Tuesday, February 26, 2008

we want to be GM free

In a response to the lifting of the GM Canola Moratorium this week (29th Feb) I proposed the following motion, I'm pleased to say it was supported unanimously by Yarra Ranges councillors, (Cr K Smith absent).

Resolved on the motion of Crs Dunn and Keane

That Council write to:

1. The Premier to ask the State Government to:

(a) Extend the ban on commercial GM canola for at least another five years.
(b) Use its powers to create GM and GM-free areas and to declare our municipality a GM-free Zone (a policy principle made under Section 21 of the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 gives all states these powers).
(c) Establish a public on-line register (including maps) showing all GM release sites – both experimental and commercial – so those who want to stay GM-free can avoid those sites.

2. The Commonwealth and State Health and Agriculture Ministers, advocating that:

(a) No government allow its GM crop ban to expire without all states agreeing.
(b) All foods made using GM technology and processes are to become fully labelled.
(c) Strict liability laws are enacted to hold GM companies fully responsible for GM contamination.
(d) All animal feed be fully labelled as to its GM or GM-free status so that farmers can exercise their choice to remain GM free.

Let's hope the Premier takes our request seriously and declares Yarra Ranges a GM Free zone.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

disgusting dog owner

What a disgusting and disgraceful mess.

This is what shoppers in Belgrave had to contend with as they went about their business last Saturday morning.

A disgusting mess of dog excrement, fouling the footpath in front of a busy ATM.

I cannot understand why irresponsible dog owners think this is okay.

Under the Yarra Ranges Animal Control Local Law 2007
it is an offence to leave animal excrement in a public place.

Just in case you would like to know the wording of the local law in relation to Fouling it is:

The owner or person in charge of an animal in a public place must:
(a) ensure that excrement deposited by the animal in a public place is removed and disposed of in a lawful manner;
(b) carry a bag or other device suitable for the removal of any excrement that may be deposited by the animal; and
(c) produce the bag or device on the demand of an Authorised Officer.

Whilst the majority of dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets, it's the few like this person who give all dog owners a bad name.

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gm free rally

Parliament House Steps
Spring St, Melbourne

Premier Brumby will lapse the state ban on Genetically Manipulated (GM)canola on February 29. But that’s not the end… We can still win a GM-free future!!

Voice your outrage that Brumby will take away our GM-free food and crop choices, with Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (MADGE) and Gene Ethics. Brumby did not listen to the wider food industry and shoppers. He kowtowed to Monsanto (the world’s biggest commercial seed company) and Bayer (the largest agrochemical company) and their agribusiness front groups to get GM canola onto our plates and farms.

It will enter our food chain, unlabelled. South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT will keep their GM bans. NSW will allow commercial GM canola to be grown on a case-by-case basis. Only Victoria will permit GM canola to be grown, unrestricted and unregulated.

Wear yellow and bring GM-free food to share. Also bring a canola product that you will boycott after February 28, since it may contain Victorian GM canola.

12.45 pm Symbolic release of GM contamination

Mothers Against GE (MAdGE) www.madge.org 0401 407 944/0407 307 231
Gene Ethics www.geneethics.org 1300 133868 (local call)

We won’t swallow GM foods

(thanks to Gene Ethics for the words)

Me and Bob Phelps from Gene Ethics at a GM Forum last week

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

logging, big trees and water catchments

Entry to water catchments is strictly prohibited, unless you are a logger. At the Picnic for Forests, Melbourne Water had someone monitoring this access point the whole time.

Many people (around 100) came to hear more about the effect of logging in water catchments from a range of different speakers.

According to our government this is sustainable..... (located just beyond the Cambarville Picnic area)

This is what a logging coupe looks, (there is a person standing in shot to give you an idea of the scale).

Only a couple of kilometres away stands the Big Tree, the tallest known living tree in Victoria.

These forests are special and need to be protected for water supply and biodiversity. We do not want our children to learn about these forests in text books, they need to be a living example of a complex eco-system that we depend on for our very survival.

One of the Mountain Ash in the forest near the Big Tree.

This forest is worth visiting, I encourage you to visit the Cambarville Picnic Area (400 metres off the Woods Point Road) where a walking track leads to the Big Tree.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

so glad we're sorry

What a momentous day in Australia's history, the day had finally come when our federal government said sorry to the stolen generations.

This morning I, along with many others, attended an informal breakfast at the Lilydale campus of Swinburne to witness Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the indigenous people of the stolen generations.

It was a very moving event, with many tears shed; tears of heartbreak, tears of sorrow and then tears of joy. There was a sense of a new beginning for all who were there. After Kevin Rudd's speech everyone in the room stood and applauded, long and loud.

There is no doubt this day will become a milestone moment in our history. For me it seemed that the healing of a gaping wound in our history had begun.

It is time to take a new direction, to move on from the hurt and start the healing.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

where are the water savings????

Tonight (12/2/08) council resolved to oppose the Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline until we have seen evidence to support claimed water savings.

It is my view that this project is yet another example of poor water policy from the Brumby government. There will be massive destruction of our environment and to date we have seen no evidence that the claimed 75 gigalitres will actually flow through the pipeline to Melbourne.

I believe this project has been flawed from the start, we cannot rob Peter to pay Paul, to take water from our agricultural sector (those who grow our food) is outrageous and foolhardy.

There are many opportunities for Melburnians to gain water savings. The Brumby government should be concentrating on stormwater harvesting, efficiency gains throughout the system, recycling and making water tanks mandatory on all new developments. There are many more options than the pipeline.

Our precious environment will be carved up with a 30 metre construction zone required for the majority of the pipeline. This is massive destruction for unproved savings.

When will the Premier, the Ministers and local members start to listen to their constituency?

If you'd like to know more or get involved in the campaign visit http://www.plugthepipe.com/index.html

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

blue dandenongs youth film festival - its back....

The Blue Dandenongs Youth Film Festival will be back for its third instalment and I for one can't wait to see this year's entries.

Between its first and second years, BDYFF saw its number of entries double and in 2008 I'm told that we are in for more amazing work by young filmmakers locally, nationally and internationally.

The festival is major cultural event for the Dandenong Ranges, and provides a forum for young filmmakers to compete and network with their peers. Unlike most other festivals for young filmmakers, the BDYFF screening program focuses on artistic excellence and story telling, rather than participation.

If you are an aspiring filmmaker, are interested in contemporary film, want to be entertained with short films of a very high standard or just like heading to the outdoor cinema at the Cameo in Belgrave, the BDYFF is for you.

When: Friday 15th February and Saturday 16th February, 2008, doors open 1 hour before dusk

Need more info? call 9754 8723 or email info@bdyff.org.au

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

picnic for our water - armstrong catchment

Come and hear why our water catchments need protecting, how logging affects water quality, quantity and wildlife and what you can do to help.

The picnic is on Saturday 9th February from 11am to 3pm and will be located 5km East of the Lake Mountain turn off, on the Marysville Woods Point Road

Come and join the Wilderness Society, the Central Highlands Alliance, me (Councillor Samantha Dunn - Yarra Ranges) and others in support of the protection of Melbourne's water catchments from woodchipping.

Logging in water catchments impacts both on the quality and quantity of water coming from out catchments. Come and hear why we need to protect these catchments. Listen to experts discuss the impacts of logging on water and Leadbeater's Possum, Victoria's faunal emblem. Then join us on an easy walk into some of the most beautiful old forests in the Central Highlands to hear how you can help protect Melbourne's catchments.

Bring your picnic hamper, the kids and a rug - all welcome to attend

RSVP to: Vanessa Culliford : 9038 0803 or

Melways reference 628 A3

If you need more info contact Vanessa Culliford (see details above)

If you'd like a flyer email me at s.dunn@yarraranges.vic.gov.au

Look forward to seeing you there.

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