Tuesday, February 26, 2013

what I would have said at the no maccas rally if I was invited

I was disappointed to learn that a deliberate decision was made by organisers of the No Maccas Rally to not invite me to speak at the rally coming up this Saturday. Originally organisers said it was for community only, I completely understand, however I am perplexed that local MPs can speak but I don’t fit the bill of local community. So below is what I would have said if I was invited.

Firstly I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the Wurundjeri people, and pay my deep respects to elders past and present.

It is terrific to see you all here today and it comes as no surprise to me that the community continues to come out in droves to fight this development in Tecoma.

For those who don’t know me, I’m councillor Samantha Dunn, local councillor for the area and I have been living and breathing this issue since McDonalds first met with the shire 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 VCAT appeal. Myself, TVAG 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, 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.

We’ve heard from the Minister for Planning that numbers at VCAT should matter, that
the Minister would support any discussion with VCAT to reform its policy on objector numbers, well I ask what work has been done, when will we see a change, how many other communities need to fight only to have their voices ignored too? Will we see a time when communities are empowered to be an equal part of the appeals process rather than being confronted with the unlevel playing field as it currently is.

We all know that this development will add to the traffic chaos on Burwood Highway, we all know that there will be ongoing amenity impacts to those residents in the surrounding area, we all know we are all going to contend with far more rubbish in our local area.

When I put up a refusal motion to council back in 2011 there were 15 different grounds of refusal, the community spent 3 days telling the tribunal 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 and you think so too, that’s why you’re here today.

I have asked the Minister for Planning for a meeting, I don’t want him to forget that he committed to meeting with myself, the shire’s strategic planning officers and community members late last year and I’ll be making sure that this meeting doesn’t fall off the radar.  

I’ll also be encouraging all of you to be part of any council consultations that assist in shaping our towns in the hills, there’s a few coming up, more than ever it is important that your voice be heard and my blog is the best way to keep up to date with upcoming consultations.

I congratulate you all on your resolve to protect what’s special to the people in the Dandenong Ranges. Not once have I ever doubted your passion and commitment to our community and our region. It is that resolve that makes our community strong, it’s that resolve that says in no uncertain terms you are part of a close knit community. Not once have you let McDonalds forget you exist and I’m sure you never will.  
Well done for coming out today, I have no doubt you will continue to make your presence felt and keep fighting the good fight for Tecoma.

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At 5:53 PM, Blogger ATractor Productions said...

I would've liked to have heard that on the day Samantha. Sorry to hear that you're not speaking.

At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Nikky Salgadoe said...

well said Samantha, many of us appriciate the time and effort you have put into this as well as supporting many businesses.You have been there from the time the supermarket episode started,you did what you could, and we understand that there is very little that anyone could do now as maccas is here to stay,we can only hope that another KFC or HUNGRY JACKS wont come next to it.Thank you for your support.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger ATractor Productions said...

Great speech Sam. We live in a fantastic community and I hope that we can all see this unwanted McDonalds outlet off with the work that everybody has put in. I'm sure that whether you get to make this speech or not, it will be a big Rally and a real message to Maccas to withdraw from the hills.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Tat said...

Dear Samantha Dunn,

I know the most recent attempts of the anti McDonalds campaign have had you on side with the protesters. But can you recall back a few years ago when McDonalds wished to open a store in Belgrave you were very supportive of this.

Why the sudden change of views? I personally feel this has got a lot to do with political gain on your behalf. "Get on the side of voters and you shall win."

Samantha, please for once do what is right, admit you have been a supporter of McDonalds in the past and let it all out. The placement of the proposed store in Belgrave was even worse than where it is going to be built in Tecoma.

Please stop hiding behind lies and come out. Gain both the respect from the Pro's and Anti's by being truthful. We elected you. So we at least deserve that much.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

hmm, and just how did I support the Belgrave McDonalds application - do enlighten me?

At 12:10 AM, Blogger Philip Machanick said...

So typical. I had this all the time when in Queensland.

If a Greens member or elected representative is present, it’s “political”. If a professional politician from a party that sells out its principles to the highest bidder is present, it’s “community”.

At 3:26 AM, Anonymous Francisms said...

I think we'd all like enlightenment after that comment?
Gee Sam next week it'll be Woolies and week after that more Pokies? How could you? ;-?
This smells like a set up from Vic Forests - tread warily

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa..if I ever considered running for council, or even getting into politics...FORGET IT..u get attacked whatever you do....not thick enuff skin on these bones for my liking

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cr Dunn, with reference to the comment by Tat. There have been many stories circulating during this issue. This comment has evolved from a belief that during the planning application process some time ago, the council voted to approve the permit for a McDonalds store in Belgrave and that you voted in the affirmative on this motion. Can you confirm this? Is this vote still a matter of public record?

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Marcel Theunissen said...

Absolutely stunned that you were not invited for the Rally. Is it so that when you step into politics you can't be a normal person anymore?

Even more surprised to hear "Tat" saying that you were pro McDonald's in Belgrave. Would be good if people making these claims identify themselves and provide facts.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

The council did vote to approve the Belgrave McDonalds but you'd be struggling to find my name on the honour boards of Yarra Ranges before 2005 when I was elected, well after that application. Let me make it clear, I wasn't a councillor. Could it be this story was a creation to add colour to the past local government elections???

At 2:46 PM, Blogger SAGFIN said...

This is another case of a judiciary (VCAT) sold-out and corrupted by organised crime in the form of the Food Syndicate.
Similar illegal judgements are often made to favour the Building Syndicate, Alcohol Syndicate, War Syndicate and of course the Gambling Syndicate.
Let's face it : It's a News' World (Order) with the NWO Syndicate headquartered in New York City, the "safe haven" for the World's most wealthy and influential HUMAN CRIMINALS.


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