Archive for June, 2015

How to become the enemy of Oscars Law “Debra Tranter”

June 28, 2015


As a supporter of Oscars law and being in the animal rescue, meant nothing, my years supporting shelters and rescue groups, or even my parliamentary submissions on the issue of breeding, which all support Oscars Laws ideals, could not save me.

So how does one become the enemy of Debra Tranter, and what happens if you find yourself in that position you might ask.

I made a comment on Oscar’s law’s Face Book page, something I had done before in support, and the comment was not even against Oscar’s law, my comment was to protect innocent children, that became my big mistake, one that has led to years of attacks on my good name.

Hundreds of tweets by Tranter calling me anything from a child abuser, animal murderer, and even a paedophile, that went on for nearly 2 years, and to this day, I still endure attacks by her supporters every time I succeed in the animal welfare arena.

It appears I am no longer allowed to run my sanctuary, rescue animals or lobby government for animal welfare related reform, because every time I do, the calls and Face Book attacks on myself and my family and re-ignited.

You see a woman was taken to court and convicted of animal cruelty, I knew the whole story, but that is not important, what was important to me, was the result of Oscars Law’s on line overview, where people were calling for attacks on the woman in question.

People were driving past her rural property making threats, and the woman had two young disadvantaged children, and they were terrified, so I made a huge mistake, and commented on the post asking people not to take a vigilante approach because there were young children on site, that’s it, and to be honest, I would probably do the same thing again, even knowing how much damage it would do to my good name and the political aspirations I had at the time.

The whole story about the woman and the charges are irrelevant to this blog, but are on my website as an overview of how the law works, but in saying that, the courts had passed judgment and the woman was convicted and fined.

I am certain each and every one of us, would have an opinion on the outcome of the case, and that would be reliant on how well we knew the case, or our views on animal welfare standards, but  in every respect, the courts had made their determination based on the information before them.

Debra Tranter had made her own decisions, she did not believe the courts findings were harsh enough, and she has every right to hold an opinion, but not one of us has the right to back vigilante actions. Who among us has the right to be judge and jury, even more so when we were not a party to the case and all the available evidence?

My request for people not to take the law into their own hands for the sake of the children, made me a supporter of puppy farmers, I will note here the convicted woman only had a couple of dogs, so was not a puppy farmer in that respect, but I was now a supporter of puppy farmers in Tranters eyes.

A lawyer I worked with on a few cases relating to animal welfare related issues as part of my studies, was later accused of having photos of children on his computer, somehow this allowed Tranter to call me a supporter of paedophiles.

During an election campaign I contested, these slanderous lies were spread all over the net and to all of Oscars law supporters,  through tweets and on line rants and media reports, remembering all I did was ask people not to terrify children in their home.

It kept on going and I still endure on line attacks, once Debra found out I was a sporting shooter, I was then an animal murderer, something I would never do, my wife and I run a sanctuary and I have been in animal rescue for years, the fact I am a target shooter with a pistol, does not make me an animal killer, but the facts best not get in the way of destroying my good name.

I have written submissions on puppy farms, worked with sanctuary’s and shelters all over this country, I have been in animal rescue for years, raised money and feed and delivered it myself from SA to QLD during the floods and raised over 300 tonnes of feed for the animals and sanctuary’s devastated by the fires in SA, but none of this counts once you are on Debra Tranters bad side.

The sad part of all this, was that when this first happened, I phoned Debra to explain my comment on her page, should not be mistaken as an attack on her, just the protection of those young children against vigilante actions and she never even gave me a chance to explain or phone back.

Had this never happened, would I have been elected after only just missing out on a seat, how much good could I have done for animal welfare as an elected member, are questions that will never be answered.

Does anyone deserve this sort of treatment for simply advocating for common sense to prevail?

I have to wonder if it was even that initial comment, because every time the media cover an animal related campaign I am involved in or a rescue I am sorting, the attacks start again.

Improving animal welfare standards in this country should never be hampered by division, and never would if the animal’s best interests were the only genuine driver.

Some might ask why I never took legal action to stop these unfounded attacks on my good name, well I tried, as have many, but Tranter has learned to cover her tracks meaning I could never ensure she was served properly, and over the past couple of years I have come to realise I am not her only victim.

There is so much that needs to be achieved in animal welfare, I do tend to question how much more we might have achieved if she had only picked up the phone back when all this started, and  if that may have resulted in us working more closely together, because unity is the best way forward.

Mark Aldridge


FARM DIRECT Community markets final compliance notes “Salisbury”

June 21, 2015


Attention; George Pantelos


Salisbury council Planning “Farm Direct Community Markets” 361/935/2015/38


The Development Act of 1993 is an Act to provide for planning and regulate development in the State; to regulate the use and management of land and buildings, and the design and construction of buildings; to make provision for the maintenance and conservation of land and buildings where appropriate; and for other purposes.


Representations relating to development plans, or change of use, ought to there for relate appropriately to the intention of the legislation.


When we go over the representations lodged and in particular those wishing to be heard on the matter, we find very little if any comments/representations that apply to the development/change of use application before the council.


Issues of retail competition and trade are not covered by the Act, so are there for not intended to be accessed in any application for development approvals, even more so in the case of minor change of use applications.


Important issues like traffic control and traffic and pedestrian movement, internally or outside any development or change of use applications are best determined by professionals like the dedicated department of transport and infrastructure, if would be inappropriate to expect a green grocer to dictate to the authorities such issues.


In 2 of the representations filed in relation to Farm Directs development applications, by both Nghia Van Lam and Ben Johnston, several issues are raised, none of which are either relevant to the application before the council, others are not a true representation of the circumstances.


It is clear than in both circumstances the representations are not relevant to the development applications, so are invalid under the legislation, in each respect the council would have better dealt with these using its own discretionary powers awarded to it be the Act, if said powers were able to be applied.


“I note council have accessed these representations as “Valid” in their own hand writing, as the party affected, I find it hard to believe such an assessment is in line with the Development Act.


Considering this fact, one would have to consider that the City of Salisbury feel they have the implied power to restrict trade and consumer choice in the retail trade, if that be the case, I would appreciate some direction as to from where those powers are awarded.”


If we take both of these representations and remove comments of a personal nature, unfounded comments like “Food requirements not being met” and “They have opened 2 markets in the area” reasons relating to competition and trade, or what produce is being sold and where it is being sourced, which are all irrelevant to the application before the council, it leaves no content worthy of debate by any development panel.


Representations must be based on the criteria set by the Act, none of the representations asking to be heard achieve that, so council indeed ought to have the legal ability to proceed with finalising our application.


Council must not lose sight of the basic facts, Farm Direct has operated in the area for nearly 3 years, without any issue of compliance, so a relocation application that asks only for a change of use approval, ought not raise any debate relating to trade or issues of a competitive nature, let alone Farm Directs internal management or adherence to local food legislation.


If legislation indeed took into account issues of trading restrictions, it is Farm Directs position such issues would be determined by the local consumers, and we believe they have voted in our favour.


The Act, only allows for debate relating to the developments effect on adjoining properties, the City of Salisbury development plan, traffic flow and internal vehicle and pedestrian movement, along with compliance with Heritage SA and DPTIs awarded interests.


We believe we have met all those guidelines and if council were not being hindered by invalid representations, that our application for change of use would pass council scrutiny.


I will reply to each representation lodged for further clarity;


  1. Folland; the matters raised in this statement of representation relate to pathways on council land, that MAY require upgrades due to increased traffic (has not asked to be heard)


Farm Direct has little to no control of the way in which the public enjoy council facilities, should more people start to use a council facility; this issue would be outside the scope of our application to the council.


Farm Direct is happy to monitor this issue an collate feedback from its customers and work with the council in respect to upkeep.


  1. Nghia Van Lam “Salisbury Fruit Bowl”; this representations attempts to raise a variety of concerns which can be listed as such (has asked to be heard);


  1. Unfair to local business (irrelevant to the application)
  2. Farm direct have 2 markets Parafield/Salisbury (incorrect and untrue) (irrelevant to the application)
  3. Parafield opened 1 year ago (incorrect and untrue) (irrelevant to the application)
  4. Farm Direct does not support local farmers (Incorrect and untrue) (irrelevant to the application)
  5. Farm Direct lie’s to the public (slander) (irrelevant to the application)
  6. 70-80% of product sold is from the Adelaide produce market (irrelevant to the application) (Incorrect and untrue)
  7. Farm Direct is a scam (slander) (irrelevant to the application)


Not one of these statements is backed by evidence, none of them are relevant to the development application and Farm Direct can prove with evidence that not one of these statements is true.


Farm Direct opened it original market in Parafield in October 2012, the market was relocated only 5 weeks ago to the Old Spot hotel, should another market have opened on our old site is both out-side development issues and or the control of Farm Direct.


Unfair to local business, relates to a perceived drop in sales, which could be applied to our ability to perform better in the food industry, again outside development planning legislation, which does not cater for trade restrictions of any kind.


Farm Direct is not a scam, does not lie to its customers and other issues raised, are best described as liable, and relate in no way to the application before the council.


  1. Ben Johnston “George & Bens Fresh food market”; raises a variety of concerns of a similar nature (has asked to be heard);


  1. It is not a farmers market (Farm Direct is not a farmers market) (irrelevant to the application)
  2. Farm Direct buys from Adelaide produce market (irrelevant to the application)
  3. Farm direct are retailers (irrelevant to the application)
  4. There is not enough parking.
  5. There is not proper structure (Incorrect and untrue) (irrelevant to the application)
  6. Council food and safety guidelines are not being met (Incorrect and untrue)
  7. Farm Direct has affected his business (irrelevant to the application)
  8. Farm Direct would hurt employment (Incorrect and untrue) (irrelevant to the application)
  9. Traffic is spilling onto Main North road (incorrect and untrue)


None of the issues raised relate to development planning, other than the issue of traffic spilling onto Main North road, so I will address that issue first, during the first 5 weeks of operation at the Old Spot, never once has traffic spilled over onto Main North road.


The department of transport DPTI, have both studied and attended the markets to check on this issue and have reported nothing that supports this statement, and have since supported the markets compliance.


Each week from the first day of trading we have modified traffic flows within the site parking area to ensure it creates no adverse spillage onto Main North road, once overflow parking is finalised and we can start operating on Wednesdays, vehicle flow on site will be made even easier, but even during our busiest times we have avoided any interruption to traffic on the Main north road.


All the other statements made are incorrect and without substance and appear to relate to issues of commerce, and have no impact on Farm Directs development planning applications, and Farm Direct can supply evidence that supports our position.


Farm Direct has operated for nearly 3 years, in which time both Parafield Airport limited and the Salisbury council have regularly carried out on site and compliance inspections, without any concerns being raised, all stall holders and the market management comply with all statutory requirements and business registrations, and always have.


  1. Leo and Chris; Fully support the market (has not asked to be heard)


  1. Teresa Evans; Raises the only concerns relating to our application before the council, all of which have been supported or adopted by our application. (has not asked to be heard)


DPTI and Farm Direct have agreed to certain traffic flow issues raised by Mrs/Miss Evans, so the application covers this representation.


  1. Anthony and Francesca Sorrenti; Fully support the market (has asked to be heard)


Their representation relates to parking on Brisbane drive, and its impact on local traffic.


Farm Direct has taken photos of the street for two weeks on an hourly basis, 9.00 am, 10.00 am and 11.00 am during market operations, and found no parking issues that are the result of the markets operation.


Farm Direct does not oppose signage to restrict parking during the operation times of the market, however has been unable to confirm any issue exists, as aforementioned, we note that the street in question is a long way from the market and people may be utilising it to access the adjacent park.




Farm Direct can see no reason covered by any of the lodged representations that can limit the ability of the council to provide final planning consents, within the scope of the development legislation and its applications to planning procedures.




Traffic Management; Farm Direct concurs with the assessment of DPTI and will comply with their directions.


Insurances; Farm Direct as site managers have public liability already in place, and ensures all stall holders operating on the site are also covered by appropriate insurances.


Control of Waste; Each stall holders is responsible for the removal of waste from the site, and Farm Direct staff ensure customer bins are provided and waste is removed, and are contracted to ensure the site is maintained.


Wastewater; All water used on site (minimal) used for cleaning or hand washing is collected and disposed of, off site, as per health and safety guidelines.


Food Business Notification; All stall holders are contracted to have all food accreditation, in line with the Food Safety Standards, and most if not all of our stall holders were recently inspected by your council.



Mark M Aldridge

Founder “Farm Direct community markets”






Renato Castello “Journalist of the Sunday Mail”

June 14, 2015

To Renato Castello “Journalist of the Sunday Mail”

Regarding your article; “Pop up road stalls anger Adelaide Green grocers”.

Farm Direct markets has been trading in the Salisbury area now for nearly 3 years, the move to the new location at Salisbury was to improve our facilities, not to open a new market, so I find it hard to understand why the article in question was written.

The two objectors, both frequent markets to clear their stock, but I suppose this fact was never considered, neither were the facts explained to you in our conversation, I find it hard to even believe you were listening to what I had to say, do please never call me again.

Farm Direct is a registered business that pays rent, taxes and insurances, as do all of its stall holders, you already knew all this when you wrote the article, because I told you.

The smaller farms supported by our markets are doing it hard, they also have families, staff, rents, insurances, mortgages, utilities and taxes to pay, and since when was there GST on food stuffs, and if there was, I am sure they would also have to cough up.

How you have called us a pop up market after nearly 3 years of regular trade two days a week, is beyond my comprehension, let alone the article being presented in such a way as to undermine our great markets and what they are trying to achieve.

I could be led to believe you are an Australian with children, and would have hoped our fight to ensure they will have access to fresh local produce into the future, would be one you and your editor might just respect.

I note Andrew Dimasi in the article says “We are over-shopped here and we’ve got Aldi coming,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of product and at the end of the day it’s the grower who suffers, they won’t be able to get enough for their product.”

I fail to see how closing a market that allows the farmers and producers to get a fair price for their produce, will benefit the growers, I doubt Aldi are going to pay them more than they receive from dealing direct with their customers.

Oh yes, Dimasi wants to be the middle man in the deal, further eroding the farmers income, great person to interview on Farmers behalf.

Farm Direct took years to build by volunteers that did not wish to see Australia become a net food importer, and has always been all about support of our farmers and producers, to take that way, would be a swift kick in the farmers direction they can ill afford.

To even consider such a great market would be shut by the self-interest of two small on sellers, who appear to have forgotten just how many people rely on their employ as a result of the market would be a travesty.

The markets huge success clearly shows how the local community have voted, and the fact we have assisted in new farms being planted where the trend is the closure of Australian farms, might have seen you side with us in your article, or at least les bias.

I for one would like to see a little more balanced reporting on issues like this in the future.

Next time you even consider doing an article that affects so many lives, just maybe speak with the real stakeholders, the stall holders themselves, or even try a few of our thousands of supportive customers.

You have all but accused our many stall holders, over 100 in total of being tax dodgers, or simply dodgy traders, and that is not the case I can assure you. They are damn hard working honest people that simply wish to pay their overheads, keep their homes and farms and put food on the table.

As Market management I can prove every single one of them is fully compliant in every respect, but judging by the quality of your journalistic skills, I doubt you would let the facts get in the way of your story.

I would remind you of a speech from a man you might know, he was once considered the “Dean” of your profession “John Swinton” of the New York times, the speech was made at his retirement dinner, but I doubt you will have bothered to read past the first time I questioned your motives.

Mark Aldridge

Founder of Farm Direct community markets

FARM DIRECT Community markets MOVES from parafield to SALISBURY

June 11, 2015

“To grow any good business, one must embrace change”




Having dealt with development planning and compliance issues for markets over the past few years, I want to clear up a few of the things that forced the move of the markets from Parafield to the new upgraded facilities at the Old Spot Hotel Parafield.

There are certain requirements expected of food markets, access to toilets from the advertised opening times, and during set up times, appropriate insurances, adequate parking and traffic control, disabled access, safe ground cover, food safety etc etc.

Loose rubble, pooling water, muddy car parks are issues that would not pass scrutiny under development planning and food safety legislation, let alone the resulting traffic congestion and the dangers associated with that. New vehicle access cut ins were never finished, neither was the car parking or the ground cover, we were not even afforded rubbish removal.

“All these issues would be demanded under development planning standards and indeed were demanded by Parafield Airport Limited.”

I brokered the deal for the old Parafield site with the Airport Management, with the understanding the site would be brought up to scratch by the land owners in a timely manner. We were paying top dollar, for what was a vacant unused piece of land with no facilities, so I had every right to demand the development promises were met and to ensure the safety of both stall holders and customers, my job as the founder.

There were a host of other issues that required addressing,like toilet access and food hygiene, but for the sake of an overview, I will leave those issue to the authorities.

The old site is in breach of development planning and would have no chance in hell of passing the usual council guidelines, it is partly my fault the approvals were issued before compliance was met, because I wanted the market to survive. I did that with the understanding the many issues would be sorted by the site lease holders.

The management team, worked even harder to bring in money for the land owners so they could cover the costs of the works needed, not by increasing stall holders fee’s but by donating our time as volunteers, with Mark the founder covering marketing costs out of his own pockets.

When the land owners continued to ignore my pleas, in the best interests of the stall holders, our customers and the public in general, I brokered a deal for a better location, lower rental, better facilities, power, parking upgrades and the like, and I make no apologies for my actions.

We have had a few uninformed people question why we made the decision to move on-line even some of the stall holders I have supported for years spreading untrue rumours as a result of being misled. 

We would be crucified if I ignored these issues and the market was shut down, or some one was seriously injured, when the second person was taken to hospital after a fall, The founder acted quickly and decisively finding a great location and made the move.

Any market opened on the old site, will have very little chance competing on a level playing field unless it attends to the aforementioned issues. Our management team and our volunteers, have no other motives other than protecting the best interests of our stall holders and our customers, we are not driven by self-interest or financial gain.

Our new market opened on the 23 rd at the Old Spot hotel with appropriate approvals and insurances; we are now larger than ever before with room to expand, increased parking, better facilities, bitumen as ground cover, and correct services one ought to expect from a professional market operation.

A majority of our Parafield stall holders moved with us, and maintained all the best farms, adding many more local producers, at the same time lowering the wholesale content of our market.

Rumours that very few stall holders have moved with us, are being used to undermine our good name, and convince stall holders to move to the old site, which says more about those spreading them, than any concept of honesty..

Those we did not opt to bring with us, for a variety of reasons including continued opposition to our Australian made and grown rule or as a result of regular warnings from food authorities, have now set up on our old site, which is great for the general public’s free choice, as long as they are well aware Farm Direct is no longer interested in managing the site while it refuses to ensure public safety concerns or our motto of only allowing fresh Australian produce

Farm Fresh Parafield, is not a registered business and at the stage of writing this article, is neither insured nor compliant, the wholesalers on site have already started offering imported produce for sale.

Farm Direct will stick to speaking the truth, working in an honest and transparent manner as we always have, we will open with a full market of experienced operators, and so many familiar faces. We will continue doing what we always have, as everyone who attends will see, the only thing this spit has changed is we will only open at 80% capacity, not because we lack stall holders to fill the market to capacity, but because the split will temporary affect our customer base, and I won’t have that adversely affecting my growers.

With that point in mind, we will open at the same size as the old site, and build to a larger market than ever before over the first few weeks.

Parafield’s old site is now in the past, and I wish to leave it there, it is onward and upward for Farm Direct from here, and we will use our skills to open even more markets over the next few months, and I am sure all our farmers and producers as well as our customers will be impressed with our growth, because we will remain true to our core values every step of the way

We currently have approvals to operate in Marden, Blake’s-Crossing and have applications in for several other locations.

Australian only fresh produce at affordable prices.