The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Protest wins the
attention of TV’s “Today”

by Simon Roper

The fight to quash Woolworths’ planned development in Maleny is prominent in the national news at present, with the struggle wining the attention of the infamous political commentator Alan Jones.

During his five-minute slot on Channel Nine’s “Today” program, the broadcaster raised issues against government which were linked to the struggle in Maleny to stop the company building a supermarket next to the Obi Obi Creek.  Jones became aware of the fight in the small township thanks to the efforts of individuals like Graham Earle, a spokesperson for the Maleny Voice Action Group, which reckons Woolies’ expansion strategy is creating problems in regional and metropolitan Australia.

The group recently traveled to Woolworths’ Annual General Meeting in Sydney to protest against the supermarket plan for Maleny, once again exposing the issue to the general public.  “To get a mention from Alan Jones is a million dollar plug for our cause,” said Graham.  “It puts it in the spotlight.”

Extrapolating the argument of the MVAG, Jones said that certain retail outlets like Coles Myer and Woolworths were dominating retail grocery and petrol sales across Australia, and that these companies’ economies of scale were hurting small businesses.

“Now we don’t begrudge Woolworths and Coles to make a few quid,” he said on his show.  “But what I’m saying is that as their earnings grow, the money has to come from somewhere, and it’s not from thin air.   It’s from the little business man or woman who can’t hope in a million years to compete.”

Jones’ program research indicated that 3000 small retailers have closed their doors in the past three years, and he expressed concerns that once a few large corporations had obliterated the competition, they could increase prices as they would be operating in monopoly conditions.  “What is happening with the residents of Maleny on the Sunshine Coast ought to be a warning to the rest of Australia.

“They are saying that Woolworths’ store expansion strategy is creating problems in regional and metropolitan Australia.  “The question is, what is government doing about it?”

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.