McDonald’s - Post VCAT


This page gives you a history of the McDonald’s campaign after the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal overturned our elected representative’s decision.

For information about the campaign going to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council click here.

For information about the campaign in the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) click here.

Diary of events during the VCAT Hearing:  VCAT Diary

For information from the campaign after the destruction of existing buildings click here.

Quick Links:


        Community Garden Planting

        Fence Goes Up

        The People Continue to Speak Out

        Meeting Here Tonight - Friday 19th October 2012


        Community Meeting

        Council Meeting

        NoMaccas on TV

        More Support Comes In

        Outgoing Councillors won’t support Community

        Even More Great Support

        Local Celebrity Support

        Community Meeting

        Cup Day Picnic

        Community Meeting Report

        The Battle of Tecoma Fair

        Supreme Court Action

        Police Close Garden

        Celebrities Add Their Voices


        No McDonald’s in Tecoma Song

        Meeting with Planning Minister

        Your Children Will Be Harmed

        A Bigger Picture

        Hills March

        The Bigger Picture

        Doctors Call for Limits

        Paediatrician Calls for Action

        The Hills Marches Against Maccas

        Franchisee sees good business sense

        Community Meeting with McDonald’s

        Show you say NO!

        Vibrant Tecoma

        Community Meeting


Sunday morning (Oct 14th) saw hundreds of people gather to turn a vacant block of land, that may soon become covered by construction vehicles, into a community Garden. Volunteers provided labour, compost and plants and the Upwey Garden Centre provided a truck load of soil.

It was a great community spirit of resistance to the proposal of McDonald’s to build a fast food outlet, capable of serving 2000 customers per day, in the small Dandenong Ranges village of Tecoma with a population of less than 2200.

You can voice your opposition to this proposal by completing an online petition, writing to your local State Government member or joining the discussion on Facebook. You can also tell McDonald’s what you think of them ignoring our community’s wishes the next time you visit them, via Facebook or write to:

Ms Catriona Noble

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

McDonald’s Australia

Head Office

21-29 Central Avenue



VCAT’s ruling was not the end, it is only a new beginning. Help us to show the media that McDonald’s is NOT a good corporate citizen in ignoring our community. Join the backlash.

Media reports:

Free Press Leader                  Herald-Sun

Yarra Ranges Weekly             The Australian

Marrondah Weekly                 ABC News

The Age                                  Herald-Sun

Community Garden Planting

All Day Pictures -

        “Reclaiming Tecoma”

Channel 9 News

Channel 7 News

The owner of the land that may be part of the proposed McDonald’s outlet has suddenly decided to fence it off. This land has been left derelict by the owner ever since he purchased it, leaving the community to clean it up and to remove graffiti from the surrounding walls.

So why put up a fence around it moments after that same community builds a garden? Will this owner also take responsibility for the property upkeep and the clearing of graffiti from his buildings?

Obviously the Community is grossly disappointed with VCAT’s decision and the fact that McDonald’s chose this route after our Community and Council (the real umpires) said “NO” to this inappropriate development.

Please join us on-site to show your rejection of this proposal.

Click on photo at left for more photos taken on-site

Fence goes up

Radio 3AW in Melbourne has done an online survey of listeners, many of whom will be customers of McDonald’s.

The results are shown at right - Tecoma is NOT the place for a McDonald’s outlet.

The people have spoken - who’s listening?

The People Continue to Speak Out!

There is a community meeting tonight to share ideas on how to progress our case in the ultimate Court of public opinion. Bring your strategic ideas, creative ideas or just brainstorm with other community members.

Shared Dinner from 5:00pm, Meeting at 6:00pm On-site in our Community Garden

Please do NOT park in DVD Destination’s parking area beside their shop. They are supporting us, so we need to support them - hire a video for the rest of the evening.

Meeting here TONIGHT (Friday 19th October 2012)

Between 200 and 300 people attended a community meeting on the evening of Friday 19th October, almost one week since occupying the site.

The disappointment regarding VCAT’s abomination to overthrow the unanimous decision of our elected Councillors has turned into long term determination. Community members will highlight the injustices of VCAT’s decision and allow McDonald’s to show that they can be a good corporate citizen by moving their plans to an area where they will be wanted and supported by a community. Tecoma is not that place!

Various sub-groups have been formed and are looking for assistance. The campaign is now getting world-wide attention and support from celebrities. Everyone keep up the good work and keep spreading the word ‘World Wide’ that McDonald’s have a chance to change, before there is a world-wide backlash.

Don’t forget to support our local traders now, once McD’s move in many will be forced out of business.

Please do NOT park in DVD Destination’s parking area beside their shop. They are supporting us, so we need to support them - hire a video.

Community Meeting

It is very unfortunate that some supporters of McDonald’s have been dropping their clearly branded packaging in our township. There has also been examples of antisocial behaviour, included the ramming of the site fence by someone one a quad bike.

Maybe supporters of McDonald’s are just giving us a taste of what to expect if this project goes ahead? We must resist!


Shire of Yarra Ranges Council is meeting tomorrow night, 23rd October, to consider Council business. This will be the last opportunity to show the outgoing Councillors, many of whom are up for re-election, and new candidates, that the Hills community wants the Shire to progress our case against McDonald’s in Tecoma to the highest level. After all, it was these people who voted unanimously against the application in the first place.

Council has until November 7th to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court and they have a responsibility to us to follow up on all possible legal avenues. Thus Council needs to request its officers to get legal advice as soon as possible and not let the ball drop because of elections. Everyone should also put pressure on Council candidates to publicly state their position on this matter and how they are going to help get legal advice before it is too late.

Be at the Council Chambers in Lilydale before their commencement time of 7:30, tomorrow, 23rd October. The public can ask pre-delivered questions, so long as they are delivered to Council before 5pm on Tuesday. See here for details or contact the great staff at the Shire’s Link in Upwey.

Council Meeting

Stephanie Alexander, creator of the Kitchen Garden Foundation has sent our community a letter that will encourage all of us (click on image at right).

Cr Samantha Dunn has just posted on her blog that she will be raising an urgent motion to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council tomorrow night that council consider lodging a Supreme Court appeal in relation to the VCAT decision P3933/2011 McDonald’s vs Yarra Ranges Shire Council and others.

More Support Comes in

A Tecoma resident was recently seen on a national TV channel’s morning program brandishing a “No Maccas in Tecoma” banner.

Well done Janine.

Perhaps you too could help bring our plight to the attention of a wider audience by writing to national papers, adding to Facebook or blog sites of media outlets. Spread the word that it is unacceptable to have a large convenience restaurant opposite our Preschool and Primary School.

NoMaccas on TV

At the very last Council meeting for our current Councillors last night (October 23rd), a motion to have our Shire Council reject VCAT’s decision and go to the Supreme Court was defeated 6 - 3.

Local ‘Hills’ Councillors, Noel Cliff and Samantha Dunn, with support of Cr McRae, were outvoted despite passionate explanations of the need to continue Council’s support for our Community against the deep pockets of McDonald’s. 

Very disappointing news indeed but not the end !!

Outgoing Councillors won’t support Community

Local artist and performer, Brian Baker, has written the “Ballad of Tecoma”, available for download from his website at ReverbNation. You can also click on Brian’s image at right and listen here.

If you would like to be part of an accompanying video clip, be in the Garden on Sunday morning at 10:00am  (28th October).

Even More Great Support

Local actor and really nice lady, Genevieve Morris, has put together a video to “Say NO to McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges”.

Go to Vimeo to watch this heartfelt presentation.

Local Celebrity Support

There will be a community update meeting this

Friday October 26th 2012

at 7:00 pm

Tecoma Primary School Hall

to provide everyone with an update about the legal situation and our next steps. Our window of opportunity is narrowing, so this will be an important meeting. All is not over with Council’s poor decision, any of the 301 objectors at VCAT are able to take this issue to the Supreme Court.

Community Meeting

Join us on Cup day for a Cup Day Picnic. Starting at 10:30 in the morning there will be music and other community activities. Bring the kids, they can play in the new sandpit. Grab a chair and some food from home, pack your drinks (no alcohol) and smiles and come join many others in:

The Garden - 1533 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma.

Please park at the rear of Bonzai Bali and keep Sandells Road and the rear of DVD Destination free for their customers. In fact, be a customer of DVD Destination and thank them for supporting the “No Maccas” cause.

Also, please click this link and add your name to the petition.

Cup Day Picnic

On Friday October 26th 2012 at 7:00 pm at the Tecoma Primary School Hall, over 250 people met to discuss the future direction of the “No Maccas in the Hills” community campaign.

The meeting was addressed by Nicole Gale, President of TVAG who set out the long term goals of the group to prevent these problems from arising; Janine Watson who said that the community was making a stand based upon our individual experience, values and hopes; and other members of the community.

A series of groups were formed to cover the areas of fundraising, Legal, Garden, Arts, Media, and Lobbying.

It is thought that this particular case is just the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and the fight will go on. Minutes 2.doc

Community Meeting Report

There is a town of local fame ~
Our home ~ ‘Tecoma’ is its name
A pretty place, and quiet too,
Though sadly has no public loo.
Now this small problem, set aside,
Tecoma has its civic pride,
So when the bullyboys arrived
With golden arches, though they strived,
The townsfolk they could not convince
To buy their wares of burger mince.

Instead they fought them, side by side,
And through it all they even tried
To plant a garden fair and green
To mark the place, where could be seen
The hillsides, trees and birds that sing
The flowers that the children bring
From ‘cross the road, where in their school
They know there is one golden rule
That when the people have their say
The bullyboys should go away!

Yet will they listen? No, they won’t!
And do they care? No, they don’t!
Their gold has bought them power here,
For them the issue is quite clear,
They’re here to sell, no matter what,
They claim they’re clean and healthy ~ Rot!
Worldwide they've helped to make us fat ~
‘Would you like fries and coke with that?’
So if they build their ugly blight,
Don’t think that this will end the fight!

by Inga Meldgaard

The Battle of Tecoma Fair

Nicole Gale, President of the Tecoma Village Action Group Inc (TVAG) announced today that the group have decided not to proceed with an appeal to the Supreme Court over the recent VCAT decision regarding a proposed McDonald's restaurant in Tecoma. Although legal advice has shown that there are valid grounds for appeal, the potential of significant costs make an appeal extremely difficult to pursue for a local community such as ours.

If the appeal was successful on a point of law the Supreme Court does not have the power to negate McDonald's permit but only to send the case back to VCAT for reconsideration. If the Supreme Court decides that no such error has been made then the community would have to meet not only their own costs but the exorbitant legal fees of McDonald's. As justice was not found the first time at VCAT, it is doubtful that justice will be found a second time.

Now is also the time for other such aggrieved communities to join forces with Tecoma to show irresponsible corporations and a biased tribunal that the voice of communities should be given equal recognition in planning issues. 

Supreme Court Action

Peter Cundell has added his voice to those of Jamie Oliver, Stephanie Alexander, Genevieve Morris, Brian Baker and many more in opposition to McDonald’s opening in Tecoma or anywhere else in the Dandenong Ranges.

Other food and health professionals are showing interest and there is growing  support for our community’s right to determine our future and protect our children. 

Celebrities Add their Voices

At 7:45am on Friday 9th November 12 police officers from 4 different police stations accompanied Dr Joel Freeman into the Garden and asked the Garden Guardian, Janine, to leave the premises. The police officers were very friendly and assisted Janine in removing her personal belongings and then proceeded to remove all other protest items.

Within minutes a crowd of annoyed residents gathered to voice their opposition to the Garden closure and to talk with the media.

Reports have appeared on the ABC 7.30 Vic, Channel10 News and Channel7 News and in many newspapers.

As the gate closes upon our Garden other door opens. The struggle for the community to be heard and respected will continue.

Police Close Garden

By the way Aaron, the vacant block behind you is NOT currently part of the McDonald’s building site. The existing historical buildings, which include a restaurant (Saffron Cottage) and a Cafe (Hippie Haven), are to be destroyed and replaced by a single ugly building. See here for more.

Please assist the distribution and signing of this petition to our State Government. Tecoma is just one village in the Dandenong Ranges that is under threat of irrevocable damage to its reputation as a slow food area, an area of beauty into which people escape when they want rest and recreation. It is not a place for yet another clone store of which there are already more than enough.  


Our community is a very talented family with many local artists expressing their opposition to the McDonald’s proposal through artistic media.

Click on the image to hear yet another great song.

No McDonald’s in Tecoma

On Thursday 15th November 2012, four members of our Hills Community meet with Hon. Matthew Guy, Minister for Planning in the Victorian State Government.

The meeting was very constructive with the Minister agreeing that the Dandenong Ranges “are  different for a reason”. Thus the Hills need to be protected in order to maintain their existing special character. Here is a meeting summary.

Meeting with Planning Minister

Paediatrician, Dr David McDonald, visited Tecoma on Sunday 18th November to share his concerns with local GP, Dr Dennis Gration. Dr McDonald has been studying professional papers that now highlight a corresponding increase in obesity, diabetes and other health issues in children who go to schools in close proximity to convenience restaurants such as McDonald’s. 

The McDonald’s chain have been targeting schools almost since inception with their Founding CEO, Ray Kroc, stating that they would fly around in the company plane looking for schools so that they could build nearby. In conjunction with child targeted advertising such as offering toys or very cheap (small change menu) items and the sponsorship of children’s sport, this company is well aware that parents have little hope in influencing long term proper eating habits in their children.

“Your Children will be Harmed”

The Community of Tecoma and surrounding townships in the Dandenong Ranges have fought for many many months against the entry into the Hills of a Convenience Restaurant that threatens the very character of Tecoma and for what the Hills are known. It is the antithesis of fresh, clean, and individual.

In defence of Tecoma and the wider implications of this development even more individuals and groups have joined the fight, to the extent that TVAG is now but ONE group, and not THE group involved in this fight to maintain the Hills character.

Further information on the bigger picture is available from and or the Facebook link on the About Us page.

A Bigger Picture

In a recent survey conducted in Tecoma, almost 9 out of 10 residents said they do NOT support the construction of a McDonald’s outlet in Tecoma. Despite this, McDonald’s continues to say that they have enough support in the area to take the risk of failing and leaving Tecoma with an inappropriate monstrous building.

Let’s show them that there is not support in the Hills for a Maccas. Help get the message across by being part of the Hills March Against Maccas on Saturday 2nd March 2013 starting at Belgrave and walking to Tecoma.

The Hills March

The Community of Tecoma and surrounding townships in the Dandenong Ranges have fought for many many months against the entry into the Hills of a Convenience Restaurant that threatens the very character of Tecoma and for what the Hills are known. It is the antithesis of fresh, clean, and individual.

In defence of Tecoma and the wider implications of this development even more individuals and groups have joined the fight, to the extent that TVAG is now but ONE group, and not THE group involved in this fight to maintain the Hills character.

Further information on the bigger picture is available from and or the Facebook link above.

A Bigger Picture

The UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has released a report on obesity. Amongst the report’s recommendations are:

* the development of formal recommendations on reducing the proximity of fast food outlets to schools, colleges, leisure centres and other places where children gather.

  1. *local authority planning decisions should be subject to a mandatory health impact assessment, which would evaluate their potential impact upon the population’s health.

Our own local Council tried to limit outlets in Tecoma by unanimously opposing the establishment of an outlet capable of catering to 2000 customers per day, but unfortunately was over turned by VCAT. We must continue to pressure State and Federal government to protect future generations of Australians.

Doctors call for limits  

In a letter to “The Age” newspaper last week, Dr David McDonald, a Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics at the University of New South Wales highlighted the unequivocal scientific evidence of the connection between obesity and the proximity of Convenience Restaurants to Schools. Despite an authoritative report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges the Victorian Planning Minister refuses to intervene to prevent the inappropriate location of a proposed McDonald’s opposite the Tecoma Primary School and Kindergarten.

Dr McDonald compared the Minister’s slow response to the years it took government to recognise the scientific evidence that passive smoking is harmful. “It is disappointing that an interstate Paediatrician is more concerned about the health of children in Tecoma than the Minister himself. Perhaps Company profits trump Children’s health”, he wrote.

Professor Mike South, a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Professor at the University of Melbourne has also written to the Minister.

Paediatrician Calls for Action

Saturday March 2nd saw as many as 3000 people, according to organisers, take their concerns to the street and march from Belgrave to Tecoma in protest to McDonald’s ongoing threat. The numbers at this rally should make it clear to McDonald’s that there is insufficient support for one of their outlets in the Dandenong Ranges to be economically viable.

Upon reaching Tecoma Primary School the crowd was informed of the history of the campaign and the current situation and then entertained by local musicians. The day has again helped to unify the community against McDonald’s. More photos available here.

In a survey of local Tecoma residents, 9 out of 10 people do not support the building of a Maccas in Tecoma.

The Hills March Against Maccas

Congratulations go to Mr Howard Armitage for realising that a McDonald’s franchise in Tecoma would be bad, not only for Tecoma but also for his business as a franchisee. He has decided to withdraw from the Tecoma project.

Unfortunately another franchisee has stepped in to take Mr Armitages’ place. Mr James Currie who already owns the Boronia and Wantirna franchises says he ‘loves the people and the area and would like to play an active and supportive role in Tecoma’. This can be easily done by suggesting to the McDonald’s Corporation they withdraw from any proposal to build in the Hills.  More here.

Franchisee sees good business sense

Rubbish in drain directly opposite Boronia Store

A meeting has been arranged with representatives of McDonald’s and representatives of theTecoma Community.

In order to capture our community’s most important concerns and, to update everyone on the progress of the campaign to get McDonald’s to understand the impacts of their decision to build in Tecoma, a community meeting will be held -

Sunday 21st April at 2:00pm

Tecoma Primary School Hall

Community Meeting with McDonald’s

Show you say NO!

To show your continued opposition to the establishment of a McDonald’s drive-thru takeaway in Tecoma, please support the upcoming NMITH’s “Walking Protest”.

Date: Saturday 1st June

Time: 12:30 pm

Starting at Belgrave Park, in front of the Belgrave Police Station and walking along Burwood Highway to the proposed site in Tecoma.

Please stay on the footpath and bring a sign.

Vibrant Tecoma

You are invited to visit FAT Space, a new concept for the Dandenong Ranges that opened with a wine & nibbles ‘taster’ exhibition on Friday 31st May. Fat Space is a contemporary art space in the DVD Destination building on the corner of Sandells Road. The concept is for local artists to make their work available to the public but each exhibition will be themed, sometimes controversially.

The first theme, to begin with the official launch by “A Mystery Guest” on Thursday June 27th, will be

“Junk Food - Fast Fried and Fatal”

Hopefully you have already noticed the recent openings of other businesses in Tecoma, namely Dance Empire, Garage Cafe & Car Wash, and the relocated famous Saffron Cottage.

TVAG welcomes the new businesses to Tecoma and encourages everyone to support our local traders.

No Maccas in the Hills is holding another Community Meeting this weekend

2:00 PM

Sunday 21st July

Tecoma Primary School

The whole nation has become aware of our valiant Tecoma blockade, but the fight to save our Hills is far from over.

Join the discussion this Sunday and be part of this historic campaign!

Check for any updates.

Community Meeting

FATSpace Launched

MCéd by Rob Quantock with an opening address by Professor Kerin O’Dea, Population Health and Nutrition University of South Australia, FATSpace has launched its first controversial exhibition. 

FATSpace is designed to engage the community with controversial topics through art, beginning with Tecoma’s most controversial topic at the moment - the McDonald’s proposal.

FATSpace is on the corner of Sandells Road and Burwood Hwy, Tecoma.

More Deceit from McDonald’s

McDonald’s spokesperson, Skye Oxenham has been reported in the Free Press Leader on Wednesday 3rd July as saying that McDonald’s has “Consulted with the community over the past 2 years”.. “including the community group TVAG”

It should be noted that McDonald’s have NEVER consulted with TVAG.

Dictionary definitions of “consulted” include -

* to seek advice or information from;

* to refer to for information:

* to have regard for (a person's interest, convenience, etc.) in making plans.

The only meeting between McDonald’s and TVAG occurred in March 2011 when 2 representatives gave a PowerPoint presentation to the TVAG Committee and a representative of Save the Dandenongs League. The presentation showed no plans for the proposal, only an artist’s sketch. Most of the time was spent trying to convince those present that McDonald’s was a responsible and community minded corporation.

Mention was made of McDonald’s Litter Policy where they indicated that it was usual practice for staff to clean up the streets around their stores. Concern had been shown for the impact of litter on our forests. In VCAT McDonald’s argued that they should only be responsible for 100 metres along Burwood Hwy. Quite a contrast with their Presentation.

At no point in the past 2 years has McDonald’s sought TVAG’s  advice (although often freely given) or had regard for our community’s interest, convenience, etc in making their plans. Quite the contrary they continue to press the media with mis-information and the corporate line.

Well Said Mark

Hills resident Mark Lawrence has given an interview to the ABC’s 7:30 report that summarises why Tecoma and other Hills residents are so passionately opposed to the establishment of a McDonald’s take-away in Tecoma.

It is amazing that McDonald’s, who profess to be a community minded corporation, do not listen to our community.

Click on the image at left.

A Future for Tecoma Too?

Boronia businessman, Craig Templeman, is feed up with having to clean up his car park of rubbish from McDonald's situated only 160m away. Mr Templeman says that he or his staff have to clean the Boronia Busybodies' car park every morning but weekends are particularly bad. Despite having tried to discuss the problem with Boronia McDonald's the response has always been appalling.

Mr Templeman challenges McDonald's, particularly the Boronia and soon to be Tecoma franchisee Mr James Currie, to seriously consider McDonald's own stated Values relating to operating ethically and be individually accountable and collectively responsible for the amount of McDonald's litter in the area around their stores. Mr Templeman also sends a warning to traders in Tecoma as this is what they will also have to expect.

Recently the Shire of Yarra Ranges called for input from the community to contribute to creating 'Design Guidelines for Town Centres' , also known as the C126 Amendment to the Local Planning Policy Framework. The proposed guidelines are intended to ensure that any new development will fit in with its surroundings and improve the overall appearance of the town centre by means of controls called Design and Development Overlays (DDOs).

Planning Panels Victoria (from the State Government Department of Planning and Community Development) is holding a panel on August 1st and 2nd at the SYR Municipal Offices in Anderson Street, Lilydale. A list of submitters has already been created at an earlier time in this process. Amongst the submitters will be "McDonald's Australia represented by Mr Bret Fleming, Town Planner." (Due at midday on Day 2)

It is obvious by McDonald's involvement in this process that they intend to build at some future date in other Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley townships and want to ensure that design overlays are not put in place that would impact their business. Many residents are proposing that convenience restaurants cannot have a drive-thru component, as well as wanting better building designs that are more applicable to the existing Hills character. No other fast food conglomerate is participating, letting McDonald's to willingly take a lead role and set a precedent. If DDOs cannot restrict drive-thrus of one company, they cannot restrict those of another and therefore other fast food chains will seek opportunities in the Hills. 

It is important that all Hills and Valley townships are aware of this and realise that Tecoma is just the 'thin end of the wedge' in the battle to keep our townships different as a place to live and as viable tourist destinations. Despite stating publicly that they have no plans for other areas of the Hills, it is obvious by this presentation on DDOs that McDonald's do at least have intentions to spread much further than Tecoma.  

Also of interest to many will be the name of another contributor - Zagame. They may have interest in getting more pokies into the Shire. 

Spreading Stores

As McDonald’s continues to show it’s total disrespect for the Hills Community by taking our community to the Supreme Court, whilst also presenting to a Planning Review Panel to ensure they can build where ever they please in the future, now is the time for everyone to show resistance in fertile.

Join the March

12:00 Midday

Sunday 28th July

Belgrave to Tecoma

(Meet in car park between Cameo and La Colina)

Don’t let large corporations consolidate land titles in order to unfairly compete with local family owned businesses.

Check for any updates.

March Against Maccas

Sunday 28th July 2013 saw 3 to 4 thousand people gather in Belgrave and walk to Tecoma to show their disgust at McDonald’s total disrespect towards the Hills community. Although most participating were locals, many had come from Melbourne suburbs to show that they too want to keep the Dandenongs as a ‘special’ place to visit.

Support of Tecoma’s opposition is growing, both Australia wide and internationally. In the past few days since the march another 20,000 people have added their signatures to a petition, now totalling over 56,000. Add your signature too!

Update 2 weeks later: Now over 81,000

March Against Maccas Success