Posts Tagged ‘Mark M Aldridge’

Do LDN actually deliver your pamphlets & flyers? NOT ALWAYS.

August 14, 2016

LDN

I HAD 20,000 FLYERS PRINTED FOR A VERY SPECIAL PURPOSE

“AS A CANDIDATE IN A FEDERAL ELECTION”

It was so important, as if I were to get over 4% of the vote, I was to receive federal funding, which would cover my election costs. I knew I could not win this seat in this election, but wanted to keep my name fresh for the state election.

My usual vote was between 4% and 17%, so when the media refused to publish anything with my name, I decided to get pamphlets into every letter box, to ensure people were reminded I was running, as I am reasonably well known and supported.

I found it odd that I received about 5 calls about my candidacy, but all were from one small area, as area a friend put out 250 of my how to votes, but none from the rest of the electorate where 20,000 were meant to be delivered.

I asked my 20,000 odd thousand supporters on FaceBook, if they had received my flyers, and not one had.

I will add a few thousand voted for me, yet none received my flyer/how to vote pamphlet.

Just after the election, I receive photos showing my pamphlets in a bin, seems all of them.

IMG_8806

The photos show thousands of flyers, this is one of the photos, bundles were in 250. So I emailed LDN asking what has happened, in the bon were boxes and pamphlets in bundles of 250, so there are thousands there.

They refused to help, and offered a few hundred dollars, unless I could provide a location, I think I was lucky to have the photos, because with out them, I would have been offered nothing, and I am not taking a token payment, as if they had been delivered, in the balance of probabilities, I would have gained the extra 1000 votes I needed.

That means their mistake has cost me 10K, so are they delivering your pamphlets?

Paying for a company like Salmat to deliver our printing, is about aiming to make profit, not lose money.

It may be safer and more productive to use Australia Post of pay someone you trust, might be a little more expensive, but at least you know your flyers/pamphlets arrive.

Mark Aldridge

Farm Direct “Statement of effect” draft for debate

July 19, 2016

Development application “Statement of Effect” Farm Direct Community Markets.

Farm direct logo 7

 

STATEMENT OF EFFECT

Farm direct markets have invested its hard work successfully over the past 4 years, into creating the best markets in the state which are dedicated to providing for the City of Salisbury’s rate payers.

We are also lobbying the state government and appealing the recent ERC court findings, as we are committed to protect all community events in the north.

We have opened 2 of South Australia’s largest and most successful markets in the Salisbury council area, and have operated without any adverse effects to the City, the development objectives and the community.

Farm Direct has drained all its resources on the drawn out approval process and the following legal battle, so is unable to employ a suitable development expert to produce our statement of effect, we therefore apologise for any deficiency in the contents.

OVERVIEW

Farm Direct Markets have operated professionally and without incident in the Salisbury area for well over 4 years in 2 locations, Salisbury Height’s and Parafield.

Regardless of the new precedents relating to the definition of a stall, Farm Direct is still simply a temporary produce market, that has no permanency and the market is supported by the community in general. Merit applications are still development applications that are supported by and benefit the community, which means they are in line with community standards and the Markets definitely fulfils that wish.

I would like to remind the development planners, the council and the elected members that the market “Farm Direct” has now operated on site for over 12 months, without any adverse impact on the site, local traffic, parking, health and safety, significant tree’s, the heritage aspects of the site etc etc.

We have met and exceeded many directives of the city of Salisbury, increased employment opportunity, the promotion of healthy eating, access to affordable fresh produce. We remain environmental friendly, we encourage a sustainable future through growing produce to meet demand and we are helping unite the community.

The Market relocated from the initial site in Parafield (PALS car parking area) to the Old Spot hotel car park just over 12 months ago. On July the 21st 2015 we applied for development approvals and passed a raft of application processes as a “Merit” type use.

The Market underwent a category 3 public notification process, passed referrals to DPTI, DENWR, Development engineering, Civic design and traffic, Environmental health and safety, passing in each case.

The approval was disputed on competitive grounds, and the ERD court found that a Market was in fact a non-complying development, that a trestle table with goods for sale or display, was a shop for the purpose of the definitions of the development Act.

This set a new precedent on how development law is defined in relation to any temporary stall, but we ought not forget a stall is not a building, and has no lasting impression on the land, so when defining any application that utilises stalls, will never be the same as those applied to bricks and mortar, regardless of the definitions.

The fact that development law and planning has overlooked stalls, markets and fetes in their definitions, allowed the recent redefining to include a stall in the definition of the word shop. The fact community events were never considered developments, but rather events, events of a regular basis, development definitions failed to protect community events. Community events have been a part of the city of Salisbury history since its inception.

The location of Farm Directs present Salisbury Height’s Market at the Old Spot hotel is on private land, land that’s primary use is retail based, the zoning of “Open Space” is based more on the adjacent river and walk ways/trails, than the area built to have its primary use to be that of a car park for retail and hotel trading.

Farm direct helps maintain the “Open Space” concept and promotes the local community to embrace and utilise the current area in an appropriate manner.

Farm Direct has appealed the ERD court’s decision before the full bench of the Supreme Court, which is being heard on the 1st of August 2016, in hope of overturning the decision of the court, therefore restoring the original development approvals put in place by the City of Salisbury.

Farm Direct is financing the legal challenge to protect your development planning’s sections decision.

Farm Direct has submitted a non-complying development application “Statement of Support” which has been accepted by the council development section, and best be read in conjunction with this statement of effect.

 

  1. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT

A Farmers type market of up to 40 stalls when operating at its peak, operating in the Northern car park of the Old Spot hotel on Saturdays and a smaller market of approximately 1/3 that size operating on a Wednesday, between the hours of 8.00am and 1.00pm, operating independently of the operations of the existing hotel.

The site supports approx. 240 on site car parking spaces’, parking has been boosted during market days by improved access to a run off car park on the hill, and a temporary stall holder carpark on the northern boundary has also been created.

The Market stalls and walkways occupy approx. 1800m2 (45 to 49 car parking spaces and a bus bay) of the northern carpark area.

Although not promoted by the market, the Carisbrooke Park carpark on the western side of Main North road adjacent the site has been utilised by some patrons. Access from the Carisbrooke car park, is easily and safely achieved by a pedestrian walkway under main north road.

The Markets also promote the use of existing walking trails to access the market for the local community as a part of its promotion of healthy living.

Stalls predominantly offer fresh produce, with an assurance that all produce and product is locally sourced where possible, and that anything sold will have been produced or grown in Australia. Other stalls with in the Market will include local handicraft, plants, Australian nuts, locally produced olive oil, Fresh baked goods, cakes and takeaway.

Toilet facilities are available in Carisbrook Park, but patrons are advised by the market to utilise facilities with in the Hotel and Bottle shop, which are open for use during the markets operation times.

  1. SUBJECT LAND

The subject land is contained in lot 200 of DP 41172 being certificate of title, Volume 6050 Folio 968 also known as 1955 main north rd, Salisbury Heights.

The privately owned land is irregular in shape and bounded by open space and the Little Para River to the north and open space to the east and south, Main North road is the sites Western boundary.

In recent times improvements to the hotel were approved by council and the additions are of a retail nature.

An easement 30 meters wide in favour of Transmission Lessor Corporation and Electranet PL traverses the northern portion of the site. A second and substantially smaller easement in favour od the Distribution Lessor Corporation is located further south.

  1. LOCALITY;

The site is located in a location that includes retail sales and open space zoning.

Open space zoning is all about limiting construction to preserve the looks, dynamics and public access to development zones.

Farm Direct community markets even as a non-complying development meets those demands, it is aesthetically pleasing to the land scape when it is in operation, had no lasting impact on the land and promotes community participation in the zone, also utilising the connecting open space utilities and councils park and trial facilities.

The site contains the state heritage listed Old Spot hotel, and a freestanding bottle shop and drive through, both of which are considered retail by their nature.

Car parking (approximately) 240 spaces and bus bays, both formalised and un-formalised, together with landscaping have been provided and stablished on site, in association with the hotel.

Two vehicle access/regress points off Main North road service the site, the main cross over is located at the north end of the site adjacent the bottle shop, the second cross over is located adjacent the southern side of the property boundary.

Farm Direct has utilised the current parking and access/exit points without issue for over 12 months, they have also invested with the site owners in upgrades to parking facilities and the overflow parking on the hill top, and added parking for the stall holders on Market day.

The Market there fore is promoting the use and access to the use of the zone as intended by the legislation.

  1. BACKGROUND

Farm Direct markets have operated in the Salisbury area for around 3 years prior to moving to the Old Spot market location in or around May 2015, in both cases the market utilized existing car parking facilities adjacent hotel developments.

Farm Direct complied with all development planning assessments at its original site adjacent Roulettes tavern and bottle shop. The move to the new location was forced by lease agreements and issues with adherence to development planning regulations not being adhered to by the land owner at the previous site.

An initial one of market was held on the site as a trial, on Saturday the 23rd of June.

The first application was to operate a Special event “Farmers Market” on the subject site. A special event is defined with in schedule 9 (11(2) of the development regulations 2008, as meaning a “community, cultural, arts, entertainment, recreational, sorting or similar event” which is in line with a merit application.

Development approval was granted for the special event (produce market) between the 29th May and 13th of June, and the market operated without issue.

The second application was to obtain Development Approval for the ongoing “Produce Market” on the site.

The development approval went through a category 3 development applications as a merit form of application, the councils lawyers supported the application as a market, and to be considered as a merit application, not as shop, which is still undergoing legal scrutiny.

The council’s approval of the markets was challenged by a market competitor in the Environment and development court, the preliminary point of argument was that a stall/trestle was indeed a shop for the purpose of the application of development law.

The argument was upheld; as such the granted approval was rendered invalid as the council had approved the market as a merit application, rather than as a non-complying application.

Farm Direct community Markets then lodged an appeal before the full bench of the Supreme court to dispute the judge’s finding, this matter is to be heard on the 1st of August, with a finding to be handed down some time in the following 6 weeks from the hearing.

  1. Social, economic and the environmental effects of the development on its locality.

Farm Directs initial Statement of support covered the social, economic and environmental benefits of the Markets on the present location in detail, so ought to be read in conjunction with this “Statement of effect”

  • SOCIAL; Farm direct attracts people from the local community and from the surrounding suburbs into the local area, to increase participation in the open space zone. We promote use of the walking trials, community participation in the market itself, the local parks and encourage the whole families and neighbour hoods to enjoy the atmosphere the market creates.

 

  • ECONOMIC; Farm direct supports the local economy in a variety of ways, by bringing outside investment into the Salisbury area, by creating local jobs and ensuring access to affordable fresh produce. The Markets customer base is extensive attracting financial support from all over South Australia to the local area.

 

  • JOB CREATION; Farm direct Markets in Salisbury alone when we include our original market site which still operates, not only employs hundreds of South Australians, many from within the cities superb. We also help encourage and support small business enterprise, bring investment into the City and help local business improve their sales.

 

  • HEALTHY EATING; Farm Direct promotes healthy eating, community activity and helps educate local children about healthy eating and food production by supporting school trips to the market by several local primary level classes.

 

  • ENVIRONMENTAL; Farm directs environmental impacts have been a huge bonus to the area. We have no adverse impact on the locality, we have improved access to the trials and ensure we clean up every day we operate beyond any impact we have. Our producers now grow to suit our customer base alleviating waste, and any excess produce is utilised by donating to those who feed the homeless and to support local animal sanctuary’s.

 

  1. Characterisation and public notification

Farm Direct community markets initial development application process was considered a Category 3, which allowed for a public notification process.

The development panel heard from all objectors and found in favour of approving the market as a after a lengthy debate, the decision was majority support.

  1. Statutory – Referrals

Farm direct passed all of the statutory referrals during the previous application process, and has operated under them for over 12 months without any issue arising.

  1. DPTI

Traffic flow to and from Main North Road as proposed is supported and should be appropriately managed through the course of each market to ensure driver compliance.

DPTI strongly recommended that a traffic management plan be developed by the applicant to ensure that satisfactory traffic measures are put in place for market days.

  • Adequate onsite car parking be provided;
  • All temporary signage promoting the market should be contained on the subject land and installed and removed prior to and after each market

Farm Direct has complied with the directions and recommendations of DPTI, and continues to employ professional staff to manage internal traffic flow and parking, without any issue for over 12 months.

 

  1. DEWNR

The impact of the proposed use on the heritage significance of the state heritage place (Old Spot Hotel) is considered acceptable, as the market stalls are temporary structures, are located some distance from the hotel and will not affect the setting of the state heritage place

 

  1. DEVELOPMENT ENGINEERING

The proposal was supported as it has no fixed structures.

The vicinity of the market is not subject to flooding

 

  1. TRAFFIC

In order to provide efficient and safe circulation on site whilst providing pedestrian safety within the site at all times, a traffic management plan presently in place provides for accredited traffic management staff to be in place during the market operation on every Saturday.

The Market even at its busiest has been successful in handling traffic management over the past 12 months without issue.

The market attendance is expected to remain at present demand, which has resulted in vacant parking bays even at peek attendance times.

 

  1. HEALTH

Control of waste; Reasonable steps are already in place as a result of the original approvals.

Waste from the market is managed in accordance with the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 to prevent offensive odours and not accessible to pests and vermin

All waste water generated from the activity is effectively disposed to SA Water sewerage system to prevent any risk to public health; and

The Market stall holders all have their individual Food business notifications and have passed two on site council inspections since the start of operations at the Old Spot location.

 

  1. DEVELOPMENT DATA Site Characteristics Guideline Proposed Site Area Farmers Market

Area Total land size approx 26,400m2, Market use is approx. 2400m2

Site Dimensions Main North Road Frontage: Depth: 185m approx. 169m approx.(varies) Site Gradient Majority of site relatively flat with a low grade to the north and Little Para River.

Southern portion of the site supports a large embankment and plateaued at the top Easement Easements exist over the site to Transmission Lessor Corporation and Electranet P/L; and Distribution Lessor Corporation

  1. Number of carparks

No guidance in presently allowed for in the Development Plan for a produce market

Over 190 car parking spaces are available on site, for both the market and hotel when both are operating.

Market operation times are not in conflict with hotel main operating times on the days of the market operation, Market has increase parking by way of stall holder parking in a temporary area, and excess parking allowed as a flow over on the northern boundary, with access limited to market operational days.

  1. Buildings Temporary stalls comprising canopies and tables

 

  1. Affected Trees No significant trees affected

 

 

  1. Regulated Trees No regulated trees affected

 

  1. Street Infrastructure Existing crossover utilised

 

 

  1. SEP No SEPs affected

 

  1. Electricity pole No Electricity poles affected

 

 

  1. Telecommunication pit No Telecommunication pits affected

 

  1. Gas No gas infrastructure affected

 

  1. Water No water infrastructure affected

 

 

  1. Street Trees No street trees affected

 

  1. Flooding The proposed market location is not prone to flooding

 

 

  1. ASSESSMENT

No serious Variance Pursuant to Section 35(2) of the Development Act 1993

It was initially recommended that the assessment Panel determine that the proposal is not seriously at variance with the Salisbury (City) Development Plan – Consolidated 20 March 2014, which passed the development panel’s approval process.

The following reasons are proffered to support this recommendation:

  • The site, although within the Open Space Zone, is already utilized for commercial purposes as a hotel incorporating retail activities.
  • The proposed stalls are only temporary, erected and removed on each market day.
  • The proposed use is within the carpark of the Old Spot Hotel and operates at a time when hotel patronage is low; and
  • The temporary nature of the market will not detrimentally impact on the state heritage place or the intent of the zone.

It has been demonstrated that the proposed development has minimal or no unreasonable external impacts, so consent could reasonably be expected to be upheld even as a “Non-complying application”

Performance of the Markets operation over the past 12 months, clearly show it has had no adverse effects on the land, the surrounding area or the community in general.

The Market has remained well supported by the local community, and has not breached any of the directives of the council or the associated development initiatives.

It should be considered that the proposed development is not ‘seriously at variance’ with the City of Salisbury Development Plan.

  1. Assessment against Development Plan Objectives and Principles Primary Development Objectives and Principles of Development Control (PDC) Development Plan Reference Assessment Zoning & Land Use General Section Centres and retail Development Objective

1 PDC 10 and 12 Zone Provisions Open Space Zone Objective(s) 1, 2 and 5 PDC 1,

4 Recreation Policies Area 15 Objectives 1 and 2 PDC 1

The proposal satisfies the requirement of Objective 2 of Precinct 15 as it will provide an additional use (market) expanding the range of activities envisaged within the precinct on a site that is commercially developed (Old Spot Hotel) and supported within PDC 5 of the Precinct.

The market is retail in nature primarily offering produce (including local content) together with arts, craft and food stalls and will service the needs in part, both from a produce and entertainment point of view, of the broader community.

The market comprises no fixed structures and will operated twice weekly from 8.00am to 1.00pm from the carpark of the hotel.

Given its temporary nature (stalls erected and removed on the day), it could be argued that the proposal will have no greater detrimental impact than what currently exists (Old Spot Hotel and carpark) on the open space character intended for zone.

The market since operation in June 2015 has complimented the site, increased participation in the local park and trail facilities and has been well supported by the local community.

 

  1. Appearance of Land and Buildings (Amenity)

The proposal involves temporary canopies erected and removed on the day of the market.

No permanent structures are proposed, or erected.

Whilst noted, the relevance of objective 1 and the PDCs within the General Section (Design and Appearance) in this case is somewhat diminished as the canopies are not structures and temporary.

The intent of the objective and PDCs are linked to permanent structures on land, rather than the use of temporary gazebos.

The proposed temporary canopies are small in scale and size and clustered well away from the heritage listed Hotel and Main North Road, to the point where it could be argued that they have minimal visual impact on the locality and satisfy the requirements of PDC 7 and 9 of the Open Space Zone and PDC 5b of the precinct.

Heritage SA has supplied no objections to the inclusion of temporary structures of this type and the market has now operated for over 12 months without objections of any kind relating to the general appearance of the market in its current location.

  1. Building set-backs

The proposal involves temporary canopies erected and removed on the day of the market. The proposed temporary canopies are located well back from Main North Road (over 50 metres) separated from the road by a landscaped buffer and behind the current building line.

Given this, it ought to be the view that the proposal will have minimal visual impact on the existing streetscape.

  1. Impact on Retail Centres

The proposal provides for a retail trading area of approximately 1200m2.

Whilst the argument has been put that the proposed market may now fall under the definition of shop, given the retail nature of the market and its limited times of operation, assessment against the relevant objective and principles ought to concur, what it is proposed the Market does not hinder the development of centres.

The Development Plan envisages retail development with a gross leasable floor area greater than 250m2 within integrated centres.

Clearly the majority of stalls within the market are not unique (ie fruit and vegetable stalls, bakery products and the like) and could easily be located within centre zones, admittedly at some expense (leasing of premises and overheads).

The market provides stall holders with a substantially cheaper avenue to sell their products from temporary facilities.

Representations received during the original approval process, indicate the potential for the market to impact upon the trade of existing fixed premises selling the same products.

During the first 12 months of trading on the site, no adverse effects on local centres have been noted.

Shopping development that is more appropriately located outside of business centres and shopping zones or areas, should also be of a size and type which will not hinder the development or function of any centre zone.

The nearest centre to the subject property is the Elizabeth Vale Shopping Centre (1.5km approx) other major centres include:

  • Elizabeth South Shopping Centre (3.6km approx);
  • Elizabeth Town Centre (4.0km approx.); and
  • Salisbury Town Centre (4.5km approx.).

These centres provide more than the day to day needs of people living within the locality.

Based on the type of stalls, the primary purpose of the market is to sell produce, both locally and from interstate. The retail trading area (approximately 1200m2) on the days the market is running at full capacity may be considerable, but the market does not always operate at full capacity.

Add to that the limitation on operational times and weather restrictions that will inevitably undermine the ability of the Market to affect the performance of the centres.

The market will operate from the site twice a week between the hours of 8.00am and 1.00pm and become a permanent attraction to the locality.

The Wednesday operation only encompasses an area of approximately 350m2, and is utilised by local schools, so its impact on retail centres is of a minor nature.

It is clear the 1200m2 of retail trading area proposed for the market has not had a detrimental impact on uses within nearby centres.

Two of the four nearest centres are District Centres, Elizabeth Town Centre and Salisbury Town Centre. The other two, are Elizabeth Vale Shopping Centre on Sir John Rice Avenue, Elizabeth Vale (Suburban Activity Node Zone) and Elizabeth South Shopping Centre on Phillip Highway, Elizabeth South (Neighbourhood Centre Zone) which on inspection appeared to be operating at 100% occupancy.

Whilst potentially impacting on specific similar type businesses, I do not believe it could be argued that the market would hinder the development, function and viability of those centres.

  1. Car Parking and Access

Existing car parking on site for the Old Spot Hotel and bottle shop totals approximately 240 spaces.

This is made up of over 210 paved and line marked carparks at grade with the hotel and bottle shop and an additional 30 spaces in a grassed area at the top of the embankment at the southern end of the site.

Approximately 49 spaces of the northern carpark will be taken over by the market stalls and walkways leaving 191 carparks for the benefit of the market and hotel.

The Market has also improved access to the grassed overrun parking on the grassed area on top of the rear embankment and created another 25 spaces on the northern edge of the market to accommodate stall holder parking during Saturdays market trading.

There is no car parking standards that I am aware of for markets. That said, as the market is retail in nature, a car parking rate similar to a shop (7/100m2 of gross leasable area) as outlined in Table Sal/2 (Off Street Vehicle Parking Requirements) could be applied.

Gross leasable area (GLA) is defined in Schedule 1 of the Development Regulations 2008 as meaning; “The total floor area of a building excluding public or common tenancy areas such as malls, verandas or public toilets” The market covers a maximum 2000m2 of the northern carpark and comprises both stalls (approximately 60%) and walkways (approximately 40%).

With the GLA definition in mind and noting that the proposed market is not within a building or comprise leasable floor area, based on the car parking rate of 7/100m2, it could be assumed that the proposal would generate a demand of 84 spaces leaving approximately 107 spaces for hotel and bottle-shop use.

Site visits by Council staff during the course of the Special Event revealed that the proposed market required substantially more carparks than the 84 spaces envisaged for the retail trading area, although since operating for nearly 12 months, current parking facilities have been adequate.

The proposed market intends to operate on the subject land when hotel patronage is generally low, that being in the early – mid morning period. The nature of the proposed use is such that the peak demand (given the primary use is the sale of produce – fruit and vegetables) has been early – mid morning and thus coincide with the low period of the hotel.

This was confirmed by Council Staff observations during the initial trial periods. During the peak period of the market (approximately 9.30am -11.30am) Council staff observed that the carpark demand on site exceed supply.

The Market operators opened up added parking spaces and employed licensed parking operators to ensure access to parking spaces was improved

At the same time, the proposed stall holder’s staff carpark at the top of the embankment had no more than six vehicles parked there. Since then the Market operators have made changes to internal parking, resulting in spare customer parking spaces even during peak operating times.

Even during the markets grand opening where it was running at full capacity, there appeared to be no significant queuing or detriment impact on traffic movement on Main North Road. This appeared to be in part due to patrons of the market using the Carisbrooke Park public carpark on the west side of Main North Road adjacent the subject site and assistance by the Markets professional road traffic controllers.

Council staff during the busiest markets reported they also observed that during the markets busiest days from approximately 11.30am, car parking spaces were always available on the subject land with the carparks never reaching capacity.

Substantially more spaces were available in the Carisbrooke Park carpark during the same period.

The peak car parking demand associated with the market had passed and would continue to decrease till closing. Combined, it appeared that the subject land and Carisbrooke Park carpark provided adequate off road car parking for both uses on the subject land at peak demand (approximately 9.30am -11.00am).

Due to convenience, it is likely some market patrons are likely to use the Carisbrooke Park carpark irrespective of whether car parking spaces were available on the subject land.

The traffic management plan put forward by the market identifies intended traffic circulation on site during market days and includes details of signage to be erected. This plan has been followed by the market management and traffic controllers for the past 12 months, and is preforming well.

With this Traffic Management Plan in place, the relocation of stall holder vehicles to the proposed staff carpark as proposed and use of Carisbrooke Park carpark , the proposal easily satisfies the provisions of Objective 2 and provide safe and efficient movement into, out of and within the site.

 

  1. Landscaping; Existing landscaping is to be retained. No additional landscaping is proposed.

 

  1. Environmental management;

The proposal complies with the relevant requirements. Stormwater management for the site is currently in place. The proposed market will not generate any additional runoff flow.

The applicant has put measures in place that comply with Councils Health Department requirements relating to the management of waste water.

 

  1. Transportation (Movement of People and Goods)

The proposal generally satisfies the Development Plan requirements relating to this section.

The applicant has submitted a Traffic Management Plan in support of the proposal. The plan supports the northern crossover into the site as entry only and the southern crossover as exit only.

Traffic circulation on site will be managed to achieve this. The Traffic Management Plan will if properly instigated by the applicant provide safe access for vehicles into, out of the site and circulation within the site.

DPTI have reviewed the Traffic Management Plan prepared by the applicant (not the most recent plan) and supporting information and in principle have raised no objection subject to vehicles accessing the site from the northern crossover and exiting the site via the southern crossover as the applicant proposes.

Farm direct has had no adverse impact on local traffic flow in the last 12 months, and even during the abnormal busy promotional periods.

The Market operators have installed extensive internal signage and employ 2 professional traffic controllers during their Saturday markets, which have proven able to effectively prevent any adverse issues, and ensure safe use of the existing plan over the past 12 months of operation.

  1. Outdoor Advertisements;

The proposal will satisfy the requirements relating to outdoor advertisements.

All signs associated with the proposed use will be temporary. The main sign promoting the market will be an A-framed sign mounted on a trailer adjacent the northern entry into the site. All other signs apart from stall identification will be small directional signs to direct vehicle traffic on site.

The proposed signs will not result in the disfigurement of the local urban environment or result in visual clutter. The main sign advertising the market is not illuminated and of a size that is not likely to distract drivers on Main North Road from their primary driving task. It is not variable (changing message) thus satisfying a DPTI requirement.

 

CONCLUSION

The applicant has applied for a farmers market comprising a maximum of 40 stalls and occupying approximately 2000m2 of the northern carpark of the heritage listed Old Spot Hotel at 1955 Main North Road, Salisbury Heights.

The market intends to trade on the Wednesday and Saturday of each week between the hours of 8.00am and 1.00pm. Whilst the market is retail in nature, for the reasons outlined in the background section of this report, it should be assessed as an undefined use.

The Market has operated successfully for over 12 months, with excellent support from the local community as a whole.

The Department of Environment, Waste and Natural Resources (State Heritage Unit) have advised that the proposed market will not have any adverse impacts on the heritage listed Hotel.

The proposal underwent Category 3 notification. Six (6) representations were received. The key concerns raised by representors related to onsite car parking and traffic management and the external impact of the use on traffic movement on Main North Road and local streets.

The Market has overcome all these concerns, and has operated without any recent concerns.

The proposed market will support a maximum retail trading area of approximately 1200m2 comprising a variety of stalls. The Development Plan encourages development with retail floor areas greater than 250m2 within centre zones unless it can be proven that they do not hinder the development, function and viability of centres.

It is the view of the applicant that given the nature of the use (retail) and type of activity proposed (market), whist potentially impacting commercially on selected uses within centres (predominantly fruit and vegetable stores), the proposal will not detrimentally impact on the overall function and viability of the nearest centres.

ITEM 5.1.1 Page 30 City of Salisbury Development Assessment Panel Agenda – 21 July 2015 Item 5.1.1 On market days, 191 carpark spaces will be available on site for patrons of both the market and Old Spot Hotel and bottle-shop, since then the facilities have been improved.

It is clear given the nature of the use and from the councils own observations of the market at its busiest operational times, that the demand for onsite spaces during the peak period, exceeds onsite parking availability. That said, adequate parking is available on both the subject land and adjacent Carisbrooke Park carpark to accommodate the peak demand of the market.

I note that since the councils own observations, the Markets general trade has softened and even though this is the case, internal parking has been expanded to ensure even during special events, the Market is able to ensure they can handle any traffic flow in and out of the property.

Whist the Carisbrooke Park carpark has not been encouraged as a carpark ancillary to the market, it should be noted that it is a public carpark and available to everyone. Outside, of the peak market period, onsite parking provision appears to be in balance with or exceeds demand.

The Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (Traffic Safety) in principle support the proposal, the current success of the market in handling “Traffic Safety” should have alleviated any concerns DPTI may have had.

The Market has submitted and adhered to an internal traffic management plan during the past 12 months of operation, which has been a success.

The applicant can see no valid reason for this application not to proceed to approval, based on the application itself and the performance of the market over the past 14 months in operation and over 4 years in the Salisbury area.

 

Mark Aldridge

Farm Direct community markets.

COMPLYING FARM DIRECT AS A SHOPPING CENTER (initial proposal)

July 16, 2016

Farm direct Salisbury “merits argument”

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT

market and some cars, x trail 050

“Farm Direct community markets have been successfully operating in the Salisbury area for well over 3 years”.

The markets huge success is evidence in its community support and by how well it is supported by the Salisbury small business community, this is exaggerated by the very fact upon relocation to our new site at the Old Spot hotel, our old location behind PALS liqueur has been able to also rebuild and attract continued support.

In the Salisbury area alone, this represents hundreds of local jobs and increased employment opportunities, while delivering support services for a variety of local small businesses.

The recent legal fight to undermine our market and its development approvals, has been trade and competition based and nothing to do with development issues or safety concerns. Development law was never written with the intention to undermine competition, but rather to ensure any change of use is in line with community expectations, and Farm Direct has the majority support of the local community.

Our recently approved development application as “Merit use” ought not to be overlooked, as Community support is the founding basis of the word “merit” in development law and planning.

Farm Direct has a successful track record in the Salisbury area for over 3 years, and have proven our ability to operate on the current site without any adverse effect to the location or surrounding area. In fact we leave no lasting imprint on the site or the local environment at all.

The fact that development law and planning has overlooked stalls, markets and fetes in their definitions, allowing the recent redefining to include a stall in the definition of the word shop, is due to the fact community events were never considered developments, but rather events, events of a regular basis, have been a part of the city of Salisbury history since its inception.

The location of Farm Directs present Salisbury Height’s Market at the Old Spot hotel is on private land, land that’s primary use is retail based, the zoning of “Open Space” is based more on the adjacent river and walk ways/trails, than the area built to have its primary use to be that of a car park for retail and hotel trading.

Before I touch on the merits of our application in an area presently zoned “Open Space” now we are considered non-complying, I would like to compare the merit of our application with the city of Salisbury’s planning objectives.

Salisbury City has a range or initiatives that drive its development planning agenda, these are based around a range of ideals that work in with the State’s current planning objectives, they include;

Salisbury – Sustainable Futures – Sustainable Futures is a local response to current and future needs of the Salisbury community. It seeks to address the unique challenges of Salisbury by developing and benefiting from a range of opportunities and partnerships.

Farm Direct offers a range of opportunities for the North, that interact well with every aspect of Salisbury’s future and current objectives, through job creation, environmental benefits, health and exercise, affordable access to fresh local produce, innovation in primary production, attracting community participation and helping bring more income to the city.

Farm Direct not only leaves the area it uses clean, we also ensure we remove litter from the surrounding trails and river banks.

 

Key Direction (1) Shaping Our Future – Develop our City as prosperous and progressive by attracting and sustaining increased business investment and by providing accessible learning opportunities to grow and support a skilled workforce.

Farm Direct community market helps employ over 100 people directly and as we grow, so does the employment opportunities, especially as an avenue to support and nurture new small and micro business opportunities in the area.

 

Key Direction 2: Sustaining Our Environment – Become a Sustainable City in which its residents and businesses embrace sustainability best practices as part of their day-to-day lives and activities.

Farm Directs stall holders, are growing and producing to suit customer demand, helping alleviate waste, we operate in an environmentally sustainable manner, and any excess produce is used to help feed the most vulnerable in our community.

 

Key Direction 3: Salisbury the Living City – Maintain a strong and vibrant community by providing safe and supportive environments that promote opportunity, healthy and creative lifestyles.

Farm Direct promotes healthy lifestyles, by getting the local community out of their homes, walking around our market area and meeting their neighbours. We promote using the local open spaces, and eating healthy by promoting and offering local fresh affordable produce to the Salisbury community.

We utilising local cooking demonstrations, involve the local schools and community groups at our Midweek markets, and encouraging community participation.

 

Key Direction (4) Salisbury Success – Remain a high performing and innovative organisation that strives to achieve excellence in every area

Community and Farmers markets are a sought after community asset by most suburban and regional councils, most present locations where markets like ours operate are in similar if not the same zoning that Farm Direct presently operate.

A similar market to ours has just been complied in the Gawler Township, located in a carpark on “open space” zoning, in that case, the council themselves are in partnership with the market, offering free land use, secure contracts and investing over $60,000 of local rate payer’s moneys a year ensuring their market has the best facilities and marketing.

Farm Direct offers all the same benefits without any costs to the Salisbury council or there rate payers, offering excellence in our operations and facilities, and assisting in ensuring the supply of fresh affordable produce to those rate payers living on or below the poverty line.

Farm Direct community markets looks forward to assisting the Salisbury community and the council in its future directives at every level.

 

Salisbury’s Policy & Planning Stream (2)

Your policy; “Health and Wellbeing Based on the premise that wellbeing covers physical, emotional and financial aspects of life, encompasses social integration, respect for diversity, community participation and a safe, vibrant and creative environment.”

Farm Direct fulfils all the aims of this initiative, assisting in financial assistance to those on limited budgets, the promotion of social integration and community participation, we promote diversity through offering produce from a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, in a vibrant and creative environment. This clearly supports our original merit based application, and fulfils the merits required to be considered an acceptable form of any non-complying application process for the proposed location.

 

Goal 2.3 – Health and Nutrition “City of Salisbury”

Your position; There is increasing awareness of the importance of primary health measures, nutrition education and access to affordable healthy food – plus regular physical exercise – to offset preventable conditions such as obesity.

While this is an issue across communities, there is a need to ensure that people experiencing financial disadvantage – plus those who have not had the benefit of health and nutrition education – have the opportunity to learn about and access ‘healthy’ food and health behaviours (such as exercise).

There is the opportunity to provide these opportunities to children and families via schools, community centres, sporting groups, recreation centres and other community facilities.

It is here I believe Farm Direct is the best initiative in the city of Salisbury to fulfil these criteria from a single bi weekly event, with any added cost to the city and its rate payers.

  1. We work with local schools to provide opportunities for them to further their education relating to healthy eating
  2. We offer excellent facilities to promote family and community activities, by getting family’s to come to our market do their shopping as a family and embrace the local parks, walking trails and play equipment
  3. Farm Direct offers free cooking classes, tasting, and healthy eating behaviour.
  4. We provide access to affordable healthy produce, and promote healthy eating in general.
  5. We get regular feedback both on site and on line from our customers that support these statements, from feeling healthier, losing weight, and even more so seeing their children embracing healthy food over fast food and processed sugars.

 

Farm Directs strategy is to offer assistance and support to local small business and primary production, while promoting healthy eating and sustainability.

  1. Support the health and safety of the community.
  2. Ensure the services and infrastructure we provide meet community needs.
  3. Facilitate information and communication opportunities.
  4. Ensure local community resources are accessible to every sector of the community.
  5. Promote increased civic participation in community and Council activities.
  6. Identify and actively support and promote the recreation and leisure needs of the community.
  7. Enhance learning and employment opportunities across our community.
  8. Strengthen and unite the local community.

 

 

THE PRINCIPLES OF DEVELOPMENT CONTROL FOR “OPEN SPACE AND RECREATIONAL AREAS, includes several sections that support our present market model;

I have highlighted in bold where we directly adhere to the current “Open Space” zoning regulations.

Farm Direct leaves a clean foot print; we account for a small minority use of the land, and fulfil a majority of the directives driving present development planning.

2 (a) Facilitate a range of formal and informal recreation activities

(b) Provide for the movement of pedestrians and cyclists

3 Open space should be designed to incorporate:

(a) pedestrian, cycle linkages to other open spaces, centres, schools and public transport nodes

(b) park furniture, shaded areas and resting places to enhance pedestrian comfort

(c) safe crossing points where pedestrian routes intersect the road network

(h) Opportunities to be active and participate in physical activity

  1. Buildings in open space, including structures and associated car parking areas, should be designed, located and of a scale that is unobtrusive and does not detract from the desired open space character.

11 Development in open space should:

(a) Be clustered where practical to ensure that the majority of the site remains open

13 Landscaping associated with open space and recreation areas should:

(a) Not compromise the drainage function of any drainage channel

(b) Provide shade and windbreaks along cyclist and pedestrian routes, around picnic and barbecue

areas and seating, and in car parking areas

(d) Enhance the visual amenity of the area and complement existing buildings

(e) Be designed and selected to minimise maintenance costs

14 Development of recreational activities in areas not zoned for that purpose should be compatible with surrounding activities.

15 Recreation facilities development should be sited and designed to minimise negative impacts on the amenity of the locality.

 

 

COMMUNITY PLAN acceptance

Objective 1.2 Build a local community that is proud of Salisbury

Objective 1.4 Create a vibrant and active, event-filled Council area

Objective 2.1 Physical and social infrastructure to match population growth

Objective 2.5 Manage growth through the real connection of people and places

Objective 2.6 Local economic activity to create local job opportunities and generate increased local wealth

Objective 3.7 Create a safe, community environment

Objective 5.1 Support and encourage community teamwork

Objective 5.4 Create and support community partnerships that contribute to the

Farm Direct is an asset to the City of Salisbury, a draw card that attracts many into the Salisbury area and compliments the many innovative directives of its host city.

If the only objections are those of a market competitive nature, there is no reason to deny the development application based on the markets merits.

Farm Direct is well supported by the local community, it is in line with council and state government initiatives and brings people into the area, and the community together.

Mark Aldridge

 

Photos below are of the Market during trading, and show our Wednesday market entertaining local school children in an attempt to educate on healthy eating.

 

HOW TO RE RUN THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION, TO ENSURE DEMOCRACY IS SERVED

July 15, 2016

HOW TO RE RUN THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION.

voting

Mark Aldridge for “Electoral Commissioner” 🙂

 

  1. ENSURE ELECTORAL ROLLS ARE ACCURATE (SPOT CHECKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY)
  2. MAKE THE ROLLS ELECTRONIC, (TO OVERCOME MULTIPLE VOTERS)
  3. ENSURE VOTERS HAVE A BOOKLET DELIVERED, WHICH INCLUDES HOW TO VOTE, INCLUDES SAMPLE BALLOT PAPERS AND A LIST OF CANDIDATES WITH BRIEF DETAILS AND CONTACT INFORMATION. (TO ENSURE VOTERS CAN CAST AN INFORMED VOTE) (Booklets like this were on offer up until a few years ago, and are used in council elections)
  4. MAKE ALL VOTES OPTIONAL PREFERENTIAL.
  5. VOTERS TO PRESENT ID BEFORE THEY CAN VOTE.
  6. SUPPLY PAPER BALLOTS WITH PERMANENT MARKERS, ALL MISTAKES TO BE ISSUED A REPLACEMENT BALLOT PAPER, WITH ALL SPOILED BALLOTS TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR.
  7. DENY ACCESS TO THE ELECTION PROCESS TO ALL CANDIDATES AND THEIR PARTIES, INCLUDING POSTAL APPLICATIONS & MAIL INTERCEPTION.
  8. ALLOW ALL AEC WORKERS TO COME FORWARD, SHOULD THEY SEE ANYTHING UNTOWARD.
  9. HAVE LIVE STREAM CAMERA IN EVERY POLLING BOOTH AND DURING SCRUTINEERING.
  10. MAKE IT LAW, THAT IF THE MEDIA ARE TO PUBLISH AN OVERVIEW OF ANY ELECTORATE, THEY “MUST” INCLUDE EVERY CANDIDATES NAME AS A MINIMUM REQUIREMENT.
  11. CHANGE THE COUNTING OF VOTES TO ENSURE THOSE ELECTED HAVE THE MOST SUPPORT, BY ABOLISHING THE TWO PARTY COUNTING SYSTEM.
  12. RE-OPEN ALL THE POLLING BOOTHS AND RESTORE ALL MOBILE SERVICES, WITH STREAMED VIDEO COVERAGE.
  13. EMPLOY PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES TO SECURE EVERY POLLING BOOTH FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ELECTION UNTIL THE FINALISATION OF THE COUNT.
  14. ENSURE EVERY CANDIDATE IS CAPABLE AT LAW OF BEING ELECTED.
  15. ENSURE ALL BALLOT PAPERS HAVE THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE NEXT TO THEIR VOTING SQUARE, AND IF LOGOS ARE TO BE USED, ALL CANDIDATES CAN UTILIZE THEM.
  16. MAKE IT LAW THAT ALL FUTURE ELECTORAL LAW AMENDMENTS ARE MADE BY AN INDEPENDENT AUTHORITY, THROUGH A TRANSPARENT COMMUNITY BASED PROCESS.
  17. MAKE IT LAW THAT ANY MISSING BALLOT PAPERS THAT EXCEED ANY WINNING MARGIN, RESULTS IN A RE-ELECTION PROCESS FOR THAT ELECTORATE OR HOUSE.
  18. ANY CANDIDATE OR PARTY THAT MAKES AN ELECTORAL PROMISE MUST FOLLOW THROUGH TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY OR IS REMOVED FROM OFFICE, AND THE CANDIDATE THAT CAME SECOND IN THAT ELECTORATE TAKES THEIR PLACE.
  19. IF ANY VOTER ARRIVES TO VOTE AND CANNOT THROUGH ANY ISSUE RESULTING FROM A DEFICIENCY OF ANY KIND, THEY ARE PROVIDED WITH A CARD TO ALLOW THEM TO VOTE ON A FOLLOWING DATE.
  20. MINIMUM JAIL SENTANCES FOR ANY ELECTORAL CORRUPTION OR VOTE MANIPULATION.

Mark Aldridge

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENTS DAY JULY 2 2016

June 28, 2016

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENTS DAY JULY 2 2016

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This week you have a chance to change politics, you can address political mediocrity, not necessarily based on a massive choice of inspirational candidates, but by sending a strong message that we the people demand our voices are heard.

Taking away the power of the two party systems, is the only way we can bring about political and social change.

Before globalization, Australia was leading the world, we had the best health care, topping the list with 17 beds per thousand in our hospitals, we led the world in innovation, research, small business flourished so did manufacturing, we made everything, exported it, and when you brought Aussie made, you know it would last.

We were a proud nation leading on the world stage; we were the envy of the world.

We exported more than we purchased, which created jobs, security, and our nation prospered, we were in deed the lucky country.

We now we have around 2 beds per thousand in our hospitals, we sold of our medical patents, we undermine innovation, Industry has been pushed of shore taking our job security with it, all in the name of globalisation and free trade.

Since we opened up our nation to globalization we have lost more than our rights, our self-determination, our sovereignty, we have lost our way and our way of life and our place as one of the best nations on earth.

Out of touch politicians with no idea how to recover are now selling the farm so to speak, selling our primary industries, farms and water to countries that would never let us buy theirs, they are now told what to do by people we never elected, again under this new global agenda.

Our supposed representatives lost sight of our long term future, coming up with short term answers to long term problems, increase our population by immigration, borrowing money to send of shore to help others. When that money ran out, they sold of our infrastructure, ports, and power production not to find money for us, to appease agreements made with others, again people we do not meet or get to elect.

This election, most of the candidates not only back this agenda, they want to increase immigration, increase foreign aid, borrow more money, make selling the farms even easier, and do that by further reducing our services, our health care, our education and undermining our sovereignty.

England voted to restore its democracy, just as we should, but as you will see those who wish to dictate our way of life, those that want to engineer our society will really step up, and I would say in doing so they will expose themselves and their agenda.

We do not need free trade, trade deals what allow others to buy our farms yet won’t sell us theirs, and we don’t need to compete with those on $10 a week, because we never had to, we don’t need to buy our vehicles from overseas, we used to build and export ours to them, and we can build them again.

Don’t fall for the bullshit that globalization is good, or the only way forward.

We have to demand change now, we still have the know-how, the factories and the infrastructure to rebuild, we still own some farms and infrastructure, we can pay of our debt and buy back the farm, but it will take hard work and sacrifice, the same hard work and sacrifice that built this country in the first place.

We can ensure that sacrifice is shared with the corporate sector, by demanding they pay their fair share of the tax burden, by the re-introduction of tariff protections, and by abolishing any trade deals that disadvantage us as a nation.

We need to limit immigration, fix our trade deficit, restore protectionism, cut back foreign aid and get our back yard in order, and the last thing we need is foreign body’s, and dodgy trade deals telling us how to run our nation, because it is what has destroyed all the hard work of our forefathers in the first place.

The government and their Media mates have you believing all of this rubbish is good for you, and that people like me, that speak the truth are nutbags, but in your heart you know the truth.

Like the English BREXIT vote, we can take back that which is rightfully ours, our rights, our liberties and our freedoms, and regain the label of the lucky country, and then we can use that position to help those in need.

Not by sending them money, but providing the services they need.

The two party political systems have been written by the two parties’ to empower the two parties, they are nothing to do with democracy, in fact they work against democracy, the concept of a free and informed choice, against our sovereignty and our ability to determine our nation’s future and protect its peoples best interests.

Every term in government we give these people, in every country, is leading us further away from recovery; their election means less social services, less real jobs, increased selling of our strategic assets, farms and water. The further these parties lead us in a downward spiral, the harder it will become to rebuild.

All we have to do is deny them our vote, deny imported produce our money, and deny the media the power to educate us.

Be the change you want to see in this world, not just how you vote, but how you spend, and what you share on social media, and more than anything else, how you treat your fellow people.

Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for Makin……. A difference!

Independent calls for an overhaul of private job agencies.

June 13, 2016

 

Independent calls for an overhaul of private job agencies.

jobs

Recent government reports wish to give private job agencies control over the incomes of unemployed people.

Handing job agencies the power to dock the Centrelink payments of unemployed workers for crimes such as failing to sign a jobs plan on the spot or not updating their résumé, is more power than these agencies should be awarded.

As an employer on the other end of this problem, I have already endured issues when it comes to trialling a new staff member, where once I was supported and encouraged to increase my work force. These NGO’s are making it impossible to create casual work with a view to full time positions.

With the dole already $391 below the poverty line, for many unemployed workers, deductions to their income support will place them in severe financial distress.

I am already receiving reports from job seekers getting cut off from their payments for missing an appointment, even when that is because they have a job interview or have found a day’s work.

“By proposing that job agencies should be given new unprecedented powers to financially penalise unemployed workers, we are sending a clear message to the employment services industry that these tactics are acceptable”

“I would like to see an inquiry to address these issues and to ascertain how these agencies are preforming” and if they are not pulling their weight, just maybe we can invest our tax payer dollars more wisely.

I am hearing some of these agencies are putting casual workers through hell, where they should be concentrating on training people for those positions that are available.

Surely work for the dole, was not about endless interviews, or control of the unemployed by NGO’s, but via constructive opportunities and local community needs.

How can a genuine unemployed worker find a job, when they are spending their days appeasing private organisations, let alone ones that can control their lively hood in such a way?

The community needs genuine employment opportunities, and that is best achieved by offering innovative support services and funding solutions to local small business, local markets and industry.

 

Mark Aldridge, Independent Candidate for Makin.

Independent candidate wants to end “Discount Democracy”

June 7, 2016

Independent candidate wants to end “Discount Democracy”

democracy 1

 

The Australian electoral commission for the past 2 decades has endured funding cuts, where one would hope we would expect increased funding in relation to secure democracy in this country.

Where once every Australian home received a now to vote guide in the mail, to ensure they knew how to vote, what their voting rights were, where the polling booths were, and how to make applications, all we receive now is propaganda.

Even worse, political parties are writing electoral law, even though they have the most to gain from structural biases, they are now even handling electoral applications, like postal ballot applications and the like.

Return addresses for postal ballot applications are now the head offices of political parties, in fact the political parties are now even printing electoral material, something most voters would never support and undermines the security of the ballot.

For those voters confused by new laws, or those who are either first time voters or new to this country, a call to the AEC to have questions answered are now being answered by Centrelink workers whose recent crash course in electoral law is resulting in misinformation.

Australia still embraces pencils and cardboard boxes, yet continue to claim to be one of the best democracy’s on the planet, and maybe we once were.

It is interesting to note here, that council elections are now afforded more robust electoral practices, the electorate receive a how to vote guide, a list of the candidates and in some areas, a basic overview of what the candidates stand for, so why are state and federal elections not considered worthy of these reforms?

Voting in a democracy is meant to be all about the Free will of an informed electorate, and the return of an election guide could ensure that happens.

Voters need to know how to vote, where to vote and know who the candidates are, I personally would toss in the freedom to only preference those they prefer, and only having to vote if they are inspired to, but I doubt parliament will support too much freedom.

In recent years election facts are clear that the system is failing, with missing ballot papers on the rise as are invalid votes, and one would hope that every vote was more important than that.

When winning margins can be a handful of votes, one would expect we ought to ensure every vote is treasured and protected.

I have been in and out of the court of disputed returns for 20 years fighting for electoral reform that empowers this nation’s voters. Simply because I truly believe we can repair the divide between the people and their representatives, by simply ensuring a fair and transparent system of democratic practice.

Bring back the how to vote guide, because democracy is the corner stone of society, and deserves more than the current discount system we are forced to endure.

 

Mark Aldridge

Independent candidate for Makin & community advocate.

08 82847482 / 0403379500

Mark Aldridge Submission on RSPCA WA “Parliamentary inquiry”

July 2, 2015

My name is Mark Aldridge; I own an animal sanctuary and have a very very strong interest in animal welfare legislation and its reform.

Having studied the actions of the RSPCA both in Australia and the UK, which has involved ongoing investigations, involvement in prosecutions and the study of past court actions throughout Australia, I feel it both pertinent to supply the WA parliament with a submission and offer to address any questions raised as a result of its inclusion.

I have met with many WA stake holders, local sanctuary’s and shelters, attended several court cases, and met and interviewed past and present RSPCA employees, inspectors, board members. I have liaised with departmental staff and read the briefs pertaining to many RSPCA instigated prosecutions.

I have done the same in many states of Australia over the past 4 years, and have compiled and read thousands of pages of documents and FOI documents, most of which pertain to WA animal welfare case.

In brief the RSPCA as many know, they were formed initially to protect the best interests of animals, in today’s world they have expanded into a huge corporate interest, a very powerful one at that, from running shelters, extensive fundraising programs, powers of prosecution throughout Australia, to profiting from the sale of most animal related products even food.

Unfortunately for animals and their owners, whether than be farmed, companion or native animals, as the RSPCA have grown, scrutiny of how they have grown and how they have used their increase powers has not.

Even though Western Australian law does have the best procedural guidelines in place to ensure a fair and equitable use of awarded powers under animal welfare legislation, if those powers are neither defined or policed, abuse of power can be expected.

In Australia we have animal welfare legislation to protect those without a voice, the power to police animal welfare law is vested with 3 organisations, local councils, police services and the Royal Society for the protection of animals, with the later seen as the law, by most organisations, even the courts themselves.

The shocking fact is neither the legislation, the procedural guidelines nor the structural integrity of adequate prosecution policy is being upheld, by the department or those empowered by it.

Prosecutions under the Animal welfare Act 2002 must meet a certain criteria, they must be initiated by an appointed officer/inspector, not a private entity, they must meet the Department of Agriculture and Food’s procedural guidelines by way of meeting a number of assessment criteria’s, and then be signed off by the Director General and the government’s solicitors.

The pertinent question here is why have most recent actions/prosecutions been able to continue when they have met none of these safeguards, let alone any of the criteria applied to other government empowered officers.

In the most recent case after over 16 months of supposed litigation, the courts themselves were still demanding information from the prosecution, which just happens to be the RSPCA who we all know have no legal right to even bring charges in the first place.

I will overview one case “RSPCA WA V’s May” which has resulted in illegal seizure of animals, the unwarranted destruction of many of these innocent animals, and costs sought of near 1 million dollars from the innocent party. There are many other cases both in WA and in other states of Australia that have indeed grabbed the attention of the authorities, yet to date those empowered to ensure awarded powers are wielded with equity, have chosen to sit back and see what happens, ignoring their mandate to act in a timely manner and to protect innocent parties, the carers or the innocent animals they ought to protect.

So this inquiry before parliament best go beyond the actions of the RSPCA and address how powers under the animal welfare act are both awarded and applied.

The Department of Agriculture and food in WA, who administer the Animal Welfare Act of 2002, is the very department that appoint inspectors, yet they appear to be allowing them free reign, even when they are made aware of any abuse of power.

The ministers appoint inspectors under the legislation, awarding powers akin those of the police, yet appear to turn a blind eye to how those powers are used and abused, by the very inspectors they appoint.

The RSPCA pay these inspectors through direct funding from the government on behalf of the Taxpayer, but who do they work for, do they work for the minister to act in the best interests of the people in the protection of all animals under animal welfare law, or do they work for the RSPCA to protect the royal society’s financial and pecuniary interests?

The answer to this important questions was answered by the courts recently in WA, with the adjudicator coming as I do, to the conclusion that inspectors are indeed working for DAFWA

The case in question came from the Freedom Of Information Commissioner published 8/12/14 and referred to the case in question.

The RSPCA have no powers under the animal welfare act, none what so ever, this has been proven time after time, and recently confirmed by the Honourable Ken Baston MLC in recent correspondence and by way of interpretation of most Animal welfare legislation across Australia.

Yet prosecutions all over Australia are brought by the RSPCA in their name, in every case in WA these prosecutions are invalid at law, because the RSPCA do not have the right to bring a private prosecution, other states of Australia are not protected at all.

The only people empowered by animal welfare legislation to act on behalf of the government to administer the legislation are inspectors and authorised officers themselves, and there are procedural guidelines in place to ensure any powers used are in line with community expectations, to ensure they are just, transparent and accountable.

In WA the guidelines are found under a separate piece of legislation called the DAFWA Compliance, Enforcement and prosecution policy.

In fact any animals seized under animal welfare legislation, or indeed any animal forfeitured through the courts, become the property of the crown, they become under care of the state, not the RSPCA.

Therefore it is the minster that must answer for the actions of the inspectors, and is in control in relation to the destiny of seized and forfeiture animals in the RSPCA’s care. The minster and the director of the department have the ability to award such powers, to define them and even take them away, so any misuse of power falls firmly in their laps.

In WA whether it is the police or the inspectors appointed by the minister to act on the peoples behalf, they must comply with Compliance, enforcement and prosecution policy, before they use their powers to bring prosecutions of any kind.

The concept here is to ensure they promote consistent enforcement actions across all sections of government policy; it is to guide and assist officers in the performance of their functions, encourage a pro-active compliance approach where staff are confident and supported in their roles.

It is here we find a total absence in relation to adherence to policy, with the RSPCA themselves deciding the rolls of the inspectors, and even bringing actions against members of the public in the name of the RSPCA itself, which is nothing more than a total abuse of power, in fact abuse of the court process, because the RSPCA are not empowered to do so.

I will break from procedural issues to high light a pertinent issue related to both government funding the expectations by the RSPCA for the receipt of such funding.

The Department of Agriculture recently awarded the RSPCA with a massive grant in exchange for the RSPCA turning away from the agriculture sector, in particular the export industry. I believe this means the RSPCA were paid by government to ask government officers (RSPCA Inspectors) to turn a blind eye to their legislative mandate, for financial gain?

In WA private prosecutions are not allowed at any level, so any document filed in the courts in the name of the RSPCA ought never to have been accepted, where that action involves charges of any kind.

This raises a raft of important issues for the inquiry to consider, and for the members to take back to their party rooms, because the time I have spent in the WA courts have seen me witness a culture of “The RSPCA WA must know best” immediately undermining due process.

(Recent appeals to higher courts may better clarify this situation)

Cost efficiency and public interest are currently not taken into account in direct conflict with DAFWA procedural guidelines; one has to ask, if the minister or the government condone such actions, or were actually unaware?

In the absence of enforceable policy and procedural guidelines we see a tendency of taking all charges to court, where even little evidence exists, even where the offence is trivial or technical, or an alternate strategy could deliver a better overall outcome, and this is well known by the department to not be in the public interest, and is not effective use of public moneys, a question the minister in charge ought to answer.

The major issue that arises as a result of the minister and the departments turning a blind eye, is the ability of the RSPCA itself to bring charges and then use the court process for financial gain, in fact in most cases studies, abuse of process is the modes operandi, with cases dragged out until a respondent is out of money. The RSPCA can then arrange a one sided plea bargain tactic to illicit huge costs. The society’s books themselves in many states show these prosecution practices as a major money winner, something that doesn’t come close to fulfilling community expectations.

In the past couple of years, a variety of RSPCA senior staff have quit or have been fired as a result of questioning these tactics, and are more than willing to front an enquiry, yet to blame the Society for all these issues, overlooks the fact that it is DAFWA and the minister who have allowed this to happen.

Every animal seized is in their name, every animal euthanized is done so with their consent, and every animal forfeitured under the legislation is forfeitured to the minister, so many questions are now deserving of answers.

If the animals seized by the RSPCA and on sold, has that money been rightfully handed over to the minister/taxpayer?

If the RSPCA are allowed by the minister to bring charges, and they fail, it ought to be the minister that coughs up, on behalf of the public, but are the public being made aware of any of this?

In recent times DAFWA have coughed up in compensation out of the tax payers purse, so one would think they would be placing more scrutiny on those bringing charges in on their behalf, even more so when the department are well aware that this is an ongoing problem.

In the case of the RSPCA V May, animals were seized from a woman who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their rescue, in the most these were healthy animals, some were undergoing medical treatment, and others had just been rescued, raising the question of the minister, is it now illegal for individuals to rescue animals, or has the minister awarded that right solely to the RSPCA?

If not for the personal enquiries of Mrs may herself, the department responsible for administration of the law, would never have become involved, and now that they are aware, why did they not step in, is a question every Western Australian should be asking.

This seizure did not meet with the compliance and enforcement policy, the first charges were invalid and therefore dropped and new charges laid, it could be said even these new charged are invalid at law, and in neither case were the procedural guidelines met, in fact the RSPCA continue to totally ignore DAFWA policy, as if they are above the law.

The RSPCA refused to take the animals medication when they seized them or even converse with the animal’s veterinarian, why? Is the animal welfare act still about the best interests of the animals, because I am sure community expectations are that it ought to be.

The RSPCA’s first port of call before the seizure took place was the media, so was this seizure al bout fund raising publicity? If they indeed knew that had made a mistake from the onset, was it too late as a result of the media being on site, to do the right thing?

After 4 months of having this woman’s animals, the legislation is clear that they should then be returned, and the State government Administrative tribunal all but ordered this to occur, but the RSPCA could not comply, as they had killed many of the animals.

The RSPCA then pressed criminal charges against Mrs May, not only did they have no right to start a private prosecution, but even in the event an inspector decided to press such charges, why were they able to do so, without the ministers permission?

I note the minster and the director general had their own staff in attendance, so I sincerely hope they are not going to pull the “We didn’t know this was happening” card.

All of these animals at law have been seized with the minsters consent, so it is up to the minster to explain why they had been seized, why they were been killed and why they were not been returned.

This is only one example of abuse of powers by the RSPCA WA, with over 40 similar cases identified in the past 5 years alone.

After 16 months the original prosecution was dropped against Mrs. May and all new charges were pressed, yet once again, DAFWA policy was again ignored, the costs being sort by the RSPCA against Mrs May are fast approaching 1 million dollars, begging the question how the minster believes these costs are in line with his department’s policy.

I shall take this opportunity to remind parliament of the departments Compliance, enforcement and prosecution policy.

The department’s policy starts off with the most basic guidelines, openness and transparency, consistency, and cost efficiency and public interest criteria.

2.2 enforcement criteria takes into account whether there has been a failure to comply with any formal requests, lawful direction or notice given by an inspector or authorised officer.

Starting here alone, Mrs May was never given and formal directions, after the seizure of one animal, a rabbit of all things, she phoned the RSPCA over and over asking what more she could do to comply, having already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on vet bills alone, she was more than willing to do whatever was needed to comply with any directions the RSPCA may have made.

I will continue with this case, as it mimics the way in which the RSPCA have been using their powers all over Australia in the last decade.

Mrs May had complied with all local government inspections, inspections by officers of the local government empowered under the very same animal welfare legislation that seeks to empower the RSPCA officers.

Mrs May had no history of noncompliance, the public interest ideals were never applied, and at no time did the RSPCA or its officers provide support or indeed even guidelines to meet, they returned several days later with a warrant for the wrong address, Mrs May still allowed them access to the right address, where they seized every animal, even those in perfect health, why was this allowed, how did the minster believe this was in the public’s or the animals best interests?

The only precedent set by these actions is to deter the public from taking the rescue of injured or dumped animals into their own hands, in direct conflict with the animal welfare act and community expectations.

Where was the written warning, expected under the policy guidelines, there were no administrative sanctions, and at no stage were the principles of prosecution applied.

I will throw in here a vital word “Intent” how in hell can any person have their animals seized and criminal charges applied, when their only intent was to rescue and rehabilitate injured or abused animals, let alone by the very organisation the public help fund to do the very same task?

I hope Parliament after this inquiry consider the missing word “Intent” when writing any welfare related legislation.

It is without doubt DAFWA’s job to ensure the inspectors they empower under their legislation are working in the best interests of the department and its own guidelines, and I can see nowhere in this particular case or any recent prosecutions where this has been happening.

If indeed the minister does not step in when appropriate and a prosecution is lost, the costs involved will have to be met by the minister, and I am sure the taxpayer s will not be very happy at all.

3.5 Public interest

A; The seriousness or triviality of the offence, or that is of a technical nature only.

The RSPCA response month after they illegally started litigation in their corporate name, was that this was a serious offence, that Mrs may kept the animal in filthy conditions

Interestingly the animals were seized from temporary enclosures while the original areas were being renovated as a result of the RSPCA telling Mrs May days earlier they were not happy with the accommodation, and in respect video evidence clearly shows the RSPCA’s statement here to be incorrect and obviously out of time in respect to compliance procedures.

It would be worthy so say that in the May case, the woman was simply rescuing animals with the support of several local veterinarians and the local council, if the issue was the amount of animals, then advice could have been given, notices issued or support offered. The case is trifling in nature as a direct result of no malice or intent to cause harm.

B; Any Mitigating or aggravated circumstances

The RSPCA’s response when DAFWA noticed they had side stepped legislative protocol was that Mrs May doesn’t believe in routine vaccinations and flea treatments, a statement that disregards any facts.

Mrs May has extensive records that show clear intent to vaccinate and treat for fleas, with veterinarian receipts in the tens of thousands in the past few years alone, which were she offered to show the RSPCA inspectors

C; The age, mental ability, physical health, mental health or special infirmity of the alleged offenders or a witness.

DAFWA have already confirmed that Mrs May had the capabilities to look after the animals in her care, as this 72 year old has the support of leading veterinarians, an at call worker and the support of the Animal protection society president.

Never forgetting all of these animals would be dead if not for Marianna Mays actions.

D; The alleged offender’s previous history, in relation to the relevant compliance activity.

The RSPCA marked this section as N/A

Mrs May has been carrying our animal rescue for over a decade without any performance issues or complaints from any parties, if the RSPCA had issued orders of any kind, Mrs May would have complied, no orders had ever been sought, and no previous complaints of any kind exist.

E; The degree of culpability of the alleged offender in connection with the offence.

No offence under the act was sighted; the very fact animals with health concerns were on the property was the direct result of rescues, not the adverse actions of the animal rescuer.

F; The effect on public order

Mrs May by way of taking feral, sick and injured animals of the street and housing and treating them

 

G; whether the prosecution would be perceived as counterproductive, for example bringing the law into disrepute.

The RSPCA’s response after the fact, was that the public would be horrified if Mrs May was not prosecuted, given the number of animals and the level of neglect

Mrs May had every rescued animal vet checked and treated without regard to cost, the RSPCA refused to look at the records for these animals, refused to speak with her vets, and also refused to take the medication the sick animals were prescribed.

For a charity with no powers of prosecution, to prosecute at law a person preforming a community service could only be seen as counterproductive, and an abuse of process at law, which not only brings the law into disrepute, but undermines public confidence in the Department of Agriculture and Food, and its application of animal welfare legislation.

H; The ability and efficiency of any alternate to prosecution.

The RSPCA in their statement after the fact claimed “Civil application for the forfeiture of the animals was an option”

The RSPCA did not apply for a forfeiture order, opting to keep the animals in inadequate enclosures that by their own admissions, causing over 20% to be killed by the society, all the while charging Mrs May between $40,000 and $50,000 per month for storage and veterinary costs.

In many cases Australia wide, holding animals where it becomes a financial benefit to do so, an issues that best be taken of the table.

Support, assistance, or even compliance orders all remain better alternatives, the RSPCA took no other steps other than seizure and heavy handed prosecution, no orders that only (x) amount of animals are to remain on the property, no orders that enclosures are modified, no orders that no more animals are rescued, no orders that all animals are rehomed above a certain number in an allotted time period. I assume there are many alternatives to seizure, destruction and criminal prosecution, yet none were entertained by the RSPCA or their inspectors.

Of the 40 or more case studies I have reviewed, the RSPCA in most states and in all cases in WA, not once did the Society play a proactive role in respect to the best interests of the animals or their carers. I remind the panel that education is a key role in the RSPCA’s applications for public funding.

The legislation itself at 40 (1), 47 (d) (j) can make a variety of orders to ensure compliance in any set time period, no such orders were made.

I; The prevalence of the alleged offence and the need for deterrence (including the likely deterrent value of the prosecution.

The RSPCA’s reply months after initiating an invalid and non-compliant prosecution, was that Mrs May was an animal hoarder, yet in the section asking about mental illness they replied N/A, They went on to say Mrs May did not have the means to care for large numbers of animals, even though proof to the contrary was offered at the first visit by the RSPCA officers, and later confirmed by DAFWA.

Why would an animal welfare authority or purported rescue organisation wish to deter public support in the rescue and rehoming of animals, if not for personal empowerment?

J; whether the alleged offence is of considerable public/environmental concern.

The RSPCA’s attempt to cover their mistakes resulted in an answer here of “Considerable public concern given the number of animals involved.

Rescuing animals, keeping them in adequate enclosures and ensuring they have the best veterinarian services and top quality food and bedding, should be of no concern to the public, other than any actions to the contrary, which in itself brings the actions of the RSPCA into further disrepute.

K; Any entitlement of DAFWA or other person/body to compensation, reparation or forfeiture if a prosecution is secured.

The RSPCA wrote of this section after the fact once again, by saying “The RSPCA is only entitled to reimbursement of its expenditure”

Cost before the final prosecution notice was served, (16 months after seizure) exceeded $750,000. Indeed well beyond acceptable practice and equity. These costs increased at around $45,000 a month, while the RSPCA have not even applied to the courts for forfeiture, noting here the costs sought are well beyond the true costs to the society.

Where the society cannot confirm ability to pay costs, prosecutions are plead out early and the cases used as a fund raising campaign to re-coupe costs and to improve profits.

L: The likely length and expense of a trial (if disproportionate to the seriousness of the offence)

One would think the possibility a 2 year long process, an estimated 14 day trial and a 1 million dollars costs order, would well exceed justification of the supposed offence, of rescuing animals and ensuring their professional veterinarian support and housing costs.

In the case of the RSPCA V May, the initial issue of the warrant was not in line with standard procedures, the initial charges were in valid at law, and the subsequent charges laid over 14 months later are still yet to be supported by evidence, and in neither case did either charges attract the legislative scrutiny required under DAFWA’s policy and enforcement procedures.

M; whether the alleged offender is willing to co-operate in the investigation or prosecution of others, or to the extent to which the offender has done so.

The alleged offender Mrs May, at all times has offered to do whatever is needed to comply, the only stand she has taken is one of protection of the animals, which has not occurred, the only offence easily seen during the whole process is the destruction of once healthy animals by the RSPCA itself.

N; The likely outcome in the event of a finding of guilt having regard to the sentencing options available to the court.

The court under the Animal welfare legislation only has available in regards to sentencing the ability to restrict the alleged offender from owning animals, and the ability of the courts to an order of forfeiture of the remaining animals to the crown, which would result in increased costs for the RSPCA and in fact the minster, and the added costs of another entity to take over the rescue of the animals presently being handled my Mrs may.

O: The Necessity to maintain public confidence in DAFWA and the courts; and

P; The potential financial benefit the alleged offender stands to make from the illegal activity.

The case of May, undermines the public confidence to both DAFWA and the courts, the alleged offender has never profited from her actions, and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what can be considered work of DAFWA under the Animal welfare legislation, by way of the rescue of animals at her own expense.

If the RSPCA try to paint any alleged offender as an animal hoarder, then they would have to justify this when questioned about their mental state. No options of support are being offered which would be necessary under a genuine application to precede with a prosecution under DAFWAS procedural guidelines.

Note; Animal hoarding is not covered by the animal welfare act, the act is written to deal with animal welfare related issues, not mental health concerns, the act also does not determine how many animals any one person can own. Issues relating to the number of animals a person my own or house is a local Government Issue. Note; Mrs May has passed recent inspections by the local government.

The RSPCA were asked by DAFWA to supply information to ensure they have complied with these guidelines after the fact, not before any prosecution took place, or animals were indeed seized.

This in itself has become a regular abuse of process, in the May case the reply from the RSPCA already on DAFWA’s files clearly is misleading in its structure and wording, and I believe DAFWA already know this, and by their silence and the turning of a blind eye, resulting in breach of their mandate.

3.7 of the policy guidelines clearly states “After due consideration of all matters identified in these procedures, the investigating officer , will refer the brief of evidence and supporting reports, documentation and recommendations to the director with the responsibility for the administration of the relevant legislation. The director will forward endorse briefs and recommendations to their executive director for referral to the solicitor’s office.

Why has this never been complied with in any prosecutions?

The investigating officer, the relevant director, and the states solicitors’ office will discuss and agree upon the most appropriate charges to be laid.

Why are these important guidelines being ignored?

None of the procedures at 3.7 were complied with, there for has been ignored in every essence of its purpose, the RSPCA who have no powers under the act, bring prosecution’s against an alleged offender without the powers to do so, and the inspectors who sign off on the prosecution notices have continued to deliberately ignored policy and procedure guidelines.

(The previous chief inspector in WA has confirmed the aforementioned issues and was sacked for bringing them up) For DAFWA not to act and stop invalid prosecutions, is a total disregard to written legislation and policy guidelines, actions that disregard public interest, undermining the departments and indeed the courts public perception.

3.9; Decision to withdraw matters already before the courts.

DAFWA indeed have the ability to withdraw charges, but they have never taken that opportunity even when they ought to do so, based solely on the non-compliance with the policy and enforcement guidelines. The director general is best placed to do this, in the best interests of natural justice.

I note here correspondence from the minister “the Honourable Ken Baston MLC” makes it clear the RSPCA are not a legal entity with the authority under the animal welfare legislation, in his words “I acknowledge that it is general inspectors employed by the RSPCA and NOT the RSPCA that is the legal entity with the authority under the Animal Welfare Act 2002”.

It would be pertinent to note that the prosecutions taking place both in WA and in other states of Australia are indeed in the name of the RSPCA, given WA’s present legislation that restricts private prosecutions, any actions brought in the name of the RSPCA are therefore invalid at law.

The very fact that in Mrs Mays case that the prosecution is in the RSPCA’s name, rendered the original 15 month prosecution invalid, a prosecution that had ignored DAFWA’s policy’s in the first place, furthermore the replacement prosecution has not only continued to disregarded current DAFWA policy and procedures guidelines, but has effectively more so continued to abuse court process.

In correspondence received under freedom of information, Mr. Delane makes it clear that the RSPCA have breached the conditions awarded to their inspectors in this case. Mr Delane states “Review of the material provided by the RSPCA to date indicates that their processes and/or understanding of the legislation were inadequate (insufficient grounds to seize some of the animals, failure to notify the owner of deaths or destructions ect) in dealing with this matter”

Further comments from Mr Delane in statements obtained include “Medical histories and behavioural assessments provided by the RSPCA do not appear to support the contention that all of the animals destroyed were suffering so severely that destroying them would be the humane thing to do” casting severe doubts on the actions of the RSPCA in this case.

The department has proven by its words and actions that it is well aware of the RSPCA’s continued ignorance, they are aware of the noncompliance by the inspectors awarded powers by them, the non-adherence to the department’s compliance, enforcement and procedural guidelines. I can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the department is also aware of the effect all these mistakes are having on an innocent woman’s health and wellbeing and the resulting destruction of once healthy and happy animals, which is in direct conflict with the legislation it is empowered to administer.

Mrs May was never found guilty of any of the charges laid by the society, and all charges have since been dropped, many if not all of her animals have since been destroyed, making an equitable outcome impossible to ensure. This issue becomes worse when we consider that the RSPCA purport to have been unaware that a number of animals were under veterinary care at the time of their seizure, even though Mrs May’s own vet had contacted them immediately after their removal from the property.

It could be proven that it was the actions of the RSPCA themselves and their inspectors that have caused more cruelty to these animals, than any actions Mrs May took in relation to their rescue and rehabilitation in the first instance.

I also concur with Mr. Delanes comment that the RSPCA took no steps before or even to date (17 months after seizure) to ask the courts for forfeiture, amounting to an abuse of the court process and indeed disregarding the animals best interests.

This fact appears to support the concept that the RSPCAS themselves are using the court process to improve their financial position rather than any attempt to protect the best interests of the animals or their rescuer. At this stage the RSPCA are demanding the huge sum of over $45,000 per month, plus veterinarian and legal costs.

There are several other practices that are uncovered when we take even a brief look at this case, in regard’s to the actions of the RSPCA, the one that sticks in my mind is the use of a warrant to break into Mrs Mays home, not only the fact it was incorrectly addressed in the first instance, but more so the use of forced entry when Mrs May was not home, which I find poor compliance practice.

The RSPCA were on Mrs Mays property around 4 or 5 days earlier, yet never chose the option to obtain an urgent warrant to enter her premises which is an available resource under the Act, and at all times since the initial visit, Mrs May had attempted to work with them, as did her veterinarians. If there was no urgency in the first place, waiting until Mrs May was absent from the property then using a general warrant to force entry is not in line with correct procedures under the Act.

Since I have taken an interest in this cases from the perspective of animal welfare reform, it has come to my attention that the RSPCA;s departure from its core directives, and in fact the Ministers lack of action in ensuring legislated guidelines are being met, are not restricted to the May case.

My advice for what it is worth would be for the Department of Agriculture and food, to consider a review of the RSPCA’s practices and indeed the powers awarded to its inspectors and their application thereof.

To ensure the solicitor general is empowered to ensure compliance with legislative and departmental guidelines, powers of prosecution best be handed back to the government to initiate using the RSPCA in an investigative manner only.

Should this inquiry decide to do nothing, they are therefore giving the RSPCA a mandate to continue to ignore the law, abuse their awarded powers and bring prosecutions that do not comply with government or just standards.

I would like to finish by praying that this enquiry in some way can consider ensuring Mrs May’s right to justice, and to remind them of the rights of all the innocent animals that reply on a compassionate, equitable and just outcome.

 

Mark Aldridge

QLD becoming the police state of Australia

November 5, 2013

 

QLD is leading the world in abhorrent laws, now the new laws passed to deal with the G20 summit in QLD next year show the true direction for civil liberties in Australia

Police Minister Jack Dempsey says people living inside special security zones in Brisbane and Cairns will be barred from their homes and given up to $200 to stay elsewhere if they are identified as a risk by federal authorities.

The G20 bill passed by the state parliament late on Tuesday, approved payments covering accommodation for those with a criminal background, plus their dependents.

In a massive list of items prohibited in the security zones between November 14 and 17 next year include eggs, a bag of flour, manure, kites, surfboards, canoes, kayaks, toy cars and model aircraft as examples

Weapons including longbows and slingshots will also be banned, and get this “reptiles, insects or other animal capable of causing physical harm if released”.

Background checks would be based on local and international intelligence and would affect anyone with a criminal history or those that have attended rallies or protests in the past.

The offenders need not have past offences in the state of Queensland.

“We are expecting 99 per cent of people will be able to go freely once they have had their crim history checked,” reporters were told by police on Wednesday.

“If there are people who the authorities think will put the operation at risk, those people will be advised that they will not be able to go into those restricted areas.”

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman said the removals seemed extreme; the Australian Alliance has also raised issues with the new laws and their impact on civil liberties.

“If you have a conviction for a terrorist offence then that may be a justification,” but to include any person with criminal history which may include traffic offences, then these laws have stepped well over the mark.

If one has an undefined criminal history and is then moved from their homes for the G20, that is not the type of actions we need in this country.

Officials have used previous G20s in Toronto in 2010 and Russia this year as their guide.

The new laws, which are to lapse after the summit, make it easier for officers to strip search and arrest troublemakers, the issue here is how we define trouble makers.

New offences for actions such as disrupting meetings and crossing barriers have also been created.

Mr Dempsey the police minister said police could detain people if they had reasonable suspicions a crime may be committed.

The Police went on to say “We are making sure that obviously the rights and liberties of the community are protected, in that people will be able to protest but, protest in a way that does not bring fear or apprehension to other people who are here visiting from the G20.”

People do indeed have a right to protest, as well as to feel safe in the community, but these laws tread too heavily on the rights and liberties of everyone.

The ideal police can come through a person home, removing eggs, flour and even surfboards, is ridiculous, let alone restrict people from entering their own homes.

Other recent laws in QLD resulted in police asked to break the law, mandatory sentencing regardless of criminal actions, intimidation of the innocent, association laws, laws that keep a person from their home or business et al.

It seems QLD is becoming the police state of Australia, where the rights and freedoms of the people, now come second to parliament and the corporate sector, a very frightening direction for all Australians.

Mark Aldridge

Who to vote for in Wakefield electorate “Federal election 2013” by Mark Aldridge

August 17, 2013
To the people of Wakefield, I entered the political arena over 10 years ago to fight to keep Australia on track, to maintain the ideal that we were the lucky country and ensure my children enjoy the very same freedoms and opportunity’s I had as a child.
Since then taxation continues to be applied without respect to equity, we now have more taxes, levies, fines, rules, and laws. We pay higher rates, fee’s, and utilities than nearly every nation and we mow face more red tape than ever.
Our human and civil rights are eroded every time new legislation is written, our education and health care receives lest funding every year and our education system fails more than acceptable levels of our children.
Over recent years we have spiralled down from 17 hospital beds per thousand Australians to under 3, and there is no end in sight.
The basic cost of living and our nation’s debt are rising out of control, while our services and basic infrastructure falls behind, an issue our children will pay heavily for if we don’t reverse the trend.
I also learnt very quickly that our system of democracy is undermined by the very fact those that write the laws, have the most to gain from the inclusion of structural biases.
So I decided many years ago to try and lead by example, I took action in the courts to empower our voting rights, uncovering tens of thousands of missing votes and ballot papers, along with many dodgy practices, yet the courts told me “the results of a general election stand, regardless of the conduct or the count”.
I held rallies on many topics including support for children with disabilities, carers, law and order, environmental and carbon trading, democracy, animal welfare, water resources, farming and a variety of rights based issues.
I then stepped heavily info the farming and primary production industries, firstly taking on the might of Woolworths and Cole’s, and opposing their excessive slice or the retail trade and unethical their treatment of our farmers and producers.
My work grew from rallies and on line protests, and attempts to secure honest product labelling to both supporting and opening my own markets to unite the community direct with the farmers and growers themselves “Farm Direct” community markets.
The outcome has been a great success, new farms are being planted, producers are getting a fair price for their produce and the community reap the rewards of more affordable and fresh produce all heaped together with in a safe family atmosphere.
I speak on behalf of many groups and alongside many compassionate and caring people, and have spoken all over the country for over 14 years self funded, I do not back down from a fight or overzealous red-tape, and I always honour my promises without consideration to personal costs.
Nothing will stop me from fighting for what I believe or helping those in the community in need, the only benefit of being elected will be the extra resources and a stronger voice to ensure our voices are heard.
Here is a list of a few of my ideals in brief;
  • Electoral reforms, to empower free and informed voting, abolishment of full preferential voting, improved services, increased security and complete up to date electoral rolls.
  • Stop the sale of our land, farms, water and vital infrastructure to foreign investment.
  • The regulation of our grocery industry, to ensure genuine competition and protect the best interests of our farmers and consumers.
  • Increase financial assistance to rebuild the farming industry to make Australia’s food bowl one of the world’s major food exporters.
  • Improved product labelling and shelving allocation including place of origin.
  • An overhaul of the animal welfare laws, and support services for private rescue groups and shelter operators.
  • Equity in taxation between local and offshore based industry.
  • Protection of our aquifers and the increased adoption of storm water harvesting as a national recharge system.
  • The relief of cost of living pressures through lowering staple food costs, cheaper access to potable water and energy regulation and innovation.
  • The introduction of a national buy back scheme with government guaranteed low interest rates to restore Aussie farms and infrastructure, back into Australian ownership.
  • Fight to reduce local red-tape by the abolishment of payroll and land tax, to stimulate the economy, as well as reigning in council bi-laws.
  • Lobby for a “Bill of rights” which would be debated in public hearings then be attached by referendum to our constitution. The bill of rights must override all government legislation and must become a part of the national curriculum.
  • Increased investment in the disability and mental health sector, in education, carer services and support, the abolition of all critical waiting lists. The introduction of NIDS and further investment in social inclusion programs are essential.
  • To demand reform to our court system to bring back affordability and equity, with a strong public consultation process in regards to the family courts.
  • Work-Cover reforms with in management, board positions and contracts to improve services and the cost affects on small business.
  • A more compassionate and equitable approach to border security and immigration, which takes in the best interests of the applicants and that of the Australian people and their way of life.
  • Tackle the increased lack of internet security including on line gambling and social networking accountability.
  • The restoration of registration labels.
  • Address the shortfalls in funding to our pensioners and veterans to bring them back into line with the cost of living and ensure future increases keep up with CPI.
Like most small business owners, paying the bills has become hard enough on its own, and the fact my wife and I also fund our native wildlife sanctuary, simply means I will not be able to keep up this pace forever without your support.
I won’t ask for your money, what I do need is your help, your time and your precious vote as a reward for my actions, and if you entrust me with it, I will do my very best to make you proud you did.
Mark Aldridge
Independent federal Candidate for Wakefield.