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Delegates' Report: Recognising our natural environment, volunteers, accessibility and the strength of partnerships

By May 19, 2008No Comments

On the 27th of April I attended the launch of the Mullum Mullum festival, which is now entering its tenth year. The Mullum Mullum Festival is a community led project, which is supported by Whitehorse, Manningham and Maroondah Councils and encourages conservation and appreciation of our natural environment.

The significance of the Mullum Valley has been long recognised with an appreciation dating back from the 1920s. We are fortunate in Maroondah to have this unique bushland at our doorsteps and I strongly advise anyone who is unfamiliar with our environment to walk through the Mullum Valley and take the time to appreciate its natural beauty.

On the 28th of April I attended a workshop in regard to the Maroondah Forum for People with Disabilities. Maroondah has held a successful quarterly forum for people with disabilities and carers, allowing the opportunity to exchange information and to raise issues with council in an informal manner. While the forum has been working well and feedback was generally positive, this workshop provides the opportunity to improve it even further and I must commend the many council staff who attended this workshop with the intent of listening to the community.

The were several main issues that were discussed within the workshop context, including the need to ensure wider involvement, particularly through involving younger people with disabilities and also ensuring that a diverse range of disabilities are covered. In addition there was some debate around the time and frequency of meetings with a strong preference towards bi-monthly forums to ensure quicker response and greater opportunity to provide input.

It has been estimated that almost one in five people in Maroondah has experience with a disability. It is imperative that we use the feedback derived from the workshop to ensure that we further ensure that this section of our community is being heard.

On the 13th of May I attended the Ringwood Chamber of Commerce meeting where the topic of the Ringwood Transit City was discussed. This provided an opportunity to further explore the Transit City concept and the opportunities it provides. It is unfortunate however that the State Government failed the Maroondah community, including its many businesses, by not delivering on the much anticipated upgrade of Ringwood Station. While this was a definite disappointment it was encouraging to see the business community rallying behind the need for the Station redevelopment and to improve the Maroondah Highway crossing for pedestrians.

On the 13th and 14th of May I attended two volunteer recognition functions. The first hosted by Eastern Volunteers, who as part of National Volunteer Week thanked its volunteers for the many hours of community service they provide. On the 14th I attended Maroondah’s Youth Volunteer Recognition Function which provided an opportunity to acknowledge and encourage younger volunteers within our community. It was great to see the widespread interest in volunteering at both functions. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community and without them the world would be a much harsher place. The slogan for this year’s volunteer week is: Volunteers change the world! This is definitely true since volunteers in whatever they serve collectively make this municipality and the world in general a much better place. My congratulations to the volunteers that were recognised at both functions and also to the youth services team for coordinating yet another successful event at Maroondah’s youth centre.

On the 15th of May I attended the Eastern Transport Coalition meeting. As I’ve mentioned previously the ETC involves the seven eastern council and represents one million residents. In light of the disappointing news in regard to Ringwood Station, I am pleased to say that the entire eastern region is rallying behind Maroondah Council. The ETC has provided critical support for the Ringwood Transit City and public transport improvements, including securing the removal of zone three and better bus services. It is easy for a State Government to dismiss the voice of one council, it is much harder to dismiss seven councils that stand united. Many of these public transport improvements would not have not been possible without the support of the Eastern Transport Coalition.

The ETC is preparing a public transport summit on the 4th of July at 10am. One of the topics that will be discussed is the need for public transport improvements to ensure the success of Ringwood, not just for Maroondah but for the entire eastern region. The group stands firm in recognising the significance of Ringwood and stands steadfast in its support for the redevelopment of the Station.

I hope that my council colleagues recognise the importance of Maroondah within this group. I will be tabling seven factsheets that the ETC produced, including a factsheet on the need for upgrades at Ringwood Station and separate factsheets on the need for rail improvements and bus service enhancements.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au

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