadership Advisory Group of the Victorian government’s Go for Your Life program, the Victorian government’s Body Image Committee, and the Parents Jury Steering Committee.

The newspaper The Herald Sun published an article written by Jane Martin where she outlined the current flaws in the planning system in the state of Victoria which are counterproductive to the state’s health initiatives to address obesity:

“The protests around the opening of a McDonald’s outlet in Tecoma illustrate Victorians’ concern at the encroachment of fast food chains on their communities. It is surprising then that local councils which want to oppose the establishment of such outlets in the interests of health are effectively powerless to prevent it under Victoria’s current planning laws.

The density of fast food outlets in Victoria has increased significantly in recent decades, serving meals that often are energy dense with higher saturated fat and salt than meals prepared at home. Obesity and overweight rates in Australia are high, affecting about 60 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children.

As a result, a big proportion of our population is at increased risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. To combat that, Australian governments have introduced initiatives to prevent ill health, including the Healthy Together Victoria program with an investment of $100 million over nine years.

The scheme recognises that local governments are ideally placed to lead programs to influence health in their communities, including targeting the underlying causes of chronic disease such as poor nutrition and physical inactivity. Those are important steps towards improving health at the community level, however the situation in Tecoma shows that efforts made by local government to improve community health can be undermined by the present Victorian planning scheme.”

The Obesity Policy Coalition (The OPC) was established by:
• Cancer Council Victoria
• Diabetes Australia – Victoria
• Vic Health
• World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University.
The OPC made this media release about the McDonald’s development in Tecoma case triggering a need to reform planning laws:
Planning Act Puts Victorians’ Health at Risk
Monday 15 July, 2013
Community protests in the Dandenong Ranges against the development of a 24-hour McDonald’s fast food outlet highlights the urgent need for potential health impacts to be considered in planning decisions, according to the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC).
The OPC is calling on the Victorian Government to act on recommendations of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Environmental Design and Public Health tabled in May 2012 which include:
• Incorporating protecting health as an objective of Victoria’s Planning and Environment Act
• Commissioning further research on health impacts of fast food outlets on communities
• Developing a planning mechanism for local councils to limit fast food outlets in communities

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says the events unfolding in Tecoma in the Dandenong Ranges highlights the issues associated with the powerlessness of local councils and concerned communities to oppose fast food outlets on health grounds.
“At a time when more than 60% of adults and 25% of children in Australia are overweight or obese, councils and communities should be allowed greater influence over the density and location of local fast food outlets to try and encourage and support their communities to eat less unhealthy food,” said Ms. Martin.
“Research tells us that a high concentration of fast food or take away outlets can influence unhealthy food choices. “As Victoria’s planning system currently stands, the ability of councils to intervene in the development of a fast food restaurant and to act on community concerns is very limited,” she said.
“The Environmental Design and Public Health Report tabled in Parliament in 2012 included several key recommendations to help address these issues. The Government hasn’t yet acted on the recommendations, but the problems are only increasing, as indicated by the case of Tecoma.” Providing measures to support local communities to oppose the development of large fast food chains such as McDonald’s is important for a range of reasons, according to the OPC.
“Chain fast food outlets sell huge volumes of food, representing 44% of foods eaten outside the home and much of this is unhealthy. According to a recent study of sales at multiple McDonald’s outlets, only 1% of orders were for the healthier options,” said Ms. Martin.
“This volume of sales means they are able to sell their products very cheaply, undercutting local businesses and making them more attractive than healthier food options. “Of course the bigger chains also spend hundreds of millions of dollars marketing their products, not just through traditional advertising, but via sports and event sponsorships, movie tie ins, point-of-sale promotions, and increasingly through cheap, highly targeted social media platforms,” she said.
“It’s imperative for health to be included as a consideration in planning schemes and decisions going forward. Federal and State Governments are pushing for councils to create healthy environments for their communities with initiatives like Healthy Together Victoria, which focuses on healthy food and physical activity. They now need to give councils the legal backing to be able to deliver this.”

  • Community Health Nurse, Shakti McLaren, has worked in Health Promotion for over 25 years and has published author of health promotion (Australian Journal of Health Promotion and Talking Health) and conference presenter at various conferences including Victorian Rural health. Ms. McClaren also opposes the development and shares the concerns for the health of the community. She has been an active campaigner to stop the McDonald’s development and has written submissions to council to amend current planning to include the considerations of community health in regards to fast food developments.

5. Environmentalists/Conservationists:

  • Murrundindi – Wurundjeri Nation ngurungaeta (Tribal leader of the Melbourne region indigenous people and regularly conducts cultural education programs in pre-schools, primary and secondary schools throughout Melbourne. Healesville Sanctuary nominated him for a reconciliation award in 1997).

He wrote a letter of support to the campaign stating:

“I’m a great believer that the environment should stop the way it is. I’m sick and tired of big companies coming in on our land, and desecrating our land with junk foods. This land is a very spiritual land, where my ancestors roamed for thousands of years. I have seen, over the last 60 years of my life, the land going backwards because of European settlement and their way of life. We should all go back to basics, respect the land as our mother who gives us the resources to live and to survive from.”

  • Friends of the Earth (FoE) are the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 76 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. They have over 2 million members and supporters around the world, they campaign on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. They state they “challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies”.

Friends of the Earth (Melbourne) have supported the campaign in many ways: they organised 2 days where reprentatives came up to be on the community vigil at the site, promoted the change.org petition, posting updates on the campaign on their social media and are working on a statement for the campaign to distribute. They wrote this statement to the campaign;

“There are many reasons why Friends of the Earth supports the community campaign against the proposal for a McDonalds outlet at Tecoma:

The community has clearly indicated, by a large majority, that it does not want a McDonalds. The company should respect community sentiment. The Dandenong Ranges are an environmentally sensitive area that should be protected from inappropriate development that would diminish the environmental and recreational value of the Hills.

The outlet is planned for a small suburban shopping strip, where it will dominate the streetscape and generate large volumes of vehicle traffic at all times of the day, with resulting risk to residents and potentially adverse impacts on existing businesses. Such an outlet would not be in keeping with the cultural or visual identity of the local streetscape, the backdrop of shopping strip – the southern face of the Dandenong Ranges. The presence of a McDonalds outlet would compromise the National Trust Registered Sherbrooke Forest landscape.

Apart from concerns about the physical location of this outlet, there are a range of broader concerns about the business model employed by McDonalds. The company relies on the use of high volumes of single-use, generally non-recycled, and non- reusable food and beverage containers. Apart from the unsustainable nature of these types of operations, there can be little doubt that litter that will find its’ way onto local streets where some of it will potentially be washed into creeks and waterways”.

  • Southern Dandenongs Land Care is a division of Land Care Australia Ltd, which is a national network of thousands of locally-based community groups who care for the natural resources of Australia. Landcare partnerships range from corporations to individuals such as farmers and landholders, community groups, regional networks, youth groups, schools, business, industry and local, state and federal governments. There are more than 4000 community Landcare groups, 2000 Coastcare groups and many thousands of volunteers across the country.has written this statement about their concerns for wildlife and the enviornment if the Tecoma McDonald’s store was built:

“Clause 21.09 of the (Victorian) State Planning Policy Framework identifies the Dandenong Ranges as an environmentally sensitive area that should be protected from development that would diminish the environmental and recreational value of the Hills. The presence of a McDonalds outlet would compromise the National Trust Registered Sherbrooke Forest landscape. It does not reflect the cultural identity of the local community.
The Dandenong Ranges have the largest rate of environmental volunteer participation in the whole of Melbourne who are working, and have worked for many years, to restore, protect and enhance the natural environmental values that provides habitat for unique fauna, as well as a beautiful natural aspect for residents to live amongst and enjoy for recreation. The site of proposed outlet for McDonalds is located within the Monbulk Creek and Ferny Creek catchments and less than 1 km from the creeks themselves. Both of these creeks are crucial to the health of the local environment. There are several nationally vulnerable and threatened species including Platypus, Lyrebirds, the Powerful Owl and the Yellow-bellied Glider and many species of bats and other nocturnal animals dependant on these catchments for their survival.
The business model of this particular multi-national convenience restaurant operation is intrinsically geared to making sales of product as easy and as ‘convenient’ as possible for customers. This means heavy reliance on very high volumes of single-use, non-recyled, non- reusable food containers that are intended to be taken off its’ premises. This magnifies the likelihood of collateral litter that will find its’ way onto our streets where it will be washed into our creeks and waterways. As well as increasing the untidiness of Tecoma, this type of litter actively damages the sensitive environmental values that are a part of the town.
The all-night operations of a large take-away business will have a disruptive and negative impact on these creatures. The lights and noise will disturb their breeding behaviour, their calls to their mates and offspring and their efforts at navigation. The nature of a convenience restaurant will also attract increased numbers of feral pest animals such as rats, foxes, cats and dogs that will hang around looking for food scraps at night, creatures which are known to prey on our nocturnal native animals.
Further concerns regarding the presence of a McDonalds outlet on this site are the increased siltation of creek through poorly managed stormwater runoff during construction and post building because of hard surfaces which increase velocity of storm water; increased incidence of oil and other vehicle fluid spills due to increased automotive use of area; increased potential exposure of diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey to off-target poisoning as a result of McDonalds pest animal management (poison baiting of rodents)
In summary, the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group reject the building of a McDonalds outlet in Tecoma due to major concerns of the negative impact it will have on the sensitive environmental values of the Dandenong Ranges.
Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group Inc.
PO Box 1294 Upwey Vic 3158
www.sdlg.org.au ”

6. Prominent Legal Experts on the conduct of McDonald’s:

  • Maurice Blackburn, one of the largest social justice law firms in Australia, said the legal action and tactics being used by McDonalds Australia to stop protesters are an affront to civil liberties. Maurice Blackburn is acting pro bono in this case because peaceful protest is fundamental to civil rights and democracy.

Malcolm Cumming, principal lawyer said

“The orders sought by McDonalds, particularly as they apply to the representative group, are so broad they could apply to people who do not even know they are of subject them. On top of this, protesters have to watch every move they make on social media.”

The orders are intimidating for a broader group than just eight protesters. They bind an ill-defined class of people, and are structured in such a way that, if successful, could have significant implications for community protests. This is an enormous, well-resourced company, which is notorious for fighting its opponents in court.”

  • Robert Richter QC, who specialises in criminal and human rights law, pledged his support in The Age newspaper (Oct 29th, 2012). ‘‘I think it’s appalling that they’re trying to build a McDonald’s in a fabulous rural area’’.

7. Academics:

  • Dr. Kerin O’Dea, Professor of population health and nutrition, The University of South Australia, was interviewed on the national radio program “The Wire” she said “fast food outlets are built in places where they think “they will get a lot of custom and target children”. She expressed concerns about having close proximity of fast food outlets to schools. “I think it is very important that local people do have a say in the development of their own local areas…”.
  • Dr. Beryl Langer is an honorary associate in the School of Social Secience at La Trobe University. She wrote an article in The Age newspaper, “Corporatocracy Killing Grassroots Democracy”. In this article he discussed the case of the McDonald’s development in Tecoma. He stated:

“The current standoff between protesters and developers at Tecoma is a prime example. Yes, the VCAT decision to allow McDonald’s to proceed with their plan for a 24/7 franchise in the Dandenong Ranges was legal, but it lacked legitimacy in the eyes of the community. A consistent theme in published interviews with protesters relates to their sense of democratic outrage. Their elected local government refused McDonald’s application for a permit; 90 per cent of surveyed residents did not want McDonald’s in their town. Unsurprisingly, people feel cheated when an unelected tribunal rules in favour of a global corporation over the wishes of local government and the community it represents. It might be legal, but it doesn’t feel ”democratic”. Nor does McDonald’s resort to legal action feel ”just”.

While McDonald’s is legally entitled to initiate court action against the ”Tecoma 8”, the asymmetry of money and power leaves people feeling that the law is being used for corporate bullying. The possibility of risking the family home to pay legal expenses deters even the most determined community activist. It is certainly ”legal”, but it is not experienced as ”just”, and when people lose faith in the legitimacy of social institutions, social cohesion is damaged. Naive as it may seem, ordinary people like to think that citizens in a democratic society are equal before the law; McDonald’s versus the Tecoma 8 does not feel like ”equality”.”

  • Dr. Elissa Sutherland, Lecturer in Economic and Social Geography, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University, made this statement of support to the campaign:

“The Dandenong Ranges and Tecoma, in particular, have a unique Australian character that is threatened by the McDonalds development there. Surrounded by natural bush land, most of which is designated as National parks, the area is both visibly green, populated by a rich and diverse indigenous flora and fauna as well as by a human community aesthetic that is decidedly conscious of its spectacular environment. This is not just another suburban context where retail strip malls are the epicentre of human existence. In Tecoma and its surrounds, the trails and bushwalks, tourist sites for viewing the native birds, lookouts that offer spectacular views over surrounding hinterlands are instead where people most routinely meet and mingle with each other and Australian nature.

There is not a single McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, KFC or Red Rooster yet in the area and the locals and local Council had intended to keep it that way so as to maintain the unique character of the hills community. These well-known fast food icons are common to the majority of Australia’s suburban landscape, but not yet the Dandenongs. These fast food establishments are commonly found agglomerated on major road intersections in suburban Australia such that when travelling from one State, city or suburb to the next, it is often very difficult to distinguish places from each other.
This homogenisation of Australian place and culture such that a ‘geography of nowhere’ is created cannot be undone. However, in the Dandenong Ranges this has not yet come to pass. This development has become iconic of the David and Goliath fight of local people and place struggling to maintain their unique character and dignity in the face of the steamroller of multinational business that has homogenised and devalued our local places.

The majority of residents and the local Council voted against this development but was overturned by a State administrative Tribunal that has limited understanding of the local context. Yes, ‘The Law’ is currently on the side of McDonalds, but morally, McDonalds is on very shaky foundations. If good business requires connection to local people and environment, then surely this development is not beginning on the right foot.”

  • Dr. Peter Singer Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, CA. In 2004 he was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year and in June 2012 was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to philosophy and bioethics. He serves on the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, the NGO formed to develop the Health Impact Fund proposal. He was voted one of Australia’s ten most influential public intellectuals in 2006. He tweeted to his 38,700 followers that he signed the campaign’s petition and referred his followers to the petition. He wrote this statement for the campaign:

“Beef is a major factor in cancers of the digestive system and cattle raising is responsible for a large proportion of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. McDonald’s is promoting a diet that is a disaster for our planet and the health of those who eat it. I support efforts to promote healthier and more sustainable ways of eating.”

8. Unions:

  • The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). It is Australia’s main trade union in construction, forestry and forest products, mining and energy production. The CFMEU has offices in all capital cities in Australia and in many major regional centres. The Union has over 140,000 members in total and employs around 400 full time staff and officials. Construction workers become members of the CFMEU Construction and General Division in the state or territory in which they work. This includes both on-site and off-site construction workers.

CFMEU assistant secretary Shaun Reardon reported to ‘The Age’ newspaper that union workers would stand by residents until their concerns were addressed.

”The people of Tecoma have the right to protest over inappropriate developments in their community and the CFMEU will be showing all due respect until their issues are resolved.”

  • Australian Workers Union (AWU) is Australia’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union representing over 135,000 working men and women and their families. The AWU started in 1886 representing shearers and miners and today we have grown to be Australia’s most diverse union representing workers in the manufacturing, steel, aluminium, glass, oil & gas, aviation, agriculture, construction, state public services, local government, health, plastics, hospitality, food, paper, resources, aquaculture, events and racing industries

“The AWU Victorian Branch supports the right of the people of Tecoma to protest the building of a McDonald’s in their township. The fact that this massive multi-national corporation has chosen to terrorise the so-called ‘Tecoma Eight’ with Supreme Court action which threatens unspecified but potentially personally catastrophic repercussions, speaks against the friendly image it seeks to promote in its ‘family restaurants’. Any notion of corporate responsibility includes community consultation, which has obviously not happened here. The people have sent an overwhelming message which should be heeded, and not overwhelmed by corporate might. “

  • Australian Services Union (ASU) has been a key supporter of the campaign, has supported the blockade at the construction site and posted this statement on their website:

“ASU supports Tecoma community in opposing site for fast food chain

The ASU supports the right of the Tecoma community to oppose development. The ASU is an affiliate of the VTHC*. The VTHC resolved to support the rights of the Tecoma community to protest against inappropriate development. This resolution is supported by the ASU.

In Tecoma, passionate local protestors are committed to preventing what they see as inappropriate development. Their actions affect the development site both in terms of access and egress from the site. It follows that the site would not be a safe environment for workers. The ASU do not believe that it is reasonable to put workers in the middle of such a heated debate. The Victorian Government must take a proactive approach to resolving this dispute. It should convene a meeting of the local council, the local MP, the developer, the VTHC and representatives of the protest group. The ASU fervently believes the parties should be working towards a resolution acceptable to the overall community.”

*VTHC = The Victorian Trades Hall Council. It is a representative body of trade union organisations, known as a Labour council, in the state of Victoria, Australia. It includes 60 affiliated Trade Unions and Professional Associations, and eight Victorian regional Trades and Labour Councils.

  • Australian Nursing and midwifery Federation (ANMF) has a membership of over 230,000. They have posted messages of support with links to the campaign’s petition on their FB page. The organization posted this message, “The petition opposing a 24-hour McDonald’s in Tecoma has reached almost 86,000 signatures. Many nurses and midwives are supporting this campaign are are arguing a fast food chain opposite a primary school is not in the best interests of this community”.
  • National Union of Workers (NUW) is a union from a wide range of industries including: Food Services, Food Manufacturing, General Manufacturing, Cold Storage, Pharmaceutical, Poultry,Warehousing and Distribution,Market Research and Call Centre,Sales, Marketing and Merchandising, Dairy and Cheese Making, Oil, and Defence Logistics. They have provided a lot of support, initially helping with a petition and even hosting a BBQ for the 4,000+ person protest march. They have posted their support on their website, including this statement:

“NO MACCAS COMMUNITY PROTEST

The community of Tecoma is in the Dandenong Ranges, 40 kilometres east of Melbourne, with a population of 2085 residents.The Dandenong Ranges are where Melbourne’s eastern suburbs meet the mountains and forests.

Protected parklands and National Parks preserve the natural beauty of this area, which includes valleys and hills covered in thick temperate rainforest and dense ferny undergrowth. It’s also home to NUW members who are trying to defend their community from a multinational corporation that seems to think that community members have no say in what happens in their community.
Nine out of ten people have said no. VCAT has said yes.

People organised in communities should have a say over what happens in their community, just as workers organised into unions should have a say over their workplaces. These struggles are intertwined in our people’s history”.

Share Page

75 thoughts on “Supporters

  1. Aimee

    I grew up in Tecoma but now live in the country. All my thought and prayers are with everyone who is fighting this. When I visit melbourne again I will be sure to join the fight. KEEP STRONG you can do it

    Reply
  2. Christian

    Hope you guys get your way. I don’t live in the Mt.Dandenong region but aspire to, one day. I don’t want the area spoiled by the time I get there!

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. albert

      Keep up the fight, it is important to stand up against bullies. Mc Fatties bully their way into sights all over the world destroying the ambiance and visual scape of towns with their loud ugly signs dominating the view.

      Reply
  3. watusi

    As an American who is squarely in the middle of the carnage that fast food brings, I’ll go a bit Aussie and say Good on Ya!
    Fast food is the cause of the rampant obesity I see every day. And I’m not being hypocritical, I do not eat fast food simply because it makes me physically ill. As a result I eat a lot of fish, rice, vegetables and fresh fruit.
    I am often struck by pictures of my parents ( in the 40′s and 50′s) and no one was fat.

    Good luck with your fight and I hope it’s a trend that catches on!

    Reply
  4. Dale Locke

    Congradulations! Keep up the great work. As a former employee of McDonald’s in Newfoundland, Canada, I know that are a money hungry corporation, who only want to make people fat and unhealthy.

    They want profits and only profits. Yes they say they help the local communities, however, look at the rate of pay they give their employees. The bare miminum, not enough to support their families. It’s no wonder they have a very hard time getting local employees. Here in Newfoundland, they are bringing people in from overseas…Phillipines…are a prime example. People who do not know any better.

    Thank you and good luck

    Reply
    1. lainie

      Thanks for your support. My dear friend Sarah lives in Newfie she plays roller derby as Tassie Devil.we willkeep fighting as long as it takes

      Reply
  5. Tahlia C

    Hey all, that was a great march unfortunately I couldn’t come but I know it would’ve been heaps of fun.
    Me and my lil bro walked past the site today and I got soo angry I swear I could’ve knocked my bro out with a single punch!!
    I wish my dad would let me get Facebook so I could contribute more, see ya’s

    Reply
  6. Christie Heart

    Thank you Burger-off Campaigners!

    What an excellent website.

    I am a proud and grateful ‘Hills’ resident. You will find my name on your petitions, I’ve crowded along with you in council chambers, I’ve marched with over 3,000 fellow hills residents, I have the album, I even bought a Tecoma Gnome! I love this area and my community dearly. And that’s just my effort. I’ve done little next to the hard working team behind this campaign.

    My question is: How much must a community do, to make its wishes heard?

    I’ve been given an assignment task for the politics subject I am studying at uni (Bachelor of Social Work at RMIT University). The essay question is:-

    “Some groups and individuals exercise undue influence which undermines the key principles of Liberal Democracy. To what extent do you agree?”

    How much do I agree??? Just let me get started!

    I’ve chosen the Burger-off Campaign as my study focus.
    This is one assignment I will really enjoy.

    Thanks again

    Christie Heart

    Reply
  7. lynda r

    As a student of nutrition I spend days trying to gently prise people away from this sort of food and to get them to appreciate a home cooked meal eaten with family or friends where you know just what went into it because you put it there with love. I feel humbled and extremely grateful that we have people in this community who are prepared to give so much to fight this. Just getting Maccas into a meeting shows they must be wavering. You have so much support. Keep up the fight and we’ll support you all the way.

    Reply
  8. Rod

    My wife and I grew up in Upwey, started a family and our daughter goes to tecoma p.s. If I had of know this was going to happen I would never have enroled her, our son will not be going there if McShit is moving in, I can already see the broken glass that goes with drinking and mcshit in the PS after hours – what will happen when we start to find mcshit wrappers and used bongs or even syringes in the kids play ground? All you need to do is look at the surounds down at the maccas in FTG or Boronia to mess and the trouble after hours. This is not why we live here, we along with many are not tree hugging hippie just down to earth people looking for a cleaner living – might put a hold to the renos save the money and consider moving a little further out if/when this goes through. Although it will be very interesting should this go ahead to see what the insurance premiums are on the place and who would have the balls to work there- the pay rate would want to be very high. People of all ages are against this? how many people could be evicted from thier homes if everyone stops paying there rates? Strength in numbers will hopfully turn things around.

    Reply
  9. Ross Savvas

    We remember our trips to the Dandenongs and its beauty when when we lived in Victoria. Now we live in Adelaide with family in Tecoma. I am amazed that VCAT can ignore community wishes and that McDonalds are stupid enough to think that this absurd development is not an example of corporate bullying. Keep up the good work and let’s hope McDonalds go away!

    Reply
  10. Diarmuid Hannigan

    I dealt with Japans largest family restaurant chain for 8 years. They referred to Mcdonalds as Mc Die. Never a truer word has been spoken. A Mcdonald`s in Tecoma will only promote fast unhealthy food in the area. It will also destroy the existing food outlets who are family owned businesses who provide relatively healthy food most of which is locally sourced for the community. Mcdonald`s is connected to a global network of food suppliers who`s motto is cheapest is best and the quality and nutritional value of the food takes a back seat. By allowing a Mc die into the area will only assist foriein food importers at the expense of local growers. An added bonus will be the closure of some small family owned businesses and will increase the incidents of A.D.D cases in the community. No wonder the community is upset about a corrupt decision handed down by a VCAT Commissioner (Lawyer).

    Reply
  11. John May

    Good on you Tecoma. Fight them every step of the way. It’s your town and a pretty one at that. Obese residents and rubbish on the streets are two of many things you don’t need! Go for it!!

    Reply
  12. Ivan Juric

    I live in the outer North Western Suburbs. There are two McDonalds within five kilometres of me. These two outlets (note I don’t use the word restaurant) are magnets for hoons. Their cars quite often make turbo noises and the vroom vroom v8 noises through the night. They behave in anti social manner. They do burnouts and skids through the night. Aggressive behaviour towards law abiding drivers. Litter all over the roads. I find it blissful visiting the Dandenong Ranges. Once the skanky fast food outlets start to flood the area I will find another place to visit. It would be sad to see this happen.

    Reply
  13. Amy

    good luck everyone!!

    having traveled so many iconic places in the world and seen them all start to look the mcsame, i love to see a community that outright rejects such a disgusting, sugar laden, fat-filled, streamlined producer of mcrubbish.

    i truly don’t understand the argument that it provides jobs for youths – the whole set up of mcdonalds is to create mass output for as little cost as possible – it makes no economic sense to look at it as a benefit to a community. yes they hire young people, that’s so they can pay youth wages. meanwhile small local businesses which keep money local are forced to gradually close down, putting family bread winners out of work. what about THEIR kids??

    good luck in your fight! a beautiful place like the ranges should not become yet another dumping ground for the mcrubbish that ALWAYS surrounds those places.

    Reply
  14. Howard Duncan

    A copy of an email sent to Minister Guy this afternoon is below.

    Hello Matthew,

    In 2010, a developer made an application to the Barossa Council to construct a McDonald’s in the town of Nuriootpa. The development was non compliant with the Council’s Development Plan and was referred to the Council’s Development Application Panel. They believed that the development had some merit and opened the application to community consultation. Both the developer and the community made representations to the Council’s Development Assessment Panel. I was part of a group of local residents who investigated the planning issues at hand, and prepared a submission to council requesting permission for the development be declined on the basis it did not comply with the Council’s development plan. Following consideration, the Development Assessment Panel deemed the development was both non compliant with the current plan and not of sufficient merit to warrant a change to the plan. That was the end of the matter, the developer (under SA government planning provisions) had no course for appeal as the State Government has processes in place to ensure these matters can be fairly addressed at a local level.

    In the instance of the development at Tecoma, McDonald’s were able to appeal to VCAT and have the local decision overturned, leaving Council’s only option to be an potentially very expensive appeal to the Supreme Court. Despite both Council’s and the greater majority of local residents (+90%) opposition to the development, it was allowed to proceed only because McDonald’s was able to abuse its position as a large multinational corporation with significant legal and financial resources. Goliath had a bigger rock…and David was well aware he was not frightened to use it.

    There are two issues at stake here. Firstly, the current structure of planning approvals in Victoria strongly favours developers because they have the resources to be able to spend their way to get the decision they want. Secondly, it is plain for all to see that the development is unwarranted, is not suited to the area, will irreparably alter/ damage the quality of life of local residents and is not supported by the local residents and council. Simply put, it shouldn’t happen.

    Whilst you may be hide behind the defensive lines currently afforded you by the planning appeals process in place in Victoria, you cannot keep your head in the sand and ignore the fact that this development is only proceeding because McDonald’s was able to use the resources at hand to continue to participate in the development assessment process, whilst the Council and local residents could not. This must change to ensure that good planning prevails…which is planning for the whole community, not simply those with bigger rocks to throw than others!

    Cheers

    Howard

    Reply
    1. saithroth

      What a constructive informative post Howard. Well put. It brings a tear of joy to my eye witnessing such community bonding over this issue. Stuff you mccrap. You greedy american sycophants.

      Reply
  15. Ian A

    Fantastic effort by Tecoma residents to try and preserve the very special, unique, beautiful environment that they live in. You are a beacon to other areas also trying hard to ensure that where they live does not become another bland suburban landscape. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  16. Trevor Soar

    I have lived in Upwey for over 25 years and dred the thought of a Mcdonalds in the hills,how many stores do these people need. Tecoma is the gateway to the beautiful Dandenong Ranges and we will not drive trough a set of golden arches to get there.

    Reply
  17. Aldo

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!

    I wish all of the protestors the best and to keep doing what their doing!

    never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in

    Reply
  18. Leesa

    So proud of you Tecoma and people of the Dandenongs! We lived up there for 17 years, just around the corner from the proposed sight of the Mcdonalds, moved away two years ago. I can’t stand the thought of a Mcdonalds in the beautiful, unique Dandenongs. Thank you for defending the hills! What Mcdonalds didn’t count on was coming up against the strong community, that is the people of the Dandenongs, people who love this area with a passion. My thoughts are with you. Amazing effort by you all! Well done!!

    Reply
  19. ken bulkeley

    As a medium term (20years) resident of Upwey I’d like to say thank you to Mark Lawrence and all of the passionate people of Tecoma and surrounds in their endeavours to keep this multinational brand from our doorstep. I see this as a totally inappropriate site for a McDonalds drive through 24/7 with traffic snarls bad enough as they are already. Litter will be spread thoughout the hills and local children will be at risk on the roads. Please keep up your fight and I wish you all the very best.
    Ken Bulkeley.

    Reply
  20. Liz Kemp

    Congratulations on a well organised protest. Keep up the good work of behalf of the lovley hills community.

    Best wishes and hope for success!

    Reply
  21. Notch

    As a long-time Dandenongs resident, I am concerned that the presence of evil fast food corporations like Subway and 7-11, or other multinationals with a history of destroying the environment like BP or hegemonic corporations who shut down and crush farming communities like Woolworths would be allowed into Tecoma and Belgrave. I say keep up the fight to stop places like this entering the hills.

    Reply
  22. Adam

    I love that the Tecoma community is standing up against this appalling decision by VCAT. The tide is starting to turn against big business and weak government that supports it without question. You have a lot of support from afar. Keep fighting the good fight!

    Reply
  23. Meg Yates

    “McGreed, when is enough ever going to be enough, why not promote more proper-gander and pressure mothers to wean straight onto thick shakes or better still not breast feed at all then you will have profited from the cradle to the grave!!!”
    The earlier the addiction to fat & sugar & the younger our children are exposed to signage, advertising & lies the more profit profit profit McGreed will make.
    This will be the generational screw over that will weave poison, lies and futility into the cells of our children, grandchildren & great grandchildren

    Reply
  24. Jean McVicar

    I live in Kallista and drive through Tecoma on a daily basis. The traffic at the moment is horrendous, particularly at school times and the people coming and going to work. You have to have your wits about you to negotiate getting through the town as it is.
    There are several problems I can forsee:
    (1) The Main Street is not able to cope with extra traffic and the traffic trying to get in and out of Maccas.
    (2) When Australia is portrayed as a world leader in everything to do with healthy living- what is our State Govt thinking in backing this powerful company to put a fast food outlet with all its powerful kids advertising across the road from a Primary School.
    (3) The litter this will bring even if McDonalds put a rubbish bin on every corner the town will be swamped with paper rubbish.
    (4) There is an established McDonalds in Ferntree Gully why do we need another one.
    (5) Is it so wrong to want to keep a little part of Victoria. namely the “Dandenongs” McDonalds free. We have many little businesses who meet the needs of tourists and residents alike.
    (6) People come for a drive “Up the HIlls” to take in the scenery not A Big Maccas Sign. They might as well stay home because it will take them hours to get through Tecoma.
    (7) I don’t have a problem with Maccas in general – that is a choice you make to eat it or not – but please think about 10 or 20 years down the track our great little gateway to “The Hills” will be just another Maccas stop. Please think about the future not the greed of this Company and I am afraid the greed of the Council who are putting money before its ratepayers wishes.

    Reply
  25. Anthony Simpson

    I think McDonalds fear the precedence this would setup if one community can say no. Orhers may be able to also.

    I hope and I know you will be successful in keeping them out.
    I say to McDonalds move on if you do not have the support of the community.

    Don’t use your money and lawyers to bully a community.
    We have enough McDonalds stores as it is in this country.

    The Victorian parliament should tighten where fast food is allowed.

    Good luck

    Reply
  26. Jolanta

    On Friday the 19th of July I was supporting “No MacD in the Hills” by standing for 1 hour in front of the site in Tecoma. So many cars were tooting, people waiving and smiling – it was easy to see how many locals (and visitors) are against this big company bullying us all. Only very few V8 P-platers were behaving aggressively- so easy to see what types are supporting maccas. We don’t want more of them in the Hills.

    Reply
  27. Anne Williams

    Have just heard the CEO of McDonalds Australia on 774 radio pleading their case. Obviously she has never been to Tecoma when she referred to traffic being able to access the site easily as it is on the Burwood Highway!!! Yes it is on the Burwood Highway but in Tecoma it is a two way, single lane road. I can’t believe that someone in her position hasn’t done her homework or could it be she really isn’t that interested. I live in Boronia and will make every effort to join the protest on Sunday. Hold fast Tecoma-this can be stopped.

    Reply
  28. James Emmett

    Really exciting to see so many people passionately standing up for their community and their beliefs!! Keep up the fight guys!!

    Reply
  29. Lunar

    Hi, I’m not sure on the laws behind slandering, but I was thinking with all this new creative space Maccas has provided with the hoarding maybe putting up huge flash cards/posters showing facts about Maccas would get attention to those who are not familiar, such as the amount of chemicals they use, the pay rate, an legal issues they have had, just big, straight to the point facts?

    Just an idea :)

    Reply
  30. David

    Hi, keep up the good work guys. Here in Malaysia, there is a McFat on every corner – and by pure coincidence we are, I am told, the most obese nation in Asia – which i can believe looking at people around me. I noticed that there are great sources of information about why McFat is bad news – here is my favourite:
    http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~eakharu/Negative%20Effects%20of%20McDonalds.htm

    I have a question – any chance of relocating the kindergarden?
    brgds
    david

    Reply
  31. Ange O'Brien

    McDonald’s extraordinarily ruthless, bullying and rapacious mission tramples over the rights of so many local communities. This is just another example of their disgusting tactics. I wholeheartedly support the good people and councillors of Tecoma and have Facebooked this subject for all it’s worth. I especially feel for the individual residents who bravely acted as bulwarks against this scourge and are now facing legal action for rightfully trying to protect their kids’ wellbeing and save the precious Dandenong ranges from turning into a clone of so many other urban wastelands. Keep fighting the good fight, Tecoma – you have thousands of supporters out there.

    Reply
  32. chris

    Really proud of you guys. Reminds me of the campaign to save the Gentle Bunyip 10 years ago. A 400 day picket. Be prepared for a long fight. You will win in the end.

    Reply
  33. Alysha

    I was brought up in Ferntree Gully and now live in London and I watch this issue very closely as I cannot imagine Mt Dandenong’s streets become covered in franchises that sell very bland food.
    London’s high streets all look the same as they have the same franchises and it’s so unappealing and boring.

    I am so proud of all the protesters and local residents. The story was in an English newspaper over here which is fantastic. I’ve signed and written online what I can in protest, but I would love to be there on the streets in Tecoma.
    Good luck to everyone involved in the campaign and I really hope that we win. The world really is watching.

    Reply
  34. Margaret

    It was absolutely fantastic last Sunday to see so many people participating in the march against MacDonalds in the Dandenongs. From the fence to the edge of the footpath and then to the middle of the road, the first of the marchers were at the proposed MacDonalds site in Tecoma and looking up the hill to Belgrave all you could see was this huge wave of people with crowds still coming over the hill and making their way to Tecoma. There must have been 5,000+ people marching. Great shame the television news reported “hundreds” of people instead of the true count of “thousands”. Is this because the television stations are frightened of losing MacDonalds advertising dollars? There was an absolute sense of community spirit with all the marchers and 9 out of 10 people tooting their horns and waving as they drove past, despite being caught in traffic chaos. Very disappointed in the way the police handled the traffic. They knew the march was scheduled to begin at noon and should have closed Burwood Road between Belgrave and Tecoma and rerouted the traffic through the back of Belgrave.

    Reply
    1. A. Jones

      What did you expect from the police – they get free McFood!

      I was at the march too, and it was very inspiring. Tecoma is not giving up.

      Reply
  35. Paul Atwell

    Corporations like McDonalds are facing worldwide condemnation because of their labour relations, exploitation of resources and anti democratic actions. You would think that they would choose to fly under the radar and not confront local community opposition but they are slow learning the lessons of the UK Mclibel action.
    The Tecoma / Dandenongs opposition is giving them a refresher course in what it means to undermine a communities Democratic values.
    Keep up the struggle, the longer it goes the worse the PR for the McDonalds Australian operations.

    Reply
  36. Helena Griffiths

    As I sip my green tea,
    from my hand-made ceramic cup,
    made from the ground in my hills back yard,
    I pull off my recycled ribbon from my dreadlocks,
    and ponder over my crystals;
    I chose to live in the clean air of the Dandenong Ranges,
    amongst the cleansing grounds of the eucalyptus trees,
    with the wildlife visiting me at my door.
    Will they understand the Maccas’ packaging
    cluttering up their land? The lack of visitors sharing and
    over seeing this pristine beauty, due to self neglect.
    With a foresight from experience,
    an intelligence that comes from discipline,
    that the land will need help, with action and words,
    before it’s too late. by Helena Griffiths

    Reply
  37. RL

    Very sorry to hear of bullying occuring in the digital media space around this issue.
    This is about the environment and community health, in an increasingly obese society we reside in.
    The town where I grew up still doesn’t have any fast food outlets and the residents would be in uproar if it happened too. I hope you WIN!!
    We live in a society with free speech. This doesn’t include harrassment. Disgusted.

    Reply
  38. Julian Garrett

    I am happy to put my name against this.

    Why do we need more of this in Oz. especially a place as beautiful as the dandenongs. This is something really worth fighting against – how much is too much for these companies. How low is too low for their wages, and how little is too little for one of the more picturesque parts of Victoria.

    Come on mcD’s – you are already a locust, don’t descend any lower. Leave this place alone.

    Reply
  39. Colin Murphy

    I think this is information that should be shared with the rest of the world. It’ll be good to shine a light on the situation. I am from Ireland , let’s see if we can get some support from there.

    Reply
  40. Dian

    Very proud of the stand taken by the Tecoma protesters. I live a kilometre from the local Mcdonalds and I keep getting their rubbish in my garden even though I live down a side street. Can you imagine what it will be like in the Dandenongs? Good luck to all the people involved in this protest. I hope you win. Why should a community be forced to have a junk food business in their community when they have demonstrated very clearly they do not wish to have this sort of business in their town. It is about time that people in government listened to the people who vote them into government, not big business. I will not be buying anything from Maccas in the future until they stop their bullying tactics, not that this is a big threat as I don’t eat it now.
    Keep up the good fight mates

    Reply
  41. Roger Kelly

    Stick to your guns guys!
    I’m proud of you all for standing up for democracy in your community. I wish more folk would get off their butt and take action.

    You are outstanding!

    Reply
  42. Kerry

    As a resident of Cockatoo, in the Dandenong Ranges, I am horrified at the thought of any large, ugly, corporate fast food chains which sell unhealthy stuff I refuse to call ‘food’, such as McDonalds, making it into the Dandenong Ranges, or into ANY community which has expressly said they are not welcome. Tecoma residents and Yarra Ranges Council did everything right as far as I can see, in opposing this development. Yet McDonalds has used its money and power to try to force themselves onto the community. Now they are using the Supreme Court to silence protesters, threatening them with huge financial loss, simply because McDonalds took a gamble in pressing on with this development in spite of the opposition, and is not willing to accept the consequential loss of income and costs associated with that risk. What are the Tecoma Community and other Hills residents to do, but EXACTLY what we ARE doing – trying to protect our Tecoma and the Hills, from an inappropriate and unnecessary development? This case threatens the right of communities everywhere, to determine the nature and culture of the area where they live.
    Tecoma residents simply want to protect their children, their way of life, their local businesses and the environment from a cancerous corporation that seems to live under the illusion that nowhere should be Maccas-free.

    It is time for Melbournians to protect our Dandenong Ranges and for communities everywhere to stand up for the right for communities to determine what is appropriate development in their area.

    Catriona Noble, as CEO of McDonalds, please have some humility, show some leadership, and some respect for communities, and LEAVE TECOMA AND ANY COMMUNITY WHICH DOESN’T WANT YOU, ALONE!!

    Reply
  43. Lee Smith-Moir

    Byron Bay somehow managed to stop the Maccas invasion.
    You shd talk to the folks up there to see how they did it

    Reply
  44. heather cooke

    T
    he majority are with you & hope that common sense & “democracy” prevail. You are all heroes.

    Reply
  45. Calvin Bowman

    As a former resident of Olinda I’m dismayed to see what’s happening in Tecoma. Don’t give up – there are many people out there in the ether who support you even though they can’t be there in person…

    Reply
  46. Christine Jackson

    How dare they even think about building a McDonalds in this beautiful little quiet village. I lived at the bottom of the Mt Dandenong ranges for many years and had much delight in driving up the mountain through Tecoma and Olinda. Always so happy to stop and linger through the little shops and have a lovely devonshire tea. How dare they even think of putting a McDonalds there. Stick your stupid clown where the sun doesn’t shine!!!!!

    Reply
  47. Jim McNabb

    McDonald’s will not let the people have there say to any proposed development, even when the people that we vote for the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council UNANIMOUSLY rejected the proposal.

    They use VCAT that disregards any ratepayers written objections and then bulldoze their way through Hills residents.

    I’m now calling on the Yarra Ranges Shire Council to put a TAX on each item sold from McDonald’s to pay for the cleanup of our Parks and streets from there rubbish, the Tax should pay the extra cost we will have in the hills to try to keep our environment clean.

    Reply
  48. Mark Rosenbrock

    Premiere Napthine, I am disgusted and horrified to find that – as it stands currently – people in this state have no rights at all, even when they stand together as a community with international support for their cause. To discover that we have no defending body against large corporation ( McDonald’s in this instance ). To discover that Ombudsmen and bodies such as V CAT and the Victorian police all seem to stand on the side of the dollar over community wants, children’s health, environment and public opinion. This state needs a government which stands for the people! Please be it in this instance and show us something to have faith in.

    Reply
  49. Rose

    I am concerned for the Police of Belgrave and neighbouring suburbs. They are loosing the respect of the community, and they are being humiliated.

    The morning of August the 6th saw 50 Police Officers deployed in Tecoma for the removal of a 24year old woman, armed with a ukulele. Many people feel that this is a little excessive, and a waste of a precious state resource. Photos were taken of Police with the caption “Are you ready to protect your free big macs?”

    Good, law abiding citizens should have a good relationship with Police, as they are the ones we call on when there is an emergency. I am concerned that an “us verses them” attitude is threatening a future friendship between Police and Dandenong Ranges residents.

    Whenever something bad happens in our society these days, people take to the internet; they vent their frustrations, and a week or two later they get back on with their lives. This is not one of those situations.

    The protest that is taking place is something we don’t see in our society anymore. It is old school, something that I have only read about in history books, and it is not going away anytime soon. Greatly underestimated the community spirit you have!

    The current situation is bigger then the origional argument, and things are only going to get worse. I say that as an observation, not as a threat. Things you can expect in coming months, should McDonalds be allowed to continue include many lawsuits relating to violence, trespassing and vandalism, investigations into Police conduct, and a lot of very happy, and gentle humans feeling sad because of a system that let them down.

    VCAT made a mistake in granting McDonalds a permit to set up shop in Tecoma, but that is okay. We are human, we all make mistakes from time to time, but it’s what we do next that really matters. I hope that pride or bribes are not getting in the way of doing what is right.

    What we really need right now is a hero, someone with power and authority to step in and revoke McDonalds permit. It is in the interest of the community, it is the democratic thing to do, and it will hopefully ensure a happy relationship between Police and residents for years to come.

    From Rose.

    Reply
    1. Kerry Furnell

      Thanks for your comment Rose :)

      From a personal point of view I’d like to point out that the relationship between the protesters here in Tecoma and the local police officers is actually pretty good. We spend the day laughing, joking and sharing stories of our lives. Some of the officers have neighbours, friends and even family relations who are protesting. The officers we see day in day out understand what is happening and feel for the community. Those protesters on site realise and appreciate this.

      Even when emotions are high this understanding is always there. Sometimes however the police become an easy target for those of us who are very frustrated and emotionally drained by this process.

      Our argument is not with the police, though there are still some questions to be asked as to why McDonald’s once again feel it is appropriate to bully their way into a community behind a line of riot police.

      We can only hope that what has happened in Tecoma, and Coburg before it, does not happen again.

      Reply
  50. Carolyn Tucker

    I just want to say well done to you all….!!!!!! It’s your town, your village, your community! As a community you deserve, and you are entitled to, the right to say what you want for your own community. Keep up the good work…… Shout it out loud…. “We say no to McDonald’s. Its our town and we dont want you anywhere near it! ” ……….It’s time McDonald’s listened.
    Coming from a small beachside village myself, I understand your protest, and I would do the same thing! I applaud you all…… Tell them to Bugger off!!?

    Reply
  51. Gavin Stuart

    What an absolute disgrace that the Yarra Ranges Council and VCAT could pass an application for a McDonald`s outlet in an area as pristine as the dandenong ranges. One can only surmise that this decision has monetary connotations attached somewhere in this extremely bad decision.Which is a disaster not only for the local people & businesses, but for the disruption and rubbish that will be dumped along the roads in the area around this outlet. Companies such as this have only one goal, and that is profit. To allow this company a foothold in our area is just the thin edge of a very nasty wedge

    Reply
  52. David Ruddy

    100% behind you.
    All communities should have the right of veto to what businesses set up in their community.
    McDonalds, no.
    Pokies, no.
    Late night alcohol trading, no.
    How else can we shape our community the way WE want it?

    Reply
  53. Helen

    Well done to the community in fighting this invasion from McDonalds. It will be in a completely inappropriate position & will add nothing to our community, rather it will detract. People talk about them bringing jobs but if it affects other small food businesses in the area then they will have to put off employees. Keep up the fight! Why should we accept this happening?

    Reply
  54. Rob Sparkes

    Catriona Noble. Why do you persist when it is clear that this type of development in this location is just wrong.
    Maybe you just dont get it.

    Reply
  55. tamara

    This is an amazing campaign! I moved to the Dandenong Ranges 2 years ago, and this is an absolutely amazing community to be living in!! Fantastic compilation of the results so far of the campaign!!

    Reply
  56. Jorgia Georgio

    I am a Tecoma resident. In fact I live only metres away from proposed site. I can see the bulldozers from my verandah ????
    I moved to Tecoma 3 years ago because I wanted to bring my children up in a beautiful country town environment. Tecoma had everything we wanted. The moment we drove through Upwey to Tecoma, it felt like we were no longer in “just another suburb”… The Dandenong Ranges ARE SPECIAL.
    Ever since McDonalds has PUSHED their way through my beautiful town, I have been impacted greatly. I have days where I question WHERE JUSTICE LIES? I am full of anger and sadness because EVERYTHING we moved here for is going to change ????
    My children will be exposed to a fast food chain everyday just by walking to and from school. The traffic, the speeding cars down my street. The litter!!! I already see so much McDonalds litter and that is with the closest franchise 5km away!!!!

    My home is so close that we will be subjected to McDonalds air pollution EVERYDAY!!! Yuk, yuk, yuk.
    Our rights to fresh country air will no longer exist… How & why is McDonalds ALLOWED to take away ALL THE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES of living in the Dandening Ranges?
    The value of my home, my lifestyle, my children’s l

    Reply
  57. someonefromholland

    Hello there,

    I found you searching for ‘stop mcdonalds’ because i hate mcdonalds. Last week i visited a mcdonalds (just to be there with my friends, haven’t eaten something) and the was a paper wich said: mcdonalds helps parents to learn their children make healthy choices (…).On fruity wednesday, you get a free slice of melon…
    …if you buy a happy meal

    Mc donalds is destroying us and the world we’re living in. It’s important to stop mcdonalds now and that’s why i supporting you on the other side of the globe. Maybe it’s a small step, but you will be an example for everybody to break the walls of mcdonalds’ “restaurants” down everywhere in the world.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Rod Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>