About 100 people attended a public meeting in Mullumbimby on Saturday to protest against a new Woolworths supermarket being bui
About 100 people attended a public meeting in Mullumbimby on Saturday to protest against a new Woolworths supermarket being bui

Woolworths row in Mullum hots up

By ANDY PARKS andy.parks@northernstar.com.au

MULLUMBIMBY resident Anthea Amore believes a new Woolworths supermarket planned for her town would not only have a negative impact on local businesses, but also contribute to climate change.

“There are so many issues, from global warming and carbon emissions, to peak oil production. As a society we need to get more local, we need to promote and support local businesses and producers. We need to get back to a simpler way of life and take climate change seriously,” she said.

One of her biggest concerns is the issue of food miles, or how far food has to travel before it reaches the consumer.

“Pumpkins that have been grown up the road may travel to Sydney and back up again,” she said, blaming Woolworths’ inflexible centralised buying system.

Ms Amore chaired a meeting at the Pioneer Hall in Mullumbimby on Saturday, where about 100 residents turned up to hear various speakers discuss the issues and to work out strategies to oppose the plan.

She said many residents felt ripped-off because they had supported Mallam’s Supermarket in its application to develop a site near the old railway station. Residents wanted to support a family business that had been in the town for 103 years in order to stop big multinational companies moving in, but many now feel the Woolworths offer was lurking in the background the whole time.

“Life is about community,” Ms Amore said. “Look at what’s happened to Byron. The multinationals have well and truly moved in and Byron’s lost its soul.”

One of the speakers at the meeting was Katrina Shields, who must feel Woolworths is stalking her. Two years ago she moved to Mullumbimby from Maleny in Queensland, where she was involved in a campaign to keep the supermarket giant out of the town. Now she is preparing to take up the struggle all over again.

“Mullumbimby needs to support and value its local businesses, such farmers markets and small traders,” she said.

“Woolworths is not fresh, it’s not cheaper and it doesn’t create jobs.”



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