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Delegates' Report: Reconciliation Week, engaging our youth, supporting people with disabilities and calling for an investment in public transport

By June 16, 2008No Comments

While held slightly before Reconciliation Week I attended the screening of a film Liyarn Ngarn by Eastern Access Community Health on the 23rd of May. The screening was held as part of EACH’s Stage Club program at Lifeworks in Ringwood. Stage Club hosts film or life performances every third Friday and provides an opportunity for people with mental illnesses to learn skills relevant to the hospitality industry.

Liyarn Ngarn means ‘Coming Together of the Spirit’ in the Yawuru language of the West Kimberley region. The film is a documentary which explores the treatment of Indigenous Australians from the perspective of English actor Peter Postlethwaite. The film focuses on the journey undertaken by Peter, singer/songwriter Archie Roach and Patrick Dodson as they travel from Perth through to Archie Roach’s home country in south west Victoria. Throughout the journey they hear from personal accounts and discuss major turning points in the relationship with Indigenous Australians such as the Bringing them Home Report and the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Inquiry.

The film, which features a soundtrack by Archie Roach is a very moving and thought provoking documentary. The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week was it’s all our story, representing that to progress reconciliation it will involve all of Australia coming together and I certainly encourage people to view the film and consider how reconciliation can become part of our story.

On the 30th of May I had the pleasure of officiating the Young Leaders Presentation Evening held at EV’s Youth Centre. The presentation provided an opportunity to acknowledge the twenty Year 10 students who participated in council’s young leaders program.

Young Leaders is a week long program that helps develop a wide variety of leadership skills, such as public speaking, communication and conflict resolution. The program is held during the school week and while some students may look forward a week off school, in reality it means that they will need to catch up on the work they have missed. Participating in the program is a huge responsibility and one which each student passed with superb results.

The presentation evening provides an opportunity to see firsthand the skills these students have learnt and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Youth Services Team for facilitating the program and also to the schools and parents for their cooperation. I hope that these students will remember the skills they have learnt and use them not only in school and employment but also within the community. Many community groups would welcome the involvement of younger people and I hope they will use these skills to assist in strengthening our community.

On the 10th of June I attended the launch of Youth Voices at Ringwood Secondary College. Youth Voices will develop a magazine to provide a voice for our youth and to demonstrate the positive contribution that young people make within society. The launch began with an online interactive forum which covered a range of topics, including the future of Ringwood. Council’s Youth Services Team and Economic Development Team, as well as Eastland, need to be congratulated for using this opportunity to consult our youth to understand their vision for Ringwood. This an exciting project and it was great to see the embracing of technology through interactive online forums to encourage people to offer their thoughts. I hope that as a council we will continue to explore innovative methods of community engagement.

On the 15th of June I attended a game of the Ringwood Spiders and their Sponsors Gala function. The Ringwood Spiders is part of the 14 team league organised through the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA). The Ringwood Spiders have a strong focus on the community and they encourage community engagement through their sponsorship program where businesses and community members can sponsor a player for $150 to provide funds for uniforms and other expenses. While the Spiders narrowly lost to Parkside they played some great football and it was great to see the player I sponsored, half back Tom Raisebeck, out on the field. The Spiders have just two remaining home games on the 29th of June and 27th of July and I wish them all the best for the remaining rounds in the season.

On the 15th of June I attended the EastLink open day like many other people and while it certainly is true that Eastlink is an engineering feat we need to remind ourselves that it is not the end of our transport needs in the eastern region. In fact with evidence suggesting $2 per litre petrol prices being common in the not too distant future we need the public transport equivalent of Eastlink.

For those among us that are sceptical about petrol ever reaching $2 a litre we only need to look back a few years and remember how many people claimed that a $1 litre was unforeseeable.

Fortunately Maroondah and the eastern region is focused on the needs of public transport and I am pleased to announce that the Eastern Transport Coalition, the consortium of the seven eastern councils, will be hosting a public transport summit aptly titled ‘It’s Time to Move On’. This summit will explore the public transport needs for eastern Melbourne including a session on Ringwood and its importance as a regional centre.

The summit will be held on Friday the 4th of July from 8.30 am through to 11 am at the Manningham Function Centre in Doncaster. To RSVP please visit or let me know as Maroondah’s delegated representative to the ETC.

We have had the investment in our road network – it now is time to move on to ensure that we also receive the necessary investment in our public transport network.

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:

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