On the 28th of February I attended the launch of the Coloured Emotions Art Display, facilitated by the Parent Support Network – Eastern Region. The group provides support for carers, parents and families that have children with a disability, through support groups, advocacy and other activities.
Coloured Emotions is an art therapy program facilitated by the Parent Support Network and is one of the activities provided by the group. The program allowed these carers to express their emotions through art within a supportive environment.
The raw emotion that was on display demonstrated the stress and challenges that carers face, including the need for peer support. Groups like the Parent Support Network and the people involved in them need to be congratulated for the peer support they provide. It is often difficult for most people, due to time constraints, to become involved in a voluntary capacity within community groups, but for parents who are carers for children with disabilities it must be even more difficult to manage caring, careers and being involved in the community.
It is imperative that we continue to improve the accessibility of our municipality to ensure that all people have access to the community, lifestyle and opportunity that Maroondah provides.
On the 6th of March I attended the Croydon Conservation Society’s AGM, where Phil Turner, our Director of Major Projects and Planning, was the guest speaker to discuss the Ringwood Transit City and the plans for Ringwood. The Croydon Conservation Society is Maroondah’s oldest environmental association and topics discussed included strengthening provisions for water and energy efficiency, as well as the continued advocacy for sustainable transport.
The Croydon Conservation Society welcomed this opportunity and it was great to see our community groups being included in the discussions for the plans for Ringwood.
On the 13th of March I attended the Eastern Transport Coalition meeting. This month’s meeting discussed the bus service reviews that are currently being undertaken within some of the member council areas, as well as furthering the call for the necessary public transport improvements. One of these improvements is the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus and and will begin operating next Monday on the 24th. The SmartBus will provide a bus service operating through to midnight six days a week, with services every 15 minutes during weekdays and half hourly during evenings and weekends. The SmartBus marks the first really substantial upgrade to bus services within Maroondah and indeed the outer east and will provide transport choice for parts of Maroondah that previously had little option but to drive.
While it is unfortunate that this upgrade took almost four years, it is certainly an encouraging improvement and hopefully a sign of more to follow.
The role of urban transport is critical to reducing Australia’s greenhouse emissions and yesterday on the 16th of March I attended a meeting with the Maroondah Climate Change Action Group. Transport is Australia’s fastest growing sector of greenhouse emissions and contributes up to 50% of household emissions. There has been much discussion around potential greenhouse reduction targets for 2020 and any serious targets are going to be established they must include a reduction in car dependence and thus also assist with providing transport choice and mitigating worsening traffic congestion.