Thank you, there are several events that I wish to comment upon to keep council and the community informed.
On the 24th of January I attended the first Eastern Transport Coalition meeting for 2008 as the delegated Maroondah representative. This meeting included a workshop to determine the ETC’s priorities for this year. The ETC has had a tremendous success over the past few years and Maroondah has been front and centre in the advocacy for public transport improvements. In 2006 the ETC successfully advocated for the abolition of zone three, saving outer eastern residents, including people in Maroondah up to a $1000 per annum. Last year the ETC was focused on the need for federal funding of urban public transport. While the Federal Government still has not accepted its role in the provision of urban public transport infrastructure; the calls for national leadership in urban sustainability are growing stronger, with the ETC joined by other transport and planning groups, the business community and the local governments across Australia.
This year the ETC will be focusing on both the Federal and State Governments, particularly since the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus will begin operating in late March. This improvement, which will provide a fast, frequent and direct service between Ringwood, Knox, Dandenong and Frankston provides the ideal foundation for further public transport improvements.
The need for federal leadership in urban sustainability was recently conveyed in a recent Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) discussion on national priorities for transport. This forum, which was also attended by Cr. Naylor, expressed the need for a national transport strategy that encompasses people and freight across all modes, including public transport.
As the two well renowned speakers explained, Australia is currently unsustainable with the continued major road building not being economically viable or environmentally prudent. If Australia is serious about meeting greenhouse reduction targets we need Federal leadership to curb rising pollution due to the transport sector, the fastest growing source of greenhouse emissions.
On, the 12th of February I was invited to Enjoying Planned Retirement’s bocce afternoon. EPR organises a number of activities and provides bocce and a barbecue at Norwood Park in Ringwood North, every second and fourth Tuesday from January through to March. Unfortunately the occasion was marred by the theft of EPR’s barbecue. It is dismaying that someone would choose to steal from one of our community groups, particularly since the barbecue was dedicated to Ron Ginger, a former President and committed EPR member who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. While EPR, in their typical jovial fashion, made the best of the afternoon it is disappointing that this theft occurred.
On a lighter note, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the many community stall holders and the dedicated council staff at Sunday’s Maroondah Festival. I did not receive a single negative comment about this year’s festival and council staff must be commended for organising such an awesome event.