We have always been told that consumers should be allowed to decide where they should shop so why don’t we allow consumers to decide whether a supermarket or shopping centre should be built in the first place?
All too often we hear of protracted and costly disputes about whether a major supermarket should be built in a particular town or city. Sadly, these disputes can turn nasty, especially as major supermarkets have shown a tendency to fight local Councils and even residents through the Courts and have spared no expense in doing so.
Then, of course, you have major supermarkets and shopping centres pushing for the biggest possible development they can build. These oversized developments may be far in excess of what’s needed to service the community and usually look like big concrete boxes.
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Why can’t we be friends? I’m not ghost-writing for Gandhi or the Dalai Lama and I’ll try to keep clear of that “haters gonna hate” chestnut.
The reason I’m feeling so human is that yesterday I spoke with a 65-year-old man who lives below the poverty line in western Sydney.
Chris Novak’s the one in eight Australians who live in less-than-ideal conditions, and he told me a heart-wrenching story.
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The problem with studies like Social Cities from Melbourne’s Grattan Institute is that they cling to old-fashioned notions of social norms. Like the difference between suburban and city life and what it means to be part of a community.
According to their research, the fact that 25 per cent of Australian city dwellers live in single occupancy households, shows a heightened increase in the national experience of loneliness and isolation. But just because a person lives alone, does not mean that they are lonely.
Ask anyone who might be sharing with their extended family right now, or living in a share house. To people like this, the idea of living alone and having your own space is a luxury. You get to come home to a house just the way you left it, have full ownership of the contents of your fridge and never have to fight over the remote.
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On Tuesday night, four shots were fired into the front of a Wetherill Park home. Inside a woman and her two children were sleeping. This incident was the ninth shooting to take place in Sydney in eight days. NSW Police have not laid any charges and have voiced their frustration, blaming the “wall of silence” in the community.
On Saturday, 25 May 2002, a man shot and wounded seven people including a child attending a wedding at a restaurant in Cabramatta. There were 140 witnesses in the New World Restaurant but no one was able, or willing, to give a clear description of the gun man.
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
One hundred and fifty social and community services (SACS) workers yelled and cheered. Some seemed close to tears as they sat in an auditorium at Technology Park in the Sydney suburb of Redfern last Thursday morning.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was standing before them to announce that the federal government would support pay increases demanded in the ASU’s Pay Up campaign.
The emotion of the crowd was not surprising. They have been waiting for this result for a very long time. They have campaigned hard, and with the knowledge that the case will benefit not just them but their families and the communities they work for.
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It was all over in 30 minutes. Bowls were washed, toasters put away and the lids of the honey jars screwed back on. But the feeling was hard to beat.
Just like every other weekday morning between 8-8:30am, at least 25 kids from the Alexandria Park School in Sydney’s Inner West eat breakfast around a communal table and head off to class with full bellies; a peaceful and warm start to the day.
Lucky kids would do all of this in the comfort of their own homes. But for an increasing number of others, mum and dad are just not earning enough to feed them the most important meal of the day.
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The federal Labor government announced on Wednesday of last week that it would “meet it’s responsibilities” to fund equal pay for community workers.
This announcement represents one more step toward wage justice for people working in the sector, whose equal remuneration case has been running for over a year.
It came after intensive lobbying efforts by those same workers and union members, who were emailing, calling and dancing for equal pay in the weeks leading up to this most recent commitment.
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Politics has been bad for my waistline. My weight gain would have been less severe had I landed a job as a taster for Cadbury.
The public’s need to feed a politician is insatiable. Don’t get me wrong: I really appreciate it. But if politicians are in the vicinity then cakes, sandwiches and bickies are all on offer. Morning teas, openings, receptions and dinners combine to achieve death by hospitality.
This phenomenon has never been more pronounced than in my current role as the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs.
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Hey you! Yes, you. Arsehole.
Thanks a whole heap for walking down our entire street in Erskineville, at 2am on New Year’s Day and keying every single car including my brand-new VW Polo.
You liked my Polo, didn’t you? You must have liked it a lot because you singled it out and instead of just going sideways along the car you took the time to dig your key all the way through the paint into the metal up and down, up and down, up and down.
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Andrew lived with mental illness and died in 2005.
Andrew had schizophrenia, but he did not die from this – he was stabbed to death by his flatmate, who was subject to severe paranoid schizophrenia. The Victorian coronial report found various processes had failed Andrew, putting his life in danger.
A community worker had placed Andrew in this situation, despite the risks.
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When people ask me where I am from I know I’m likely to receive one of two responses when I say Craigieburn. “Sorry, I don’t know where that is” seems to be the predominant one, in which case I begin naming the surrounding areas.
As I relay my list – Roxburgh Park, Greenvale, and Broadmeadows – I am usually confronted with increasingly bewildered expressions, and I realise that these people are unfamiliar with the northern suburbs.
The second response, which on occasion is prompted by my answer to the first, usually encompasses the words “gangs” or “violence”.
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After twelve months of racial intolerance and a clamp-down on live music, is Melbourne about to lose what’s left of its cultural and community flavour?
As Melburnians, we tend to differentiate ourselves as more community and culturally-minded and less greedy than other Australians. So how is it that one of our leading community venues is looking to bring an end to one of Melbourne’s most successful experiments in community dining?
That’s right, the Abbotsford Convent has refused to renew the lease on Lentil As Anything , the innovative not-for-profit restaurant that has been the heart and soul of the convent for the last five years. Is Melbourne letting go of its once famous community culture for profits?
When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them, then I bite my tongue. You see, I’m a community development worker.
In my outer-suburban neighbourhood centre I manage a host of programs for people who need support: grandparents who’ve taken custody of their grandkids in distressing circumstances, playgroups for toddlers with teenage mums, skills training for long-term unemployed, to name a few.
You could put your last $5 on the response (and I am often down to my last fiver so maybe I should). “Oh, you must be an angel!” they say; and, “it must be great to have such a rewarding job.”
I bite my tongue, because expletives from a woman of my years might come as a shock.
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Rosedale is a small country town in central Gippsland. Now a stop for tourists on their journey from Melbourne to the Ninety Mile Beach, the Gippsland Lakes, or southern New South Wales, Rosedale was, from the earliest days, a resting point for weary travellers.
Following the discovery of gold at Walhalla, the town became a staging point for the Cobb & Co coaches transporting miners, supplies, and gold between Port Albert – and later Melbourne - and the rich goldfields.
Although there are no major ranges between Melbourne and Gippsland, a combination of swamps, and a heavily treed chain of hills between the Great Dividing and South Gippsland ranges deterred exploration from the fledgling Victorian capital. As a result, south eastern Victoria was opened up by explorers from southern New South Wales.
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God is capricious, arbitrary and callous when it comes to inflicting tragic disabilities on his/her creatures.
The question is whether our community is willing to come alongside the victims and their carers and make things better, or whether we, like God, could care less.
In a wealthy community such as ours, there is no excuse for leaving those with life-long serious debilitation to do-it-yourself, hand-to-mouth, care plans.
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Roll up, roll up. The Show is coming to town.
Last weekend it was the good citizens of Castlemaine who had the opportunity to witness the quality of the field in the bacon carcass competition. While next weekend Murwullimbah will have its chance to put on display the very finest in poultry that its region has to offer.
Late spring is the height of Show season and a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Royal Geelong Show. I was there both as a local politician and the parent of three eager kids capable of sniffing out show bags, prizes and sugary treats with the efficiency of feeding piranhas.
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This is not a League v Union v AFL v Soccer rant. This is about whether we can agree that sport is important. If we agree it is important, then surely we can work together to do it better.
Sport can be part of a coordinated strategy to get a number of results - we need healthier kids, we need people to think binge drinking isn’t acceptable, we need people to want to solve conflict without violence. We need more kids to dream, big.
The ugly argument about what is better - thugby league, yawnion, gayfl or wogball - is as sophomoric as those phrases are offensive.
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It’s about time I came clean. Some 31 years ago I masterminded an elaborate swindle involving the starving kiddies of Africa and some of my closest family and friends where I fraudulently solicited $17 by falsely claiming to have completed the World Vision 40-Hour Famine.
In truth I only completed some four hours of the famine which, from memory, started just after breakfast on a Saturday morning, and immediately fell apart shortly afterwards at the Unley Oval, home ground of Adelaide’s Sturt Football Club.
I wrongly told Dad and Uncle Bruce that I had to go to the merchandise caravan to buy another badge for my duffle coat (with Phil 16 Heinrich stitched on the back in blue letters) but snuck off instead to the rear of what is now the Jack Oatey Stand where they used to make the greatest steak sandwiches in recorded human history.
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