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Mullumbimby Featured on SBS Insight Program: The Retail landscape

Mullumbimby Featured on SBS Insight Program: The Retail landscape

Paul Madeiros interviewed by Deborah Lilly at his Fruit and Vegetable shop in Mullumbimby

Paul Madeiros from Mullumbimby was invited to be in the studio for the SBS television program Insight on the 29th of September. The program was about the Coles/Woolworths duopoly and competition in the retail landscape. Mullumbimby was the main feature, mentioned at least 12 times with several film clips of the town.

The following is from a discussion between Deborah and Paul on Thursday Morning.

Paul said that he was nervous at appearing on the show. However he was even more surprised when he was the first to speak; they had not told him what the show was about till just before it started. However he soon settled in, "I got into a groove and started feeding off what people were saying." said Paul.

The show was mainly about competition - do we need it, do we need more and what is the effect of the duopoly on small retailers? Part of the show was devoted to workers in community and country towns who are concerned about their jobs. Deborah asked Paul about the demonstration at the Land & Environment Court onsite inspection in Mullumbimby last Monday, where Mallams workers had placards "Save our jobs" and "Woolies=jobs=security". Paul said that this point was brought up on Insight. People do have a right to be concerned about their jobs, but so do I, my wife, the people who work here, the man who delivers the vegetables, the local drivers - it has a snowball effect. Paul said "The people working for Mallams who are expecting a job with Woolworths have a right to be concerned, but the effect of one or two job losses in each of the stores in the town will have a snowball effect on associated workers like farmers, delivery drivers, the local newspaper etc. that will add up to far more than the 40 or so jobs that they are talking about. I know this sounds harsh but this is the way it is. I mentioned on Insight,that  if I lose 10 -15 percent of my sales, that is two people I have to let go.Now  multiply that by the number of affected businesses in town."

So the solution is for people to grow food locally, money to be spent locally and we all benefit by the dollar that is spent many times locally. Paul said," localising has always been my interest, After the show on the web chat, I was talking about local and localising and community and after twenty minutes, I came to realise that people who shop at Woolworths and Coles,  think local  and community means made or grown in Australia. I had to change my way of talking to stress that for me local and community  means our immediate district. A close knit community."

Corporations trying to split Communities

And Another thing. I found out to my surprise when I spoke with  Helmut Rhode an architect,  who was on the advisory committee for the campaign against Woolworths in Mittagong. He showed me a lot of papers and reports and what struck me was that Woolworths appear to have a policy of splitting towns in half. They go to a lot of trouble to site their new stores far enough way from the CBD to make it impossible to integrate them into one precinct. So for example, shoppers who park and shop at Woolworths, will not bother to get into their car and go into the CBD or walk 200-500 meters with all their bags.

Scary Corporate thinking

Towns like Inverell, Kempsey and many more have been taken on in this way.  They want to split the towns in half. I find this very scary that a corporation can think in this way. Basically they want to come and destroy the community of Mullumbimby.

Paul said that his main focus is they won't come here, but if they did just look at Maleny, they campaign there. Woolworths is still struggling to make a profit in Maleny, I am full of hope for this town.

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