Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dont sell the Snowy

In what could be the last bastion of public ownership, there sits the Snowy River Hydro Electric Scheme. It is WRONG that the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales are even considering selling their shares in the Snowy Scheme. Congratulations to those pollies on the backbench who are voicing their dissent.

The decision to go ahead with the sale of the Snowy Scheme is short sighted, reaps little or no benefit for all Australians and puts our most precious resource, water, in a most precarious position. I urge all of you to contact your local pollie and voice your own dissent.

Time to brag???

Did you know there is a group called BRAG (Belgrave & Region Action Group) who came about to adequately address community concerns and properly represent the views of the People of Belgrave & district regarding relevant local and regional issues.

Are you interested in doing more for our community? If so BRAG could be a great way for you to get involved. They meet every month, focus on a triple bottom line approach and represent all facets of our community (arts, heritage, culture, youth, aged, recreation, flora, fauna, water, air quality, pollution, land use, commerce, tourism, planning).

If you think it's time to volunteer your valuable time to our community BRAG could be a great way to do it. If you'd like to know more email me at, I encourage you to give it a go, representing your community is very rewarding.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

GM Petition out now

Stage 2 of ridding our shire of the GM Rose trial has begun. The Shire is coordinating a petition which will be tabled in the House of Reps by Jason Wood, Federal member for Latrobe.

Copies are available at all community links and if you'd like a soft copy sent to you for broader or local distribution you can email me at

The petition.....



The petition of certain residents of the State of Victoria, including but not restricted to the Shire of Yarra, Ranges draws to the attention of the House the licence issued by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) that authorises trials of Genetically Engineered blue roses to take place in the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

The OTGR, auspiced by the Department of Health and Ageing, has issued licence number DIR 060/2005 to Florigene P/L a subsidiary of Suntory Corporation of Japan, for the release of three imported rose lines that have been genetically engineered to alter flower colour. The trial would continue in the Shire of Yarra Ranges until April 2009.

These trials would undermine the Yarra Ranges Shire Council’s GE-free policy which precludes the growing of genetically engineered organisms in the municipality. The policy was passed in 2001 with the popular support of most residents living in the shire. If the trials are allowed to proceed they would threaten markets for our top quality clean and green horticultural products, which depend on the shire’s GE-free reputation and may prevent growers from opening new markets, especially for organic produce.
Your petitioners therefore request the House and its individual members to take all measures within their powers to rescind the licence for trials of Genetically Engineered roses in the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Dandenongs, the sustainable place to shop

It is great to see the opening of another sustainable business in the hills. Over the past few years many small businesses have sprung up offering our community organic produce and products, clothing, free range meats and local organic eateries, shaping our region as a true organic hub.

The certified organic/sustainable market is growing considerably with demand for goods higher than production and this is reflected by the growth and vigour of these businesses in our region. (Growth in Australian organic production is estimated at 15% to 25% pa. Continuing growth is expected because of strong domestic demand and because Australia is in a good position to supply expanding markets overseas, particularly in Asia. - source: Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation)

The organic hub of the hills has been further enhanced by the opening of Local and Global in Belgrave, the first fair trade store in our region. I think there is a real marketing opportunity to capitalise on as we have so many sustainable businesses clustered in one region.

It's terrific to see so many businesses throughout the shire making sustainability their focus.

Monday, May 15, 2006

GMO - still on the go

Thanks to all the residents who have written concerning the trial of the GM Blue Rose. I have received many copies of letters of protest, if you haven't written to your local pollie yet please do (addresses on blog entry Say NO to GMOs 12/04/06).

Australian Roses told me that there are no GM roses on site (well maybe not now - but when???) , however in this extract from the OGTR it clearly states the roses have been genetically modified and will be trialled in our clean and green Shire.

The Gene Technology Regulator (the Regulator) has made a decision to issue a licence in respect of application DIR 060/2005 from Florigene Pty Ltd. The applicant has received approval for the limited and controlled release of three imported rose lines that have been genetically modified to alter flower colour. The trial will take place in the Shire of Yarra Ranges, Victoria, from March 2006 to April 2008, at a maximum of two sites on a total of 125m2.

Please write to the OGTR, local & federal pollies and keep posted for more updates.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

To burn or not to burn.....that is the question

If only it were that simple. Some would believe that because I am the Greens Councillor I will not even entertain the thought of burning off - this couldn't be further from the truth.

I certainly do recognise that burning off does create greenhouse emissions, as well as poor quality air for residents in the Dandenongs. However on the other hand we live in one of the highest wild fire prone areas in the world.

My views on this are: prior to the fire season we should be able to burn to get rid of the massive amounts of fire fuel that accumulates throughout the year, even on the smallest of blocks. Directly after the fire season restrictions are lifted we should be able to burn to get rid of the fuel that has accumulated over summer before it gets too wet.

I don't think that we should be able to burn off any other times than those mentioned above. Some people will find this quite unpalatable, there are some who believe we should not be able to burn off at all, I expect that these people have not lived through a bushfire experience and do not realise how important it is to keep your land clear of fire fuel. I will always uphold the right of residents to burn off for fire fuel reduction purposes prior to the fire season.

People who burn off wet and green materials and household rubbish act irresponsibly and create unnecessary pollution locally and globally.

I look forward to the review of the local burning laws, it needs to change, the mix isn't right but I'm sure there is a balance between environment and bush fire safe properties and as part of this I will most certainly be encouraging residents to support the introduction of a regular green waste collection as part of the mix.

If you want a copy of the local law or to make a submission just let me know:

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Victoria's Forests need you - march for World Environment Day

I encourage everyone to join the march for World Environment Day on Sunday 4th June, 2006.

Show your support by meeting at 11:00am at the State Library and marching on to Federation Square.

This is a great opportunity to show those who have the power to save our old growth forests how much you care.

Only 8% of Victoria's tallest trees remain. It takes up to 2,500 years for an old growth forest to return after logging. The logging of old growth forests contributes to global warming, reduces our water supply and threatens our many endangered fauna with extinction.

Do your bit, wear green, and join me and countless others to support VICTORIA'S FORESTS!!

For more info visit

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