“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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26 May 2011

McLAREN VALE LOSES ROUND # 14 TO LABOR

HON JOHN RAU, MINISTER FOR NEARLY EVERYTHING, CENTRE, ANNOUNCING THAT HIS LABOR GOVERNMENT WILL IGNORE LOCAL HOPES AND WISHES, AND PIG-HEADEDLY GO AHEAD AND COVER SOME OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S RAREST AND MOST REVERED VITICULTURE GEOLOGY WITH A BRAND NEW GHETTO. LEFT IS THE DELIGHTED RETIRED VET, DAVID GILL, OF THE FRIENDS OF WILLUNGA BASIN, AND RIGHT, A VERY SOMBRE MAJOR LABOR APPARATCHIK, JIM HULLICK, CHAIRMAN OF THE SOUTHERN COALITION OF CONCERNED CITIZEN ACTIVIST GROUPS.

Planning Minister Imposes Brand New Ghetto ... Food Minister Destroys Rare Geological Ground ... Tourism Minister Buggers Beautiful Gateway To The South
by PHILIP WHITE

McLAREN VALE Thursday 26 May: Hon John Rau, is South Australia’s Deputy Premier. He is also Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Urban Development, Planning, and the City of Adelaide, Minister for Tourism and Minister for Food Marketing.

Yesterday he approved the highly contentious Seaford Heights housing development right in the gateway to
the McLaren Vale wine region, the beautiful Willunga Embayment, and the Southern Fleurieu tourism and farming region.

NOT SEAFORD HEIGHTS, BUT STILL SIMMERING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN:HAVING PAID MUCH MORE THAN THEIR CURRENT VALUE FOR THESE VINEYARDS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE McLAREN VALE TOWNSHIP,, THE WISHFUL DEVELOPER KARIDIS INTENDED TO REPLACE THEM WITH 1200 UNITS FOR THE AGED. WHEN DRINKSTER BEGAN INQUIRING, KARIDIS WAS TOLD TO TAKE A DIVE BY HIS PANICKY LABOR PARTY MATES, TO WHOM HE HAS BEEN A HUGE DONOR OF FUNDS SINCE THE DAYS WHEN HE INTRODUCED THE DODGY FINANCIER TIRATH KHEMLANI TO THE WHITLAM GOVERNMENT IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES. THAT RELATIONSHIP EVENTUALLY LED TO THE KHEMLANI LOANS AFFAIR, AND THE CONSERVATIVE COUP WHICH OVERTHREW THAT GOVERNMENT AND SAW MALCOLM FRASER AND THE LIBERALS INSTALLED IN CANBERRA photo KATE ELMES

While his government was recently elected after promising there
would be no more housing in McLaren Vale or Barossa vignobles, the Minister maintains the deal was done in 1989 and therefore could not be stopped.

The plan involves the erection of
1180 houses in a place where roads are already clogged, employment is minimal, “mortgage stress” is standard and infrastructure is stretched to the limit. It would add to a coastal mess of ugly eave-to-eave housing where prices are tumbling, unemployment, vandalism, crime and violence is high, and little, if anything, is done to ensure any of this ugly villa rash is in any way energy efficient or eco-friendly. In the driest state of the driest inhabited continent, where summer temperatures soar, macho black tile roofs are the fashion and solar panels a rarity.

Recent suburban developments along this coast have seen the housing go in first, with local and state governments struggling to provide the necessary infrastructure once these homes are sold and inhabited. Roads are terrible, public transport messy and infernally slow, and basic shopping always involves driving to a few ugly central supermarket precincts surrounded by hectares of car park.

This decision has been made without any consideration of the geological
importance of Seaford Heights.

While this publicly-owned land had been rezoned from
agriculture to housing early in the ’nineties, a consortium led by David Paxton and the late Greg Trott later managed to have the zoning for some of the land reversed to agriculture in order to make way for their adjacent Gateway Vineyard. The fruit from this vineyard makes evident the amazing quality of wine which can be grown on this rare Umberatana geological group, which is over 650 million years old. This is the only incidence of this group of geologies in the Willunga Embayment, the heart of the McLaren Vale district. (The same ancient geological group re-emerges around the Barossa Greenock Creek/Marananga/Seppeltsfield sub-region, and again around the Sevenhill/Polish valley region of Clare, both vignobles which produce a myriad of internationally-revered wines, trophy-winners, and perfect Parker scores.)


ACE VITICULTURER DAVID PAXTON, PROPRIETOR OF PAXTON WINES, IN HIS PRICELESS GATEWAY VINEYARD, WITH THE SITE OF THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS GHETTO ON THE HILL BEHIND HIM. THE PROPOSED 'BUFFER ZONE' OF NATIVE VEGETATION WILL NOT BEGIN TO HIDE THE NEW VILLA RASH FROM THIS VINEYARD, LITERALLY THE GATEWAY TO McLAREN VALE AND THE SOUTHERN FLEURIEU PENINSULA. photo KATE ELMES

The Minister
chose his moment. Leon Bignell, the Member for the local seat of Mawson, was on other government business in Whyalla, two gulfs and hundreds of kilometres away. Bignell, a friend of the winemakers and an enthusiastic defender of McLaren Vale’s rural purpose and amenity, was convinced by his caucus colleagues to accept a compromise, with buffer zones planted to native vegetation to hide the new suburb. Either Mr. Rau chose to move behind Bignell’s back, or Bignell suggested he’d rather the announcement was made while he was away.

Bignell says his trip had been long planned. As he is parliamentary secretary to John Hill, the Minister for
health, he was in Whyalla to discuss hospitals and health issues.

Late on Tuesday afternoon Minister Rau called a meeting for early Wednesday morning. The press release warning that he would be making his announcement following this meeting was released Wednesday morning, while Bignell was on a plane, so there was little chance of many co
ncerned parties, or indeed the local Member, attending, if any of them indeed wanted to.

The first this writer heard of the meeting was on local ABC radio just before 9:00am, when the forthcoming announcement was also signaled. Pip Forrester, the new Chair of the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism association, was interviewed, obviously before she entered the meeting in that association’s offices.

Announcer Ian Henschke asked Forrester whether she thought she was about to be informed of a “done deal”.


“Well”, she said, “we hope not. We’ve been opposed to this
development right in the entrance to our tourism region. We’ve been working through the process, and until we were advised that the Minister was coming down this morning we were waiting to hear about the consultation and our key concern, other than that we would prefer no development on that site, and we certainly want, whatever does happen, to be non-visible from Victor Harbor Road and Main South Road.”

Forrester suggested that there had been changes made to the plan due to consultation, like the
removal of a string of “big box” light industrial commercial businesses along Main South Road, but suggested they were waiting for further consultation, admitting “at this stage we’re not sure, but we’re looking forwards to the announcement and we hope there’s something positive for us. We haven’t had a warning for this. It is a surprise. We hope it will be a pleasant surprise.”

Forrester said that in an ideal world the Minister’s combination of portfolios would be advantageous, for example to her business in food marketing, “some really good synergies could happen, but it probably does put him in a
difficult position with respect to the Seaford Heights development. But I know he’s sympathetic to the concerns that we have, so maybe he’s come up with a solution that’s positive.”

When this writer arrived at the offices of the Wine and Tourism Association, Forrester could be seen with others at the private meeting underway in a meeting room with a temporary sign on the door stating: “The Office of the Hon. John Rau MP and Stakeholders”. Outside stood local councillor Yvonne Wenham, the chair of the local government Planning Committee, who had not been invited.

When these deliberations came to a close, the Minister seemed ill-prepared for the knockabout press conference which followed. Most reporters were politely waiting outside the
building for the Minister to emerge, yet once the suited developers scuttled away, he began his statement back in the almost-empty meeting room, and it took this writer to dash outside and advise the press that the statement was already being made within the building.

The Minister and his staff seemed surprised that anybody not invited to the closed-door meeting had
bothered to turn up to witness his following announcement, and his response to a few brief but pertinent questions was irritable, dismissive and condescending.

“You just don’t understand it” was his mantra.


Minister Rau made a few quite startling admissions. He suggested that South Australian developers, planners, and architects were so far unprepared to build the sort of higher-rise, more intensive, smaller-footprint village housing that many locals prefer, and indeed his own government insists is ideal for infill in the city of Adelaide proper according to his government’s new 30 Year Plan. (As it is land owned by the citizens of South Australia that is being sub-divided, broadacre sprawl development will provide greater returns to a cash-strapped government upon the sale of the land.)

He said it was impossible to change the
contract with the developer, although it emerged within hours that his last-minute “compromise deal” on Seaford Heights involved the developer being given more land to compensate for the buffer zones now included in the development, to hide the housing from the view of some.

It would seem unlikely that this could have been done without changes to the contract.
It emerged that some of the land now called “buffer zone” includes the margins of the local rubbish dump, which government environmental law precludes from any housing use.

Wh
en this writer asked why such an exemplary housing development would need to be hidden from the public view, and not be seen from the start to be something that everybody could be proud of, he was curtly dismissive.

He said he was unaware that government could have
retreated from the contract as recently as six months ago. He admitted that he had no idea of how much compensation government would have to pay the developer should the former decide to withdraw from the contract, but suggested it would be “many millions”.

LOOKING SOUTH: THE WILLUNGA EMBAYMENT, THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE McLAREN VALE WINE REGION, WITH THE ONKAPARINGA RIVER GORGE IN THE FOREGROUND, AND THE WILLUNGA ESCARPMENT RUNNING PARALLEL IN THE TOP LEFT. ALL THE ANCIENT GEOLOGY - PERHAPS THE BEST FOR VITICULTURE - IN THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE REGION, OFF THE BOTTOM OF THIS IMAGE, IS UNDER INTENSIVE VILLA RASH, WHICH YOU CAN SEE CREEPING FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE PHOTOGRAPH, SOUTH TOWARDS THE TOP. THE McLAREN VALE VILLAGE IS SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT OF CENTRE OF THE IMAGE; SEAFORD HEIGHTS IS IN THE BARE COUNTRY TO THE RIGHT OF IT, NEAR THE COAST. photo STACEY POTHOVEN

As the
Seaford Heights development is repeatedly said to be worth $500 million, including the percentage government would take for its sale of the publicly-owned land, simple arithmetic says the houses would cost $420,000 each: an unlikely figure in a district where prices generally sit between $280,000 and $350,000. Prices in the adjacent Seaford Rise have fallen 20% in eight years. But at $420,000 per house, government nevertheless stands to take a windfall $24 million in stamp duty alone, should all the houses be sold.

When challenged about the dodgy nature of any “community consultation” that had occurred – it was scant and prohibitively hurried at best, and most of the advice offered government was scorned or
ignored – he suggested that the chance for such consultation was in the days ahead, when locals would be given the chance to devise the boundaries of their region, to assist government decide where new housing would be prohibited. When this writer suggested the boundaries had been clear for years, according to the gazetted Geographical Indicators for McLaren Vale, as approved and regulated by the appropriate government/industry organization, Wine Australia, he seemed unaware of such boundaries and spoke as if new ones would be required.

He also said he was unaware that on another contentious site, 20 kilometres to the north, the University of Adelaide is once again moving to have it released from its Deed of ownership of the 206ha Glenthorne Farm, in order to make that last spread of greenfield available for subdivision. Glenthorne is only a few kilometres from the University’s Waite Campus, where wine science and viticulture is taught. The property is surrounded by dormitoria.

This Deed, which saw the research station transferred to the University for $1, very specifically and repeatedly states that the land must never be subdivided and used for housing, but instead be devoted to agricultural, viticultural, oenological, and horticultural research. As Planning Minister, Rau would be responsible for approving changes to the Deed, and as Attorney-general, he would be the chief legal advisory officer in the matter.

When this writer explained the McLaren Vale GI boundary had been deliberately set to include Glenthorne Farm, he said he was unaware of this.

GLENTHORNE FARM, 20 KILOMETRES NORTH OF THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS SITE, AND ALREADY SURROUNDED BY TUPPERWARE TUSCANY: MINISTER RAU CLAIMED TO BE UNAWARE OF THE UNIVERSITY'S PLAN TO HAVE HIM RESCIND THE DEED WHICH CLEARLY PREVENTS IT FROM SUB-DIVIDING THIS 206HA RESEARCH STATION, WHICH IT WAS GIVEN A DECADE AGO FOR PURPOSES OF VITICULTURAL, OENOLOGICAL, HORTICULTURAL AND AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH, BARELY A SCRAP OF WHICH IT HAS ATTEMPTED TO UNDERTAKE. INSTEAD, IT HAS CONSISTENTLY CONSPIRED TO SUBDIVIDE THIS SITE, WHICH IS ON ANOTHER SET OF GEOLOGY FROM THE VERY SPECIAL UMBERATANA GROUP photo LEO DAVIS

Wine and Tourism Chair Forrester was ashen-faced by the end of Minister Rau’s announcement. She seemed to some to be embarrassed at the persistent questioning her predecessor in the Chair, Dudley Brown, put to the Minister during the conference, while she remained silent.


Brown’s few pertinent questions irritated the Minister to the point at which he threatened “You’ve had a pretty good go”, and made to leave the room, while his
security guards twitched menacingly. Only when one reporter said “I thought this was a press conference” did Rau return to the table.

As he made his announcement, the Minister was flanked by a retired veterinarian, David Gill,
representing the Friends Of Willunga Basin, and senior Labor local government mandarin, Jim Hullick, chair of the Southern Coalition, a union of a dozen bodies akin to Gill’s organization. Gill seemed delighted at the compromise the Minister had made, obviously enjoying his place in the light; Hullick was unforthcoming, and, more appropriately for a wise man, very solemn indeed.

TRACTOR ACTION; LAST YEAR'S TRACTOR DEMONSTRATION CLOGGED LOCAL ROADS FOR HOURS, IN THE HOPE THAT THIS WOULD BRING SOME SENSE TO THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS ISSUE. MANY HUNDREDS TOOK PART. photo JAMES HOOK

The rage around McLaren Vale today is palpable and seething, with many constituents of the Grape Wine and Tourism Association wondering why they were not warned of the Minister’s visit, nor indeed invited to attend to witness his following announcement.

While many changes were made to the Development Plan Amendment during this long planning process, all without the further
community consultation required by law, this final meeting and press conference provides with great clarity an indicator of how South Australia’s arrogant, impoverished and desperate Labor government sees its responsibility to listen to its citizens.

Recent polling suggests the Labor Party’s primary vote is now on only 24 per cent, a record low, whilst its two-party preferred status has its government on 40 per cent, with the Liberal opposition on 60 per cent. This indicates at least 15 Labor seats would fall if an election were held now.

Utterly disillusioned McLaren Vale people are busy searching for a solid candidate to run against local MP Bignell, one of the best representatives the wineries have had, but one who was steamrolled by his own party on the one issue critical to his re-election.












SEAFORD HEIGHTS DECORATED WITH IMAGES OF THE LOCAL FEDERAL PARLIAMENTARY MEMBER, HON. AMANDA RISHWORTH, ANOTHER LABOR POLITICIAN. THESE WERE STOLEN ELECTION POSTERS WHICH APPEARED SURREALLY OVERNIGHT, EARLY IN THE FIGHT TO SAVE THE RARE AND PRECIOUS SITE FOR VITICULTURE.


As Deputy Premier, Mr. Rau is second in line to the throne of South Australia: he’s Boss # 2. As Planning Minister, he is responsible for enforcing the Planning Act. As Attorney-general, it is his duty to ensure his government obeys all the law. As Minister for Justice, it is his role to guarantee a fair go for all: justice. As Minister
for Tourism, it is his role to ensure this state is a damned fine place to visit. As Minister for Food Marketing, it is surely his responsibility to jealously protect every millimeter of land which is important, unique, or particularly well-suited to the production of healthy, fine food or drink.

Given all this, yesterday’s events, and indeed all those leading to them, have provided Mr. Rau with countless opportunities to face problems of difficult vested interests. While this writer is certain the Minister’s pre-eminent standing as a lawyer would ensure his deliberations remain exemplary in the eyes of his colleagues at law, yesterday’s performance offers scant hope for the quality of consultation and response we can expect in the delineation of yet another boundary for one of the world’s most beautiful, profitable, and environmentally-aware vignobles.


HOW THE FRENCH WOULD DO IT: BUILD A WALLED VILLAGE WITH INTENSIVE TWO AND THREE-STORY HOUSES OUTSIDE THE WALL, THEN PLANT AN EXEMPLARY VINEYARD INSIDE THE WALL. KRUG'S CLOS DU MESNIL,THE EXQUISITE CHARDONNAY CHAMPAGNE WHICH GROWS HERE, CURRENTLY SELLS FOR $1500 PER BOTTLE. ONE OR MORE SUCH VINEYARDS WOULD LOOK JUST SCHMICK ON THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS LAND, AND PRODUCE SOME STUNNING WINE, BUT WITHOUT THE CAVITIES FOUND IN FRENCH FIZZ ...

29 comments:

guerilla of the south said...

THAT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tim said...

Well fellas, just a few KM's over the hills the little town of Meadows, my home, is going the same way with the aid of Devine the dog box king.
We can join in with more rampant senseless housing that belongs nowhere and will more than double the town size with rabbit warren rubbish.
Sadly what in hell can we do, if you guys lost so comprehensively how on earth can my town do anything at all?

Jaune Diced said...

Biggles is a goner. Rau is Foley without a thirst. Rann is Nothing.

James Hook said...

Politics is a grubby game and the dirt sticks thickly.

I was ashamed that David Gill, a self elected community spokesman, was 'delighted' by $100,000 worth of trees and a gaudy sign. With Friends of Willunga Basin like that who needs enemies?

It is time for a new movement to stop urban sprawl and planning corruption. Let us sweep the cronies away.

Anonymous said...

i thouht this sort of shit went out with that old bastard hickinbotham

anarkissed said...

Hon Kevin Foley MP: Minister for Defence Industries, Minister for Police, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Motor Sport, Minister Assisting the Premier with the Olympic Dam Expansion Project and everything else should be able to sort this corruption!

Corrina said...

Such a devastating thing to loose awesome rural agricultural land to concrete. It is so short term and final. Makes me incredibly sad.

Savvidge Bustid said...

Stakeholders? Won't stand a chance against us PikeMen!

monkeyboy666 said...

Very sad indeed.

Had my first trip to the Mclaren last week visiting from Melb, only a day trip mind you, but was amazed at the suburban creep already into the wine-region. I can only imagine what the result will be from this new development. I understand why the locals are restless and incredibly pi$$ed off with this decision, our shortsightedness will be our undoing.

mick the maxer said...

Whitey, this reminds me of the fight to save the Grange vineyard at Magill, all those years and bottles ago. That was Labor, too, wasn't it. That trumpet-blowing do-gooder Hopgood was the Planning Minister. How many acres did we end up losing? 120? It still disgusts me. Keep fightin, Bro!

Anonymous said...

spose vets dont do ol rox like ol roxters eheha forget sofcox in frens of willy-b they yestdy we need new millisha hard core muvvas hay whiteman

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should keep a copy of this in your arsenal:

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/infrastructure/strategy_space/properties/heritage/heritage_inventory_glenthorne.pdf

back of the truck said...

Good Morning Everyone,

As you will have seen yesterday morning, John Rau, the Minister for Planning, made an announcement with respect to his decision regarding the Seaford Heights development.

For your information on exactly what the Minister announced yesterday I am attaching the visuals of the buffer on the Victor Harbor Road and the press release.

I also want to be clear that the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Board's view is tha, although this decision does offer some concessions, the outcome is not the one we wanted.

The Board's position is and continues to be as follows:

The Board has understood that it's preferred outcome of rezoning Seaford Heights rural was unlikely and due to significant changes to the proposed DPA and that it does not comply with many of the guiding principles of the 30 year plan for greater Adelaide, it is of the view that it should go out again to broad community consultation. The MVWGTA Board would like to work closely with local and state government in the redrafting of the DPA such that a suitable solution can be agreed. One that acknowledges, preserves and enhances the value of McLaren Vale to the state from a historical, agricultural, tourism, economic and social point.

We will continue to work with the other Community groups, The Southern Community Coalition, Friends of Willunga Basin, the City of Onkaparinga and the state government to ensure the best outcomes for our community.

If anyone has any questions or comments please contact me.

Pip Forrester
Chair McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association
Email: chair@mclarenvale.info

Ms Just Sayin said...

Luv your French suggestion! What IS this obsession with buffer zones? If the houses were of any standard worth living in, surely they should also be easy on the eye! The buffer zones these Grape and Wine people have insisted on will cover the important geology you mention anyway. The buffer zones should be ALL VINEYARD and be INSIDE THE RING OF HOUSES!

Anonymous said...

http://www.mclarenvalebulletin.info/?iid=48648&sr=0#folio=001

Anonymous said...

We need more houses before we need more useless vineyerds.
Why do grapegrowers and winemakers think they own SA?
Good on the government for ignoring the self serving wine industry!

Dudley said...

Get up, stand up!

Be counted. Be heard.

email your friends, the Ministers, the press, DO something. The tonic of resigned regret won't taste so good to future generations.

John said...

What a disgrace , but really should we have expected anything less from what is fast becoming the most farcical Government South Australia has seen in years.

I ask you if this development was proposed in the Barossa would it go ahead, unlikely. Again it shows that the McLaren Vale region , winemakers, tourists and residents were ignored , in fact dismissed in this whole process.

I ask that all of the above make their feelings heard and ensure that we do not vote for these Muppets in our next elections and rid this state of its rotten Labor Government.
Remember election night, Mr Rann acknowledged the backlash, saying: "We have to listen to the message of the people.
"We will listen to that message and we will reconnect with the people in an energised and positive way because everything we must do in the future is about them and their families and their children's future."
I think Rann you need some hearing aids as you obviously are not listening.

Pete the Trady said...

The best measure of Biggles is the company he keeps: the SA Labor Party! Hahaha! Nice bloke ay, but he's got no idea about pickin mates.

Gill GS said...

The shortsightedness and the stench of greed oozing from this decision is distressing and saddening when our region is working hard to develop wine and agri tourism opportunities . The emperor is naked.I will certainly be changing my vote.. Nice legacy mike..let's build the biggest wall we can and a moat..!

Anonymous said...

Lets us talk about the vineyard creep.. sheep are sold off and good farm land subjected to row upon rows of ugly arsed vines. They are not that pretty unless they are with a lot of follage. I know people who were traditional farmers having to put vines on their land and hoping that they can make money from it.. no wonder to buy lamb is more expensive than to buy beef.

Then you look at Willunga, traditionally about Almonds as in the Almond Blossom festival.... but the almonds are removed for the bloody vines once again.

A house provides a roof over ones head.. where vines create alcohol, a drug that have the potential to kill and cause numerous injuries and illnesses such as alcoholism.

I live near the proposed site and we are getting better transport with the new train extension, which may not have happened without this wild card of housing thrown in. The only thing I regret seeing is the possible loss of the horses that are situated in that area, but like most agistment places down south, they are either taken up by housing or vines.

I would hate to see vines on that area. Houses are a much better option

WBM The Week That Was said...

THEY PAVED PARADISE AND PUT UP A PARKING LOT
WITH A PINK HOTEL, A BOUTIQUE AND A SWINGING HOT SPOT
DON’T IT ALWAYS SEEM TO GO
THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT TILL IT’S GONE
THEY PAVED PARADISE AND PUT UP A PARKING LOT

THEY TOOK ALL THE TREES AND PUT ‘EM IN A TREE MUSEUM
AND THEY CHARGED THE PEOPLE
A DOLLAR AND A HALF JUST TO SEE THEM
DON’T IT ALWAYS SEEM TO GO
THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE
THEY PAVED PARADISE AND PUT UP A PARKING LOT


McLaren Vale winemakers are crying in their Shiraz after losing a campaign to stop a housing estate being built on a beautiful hill at the entrance to the town – on some of the world’s best dirt for vines. Greg Trott would be turning in his grave. A vibrant world-class wine industry is one of the few things South Australia has got going for it. Manufacturing is stuffed; the Olympic Dam expansion may not go ahead; we bugger up all the submarines we build; our footy teams are shit; commercial fishing is on the verge of collapse; tourism is rooted; business is shit; we’ve got an ageing population and here’s Mike Rann sinking his RM Williams into the one thing propping up the whole godforsaken South Australian economy – the wine industry!

Rann has finally lost the plot. This week, while trying to justify an upgrade of Kingscote Airport on Kangaroo Island, he sealed his political fate and showed how much he’s out of touch with the community by saying, “Lance Armstrong could not holiday there because the airport was not big enough for his personal jet.” Poor bastard. No Mike, and I can’t holiday in McLaren Vale anymore because I can’t get past all the frickin’ wheelie bins to get to the cellar doors. Two years ago a man smacked Rann across the scone with a rolled-up copy of Winestate at the National Wine Centre. He was left with two-and-a-half stars indented in his forehead. Those of us who had hoped this would finally knock some sense into the Premier, have been disappointed.

Over the past 10 years McLaren Vale has reinvented itself as Australia’s greenest wine region, becoming a global role model for water recycling while also establishing wetlands, growing vines organically, helping the black cockatoos and generally inspiring the rest of us with passionate efforts to make the world a better place. What does McLaren Vale get as a reward for this good work? 1,200 homes shoved down its throat with all the pollution, wheelie-bins, skid-marks and graffiti that comes with being part of the urban sprawl. The first thing the local community should do is turf out the local Labor Member, Leon Bignell. Obviously a light-weight. Will he turn up to the McLaren Vale Winemakers Lunch this year? He didn’t turn up for the announcement of the go-ahead of this project this week.

We got a call from McLaren Vale wine identity Dudley Brown this morning and he was angry. He says the local community is furious. He said a lot of other things too which we can’t print. McLaren Vale needs to maintain the rage. It must gather the funds needed to challenge this in court. From our information they must have a legal crack at this and the entire Australian wine community needs to support them because this is the thin edge of the wedge – wine regions across Australia are under siege from dirty industries and greedy developers. Get on Twitter and tell Rann (@PremierMikeRann) what you really think of him. Hit him across the head with a virtual rolled-up copy of WBM – if the bumper bigger-than-Texas 96-page May edition doesn’t knock some sense into him, nothing will.

Philip White sums it up here – http://drinkster.blogspot.com/ – Ed.

Jayson said...

This is truly a tragedy, Australian Government SHAME ON YOU, once you destroy McLaren Vale perhaps you can start filling in Sydney Harbour or mining Ayers Rock (Ularu) or perhaps some other equally idiotic, short sighted, poorly contemplated and undemocratic activity which I am certain is sitting on your desk.

Jayson Woodbridge
Winemaker

Anonymous said...

Relax people this is just another example of Rann and his toxic, morally and ethically void government. Don Dunstan would be turning in his grave if he knew what his wretched and insipid, self proclaimed 'protege' was doing. They are a disgrace and an embarrassment to the people of this state and are sending this state broke.

Unhappy said...

It is sad that prime vineyard land is being concreted over. Any Labor Govt, whether it be state or federal, are in the hands of developers. They have approved dodgy application after dodgy application in NSW and look what happened to that Govt. Labor has a history of it and will never change. The saddest thing is that if you think the liberals will be any better, think again. To the locals, get yourselves a good independent. At least you will then have a voice that won't be silenced along party lines

dude said...

amen to that

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely disgusting. Typical of this government to favour its developer donor mates at the expense of everyone else. No wonder they oppose an ICAC and have covered up the Burnside MacPherson report.

Ian Hickman said...

Following on from this latest betrayal, it almost unbelievable that Mr. Rau has the front to announce today: "The Barossa and McLaren Vale are unique areas and the State Government will protect their working landscapes, heritage and scenic beauty with legislation,"
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/property/news/minister-john-rau-proposes-barossa-mclaren-vale-development-boundaries/story-e6frefgc-1226068647411

Actions speak louder than words Minister, and your actions suggest you and your mates are full of crap.

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill. This blog posting is so biased, snottily arrogant, misleading and deceitful in how it portrays this issue.