Thursday, April 27, 2006

An exhaustive consultation process? with who?

An article in this week's Mail states "a spokeswoman for the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator defended its decision, saying it was the end result of an exhaustive consultation process".

Who was this consultation with, how many citizens in the Shire of Yarra Ranges knew about it, what did they get to contribute to the debate?

An exhaustive consultation suggests we all knew about it, we all had an opportunity to respond - but we didn't.

I encourage you to write to the OGTR and ask them about their exhaustive consultation process, I certainly will be.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"the shire is being unreasonable"

I'm pleased to report that the National Nine News has picked up the gmo rose story and it featured on tonight's bulletin. Reporter Wayne Dyer said "Florigene says the trials are perfectly safe, the shire is being unreasonable and doesn't understand what the test involves".

Florigene have shown a complete disregard for our community by running this trial when we have clearly articulated that we are a GMO FREE SHIRE.

How many times before have we heard a GM trial is perfectly safe only to find there has been dire consequences as a result of manipulating the gene pool.

Florigene are 98.5% owned by SUNTORY, the massive Japanese multinational. I urge you to protest by hitting SUNTORY where it hurts - their hip pocket. Boycott SUNTORY products, write to the OGTR, Minister Abbot, your local pollies, Florigene, Suntory, Australian Roses.

It is time for your voice of disapproval to be heard.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The lure of the dollar

It is just the lure of profit that motivates the pursuit of the blue rose? I think so.

When Australian Roses in Silvan agreed to run the trial for Florigene Ltd were they aware of the considerable community concern regarding the introduction of Genetically Manipulated organisms in the Shire of Yarra Ranges?

What did Australian Roses do to investigate this matter fully? Good corporate citizens take into account the views of their community. Good corporate citizens do not put at risk their community, their environment or their industry.

We do not have the knowledge or the
wisdom to tamper in such a
fundamental way with nature.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Is it happening as we speak?

Is the Genetically Manipulated Rose trial already underway? Are Australian Roses in Silvan making sure there is no gene flow from the rose, no insects coming and going from their greenhouse?

How will the gene flow be controlled from an outside compost heap? What will happen to the compost? Will it be disposed of? How are contamination issues being handled?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The word is out...

Already, only one day after I addressed council and the community about the blatant disregard the OGTR has shown to our environment and agricultural industry, I've received cc'd copies of submissions slamming the decision to approve the GM Rose Trial.

The word is out and as the community discovers the facts I am sure these submissions are the first of many more.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Another Leadbeaters Possum gone

The 28th March, 2006, a sad day, as it saw the demise of the second last Leadbeaters Possum at Healesville Sanctuary, it was part of the breeding program.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges is very priviledged to have this wonderful little creature living here naturally (our state fauna emblem, no less!).

It made me realise how important it is that I do as much as I can to preserve the native habitat of this tiny endangered species.

The Importance of the Green Wedge

The Shire had some applications outside the Urban Growth Boundary causing me concern as we were asking the Planning Minister to amend the planning scheme to accomodate the applications. My view on Green Wedge is very rigid, these zones were put in place to protect and enhance the biodiversity, natural resources, scenic landscapes and heritage values of the land and to promote sustainable land management.

I felt the new council would have a different view about applications in Green Wedge areas than the prior council. So I put the following motion:

That Council write to the Minister for Planning confirming its strong support for the consistent adherence to the Urban Growth Boundary and Green Wedge principles.

Accordingly Council advise the Minister for Planning that it no longer supports him proceeding to authorise it to prepare and exhibit planning scheme amendments in respect of:
Ÿ Land at 134 Victoria Road Lilydale to be used for a funeral parlour.
Ÿ Land at 89 – 91 Monbulk Road Mount Evelyn to be used for a 2600 (sic) seat auditorium and associated church related facilities.

Furthermore, in respect of the request to amend the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme to use and develop land at 38 Bell Street, Yarra Glen for a supermarket and specialty shops, that Council wishes to advise the Minister that it still proceed with the exhibition of the amendment but will require that the exhibited proposal is fully contained within the Urban Growth Boundary.

I'm pleased to report that a majority of councillors supported the motion and by doing so council sent a clear message about how important Green Wedge is.

I have been overwhelmed by the letters of support and kind words from constituents in relation to my stand on Green Wedge, the response from the community confirms that this is what they want for our Shire.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Logging Application

First council meeting for 2006 saw councillors consider a logging application in Hoddles Creek. The application was to log 99 hectares of native vegetation in an area where flora and fauna is rare and endangered. Council voted unanimously against the application to a standing ovation in the public gallery. I knew at that point I was making a difference in our local community and heading in the right direction.

The applicant is appealing a "failure to determine" at VCAT and the first day of the hearing is set down for 5th June, 2006 - World Environment Day. I couldn't think of a better way to spend World Environment Day than by making sure I attend the hearing as a show of support to our community and to fly the flag for the environment.

An introduction - why a blog?

I'm Samantha Dunn, I was elected as the endorsed Greens Councillor for the Shire of Yarra Ranges in November, 2005. I represent the Lyster ward covering Sherbrooke, Kallista, The Patch, Belgrave, Belgrave South, Tecoma, Selby, Menzies Creek, Narre Warren East, Lysterfield and Belgrave Heights.

I have started a blog as a different way to connect with the local community. I'm interested in your views, the Dandenongs are a unique environment, we face a lot of issues that are different to metropolitan Melbourne and hopefully this blog will keep you informed and me informed of what's happening at a local level.

A quick rundown so far....

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