Bad for your hips … and your hip pocket

We all know that fast food is bad for our hips. But you might be surprised how hard it hits your hip pocket, too.

Residential amenity

This is a real estate speak to describe the good things that people look for in a residential area, and just as importantly, the things people don’t want in their neighbourhood. Wanna take a guess at the second-biggest turnoff? That’s right: fast food. People might find it convenient, they may even like it, but they don’t want to live near it. (see http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/top-ten-things-that-devalue-your-home/news-story/097dadf708f29d6c5e84c1e0714c8a7c)

Residential property values

Did you buy in Moonee Beach thinking that purchasing in a coastal village made sound financial sense? Bad news: if you’re within a couple hundred metres of the proposed fast food site, your property value has probably already gone down by around 2%. That’s right: even speculation of a fast food outlet will negatively impact the value of your home. (If you’ve got a $400,000 mortgage, that’s about $15,000 in repayments.)

But wait, there’s more. That’s only the idea of a fast food outlet coming to your neighbourhood.

If the proposal goes ahead, expect to lose 10–15% or more of your home value, overnight. Some studies have found that living need McDonald’s slashes your home value by 24%. (see https://www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk/property-news/general-news/Budget-brands-devalue-property-prices)

But they bring jobs, right?

Don’t believe it.

In an absolute sense, Yes, a fast food outlet employs people. But because of their market power, they tend to dominate retail spending and in so doing drive out other businesses. So where a community might once have had a fish and chip shop, a grocer, a family-run Indian restaurant and a café, ultimately there is not enough money to go around and the neighbourhood stores — the local stores, employing locals — are forced to close.

The net employment opportunities offered by a fast outlet coming to town  is consequently zero, or sometimes even negative.

OK … but it’s good for the local economy … right?

Wrong. Fast food franchises direct the vast majority of their profits back to head office in a capital city or offshore (unlike local enterprises whose wages and profits tend to circulate in the local economy).

Ummm … the national economy?

McDonald’s just got caught swindling half a billion dollars in taxes out of Australia through corporate shenanigans in Singapore. (see http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-mcdonalds-dodged-half-a-billion-dollars-in-australian-tax-20150519-gh5b6q.html)

Local employees … ?

The Fair Work Ombudsman has found that 53% of fast food outlets routinely underpay their workers or otherwise fail to meet payroll obligations. (http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/audit-of-fastfood-outlets-finds-half-exploit-their-workers-20160329-gntrbs.html)

The price is not right

The proposed fast food development will contribute nothing to our neighbourhood, nor to our local economy. At a societal level, the cost of increased obesity and other health disorders caused by or related to fast food consumption is well documented; far from being ‘cheap’, the production of fast food has long-term, wide-ranging impacts such as soil erosion, pesticide runoff, species homogeneity, the diminishing efficacy of antibiotics, and water and irrigation costs.

The costs of almost all of these ‘externalities’ are borne by you and me through taxes for various subsidies.

At a local level, the only things they offer are litter, exploitation, home devaluation and loss of community.

Make sure you get your submissions in opposing this development and show Council, and Gowings, that the social cost of this proposed development is too high a price.

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