Herald Sun: Graffiti game outrage

The presence of graffiti is a growing problem both within Maroondah and the broader Melbourne metropolitan area.

Among the increasing media coverage of Melbourne’s graffiti problem the Herald Sun has today reported on the impending release of a computer game called Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure which features graffiti tagging.

“Anything that legitimises graffiti needs to be discouraged, said Cr Makin, 25. “Graffiti is a growing problem.”

The upcoming Commonwealth Games in March provides the ideal opportunity to eradicate the current presence of graffiti it is therefore imperative that the State Government provides action.

Local Councils must be empowered and adequately resourced to ensure that they have the resources necessary to promptly remove graffiti when it occurs.

Maroondah Council Local Law No. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity

Local Law No. 5 is a Maroondah Council by-law which relates to public safety and amenity. The local law which came into effect in January 2000 aims to protect Maroondah’s amenity through reducing harm to public safety, public health and the environment.

Issues covered within the local law include graffiti, trees and vegetation and animal management (including the number of animals allowed within a household). The materials that are allowed within the general garbage collection and within the recycling bins is also covered within this local law.

Local Law No. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity was designed to ensure that the community is aware of risks to Maroondah’s environment and public health and is therefore worth reading by any Maroondah resident or ratepayer.

A copy of local law no. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity is available from the Maroondah City Council website (PDF).

Local Government Act 1989

The Local Government Act of 1989 and further amended on 12 December 2005 outlines the conduct of local government within Victoria, including the administration, conduct and election of local councils. The ability to create local laws, charge rates and the specific powers and accountability measures for local councils is also included.

The Local Government Act of 1989 is useful reading for anyone interested in the functions, roles and responsibilities of local councils.

The Local Government Act can be downloaded from the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Australia Day Awards: Celebrating Community Involvement

As part of the Australia Day festivities Maroondah Council organised citizenship ceremonies for new Australian citizens and the Australia Day Awards which recognise the importance of volunteers within the local community.

The strength of an community is dependent largely on the efforts of volunteers. The Australia Day Awards is Maroondah’s way of recognising and acknowledging the importance of these volunteers.

Congratulations must be extended to everyone who serves their community and welcome to the new Australian citizens in Maroondah!

City of Greater Dandenong continues weekend bus services

I have just been informed that the City of Greater Dandenong has decided to continue funding the council funded weekend bus services. The council funded services will continue through to the end of May with the goal of securing state government funding for better public transport services after this date.

The City of Greater Dandenong must be applauded for continuing this initiative and for ensuring that people within Dandenong, Springvale, Noble Park and Keysborough are actually able to participate in work and recreational opportunities on the weekends.

The City of Greater Dandenong has a higher than average level of no-car households, yet there is a lower than average level of public transport. It is clear that a vastly improved public transport network is required.

Government MPs must ensure that the improved public transport network that is required to reach the goal of 20% modal share by the 2020 is actually delivered. The PTUA stands ready and willing to assist in the City of Greater Dandenong in ensuring that better public transport becomes a reality.

I applaud the City of Greater Dandenong in standing up for Melbourne’s south-east and demanding better from the State Government.

Maroondah Leader: Summer timetable blues

The Maroondah Leader has today reported on the PTUA’s efforts to abolish the current punitive summer holiday timetables for bus services that operate predominately within Maroondah and Manningham:

A PUBLIC transport group has renewed calls for an end to summer timetables on Maroondah services.

Public Transport Users Association spokesman and councillor Alex Makin last week slammed the lack of consistency between summer train, tram and bus networks.

The summer holiday timetables experienced on National bus routes (which operate the majority of services within Maroondah and Manningham) exist purely due to the differing contracts between National and other bus operators.

During the ‘summer holiday timetable’ period services during off-peak timetables are extensively cut, meaning that in most cases a half-hour service becomes an hourly service.

“The detrimental service cutbacks experienced on buses during the summer holiday period mean that an already poor service becomes, in effect, unusable,” Cr Makin said.

While it is true that Melbourne’s train and tram network also operates a summer holiday timetable, it is generally peak services and not off-peak services that are cut.

While peak travel may lessen during this time (due to work and or school holidays), off-peak travel is still required, particularly for students on holidays who need to travel to part-time work and recreation and people without a car. The degradation of services over summer restricts the mobility of these people, thus restricting employment opportunities for students that work during their holidays.

Melbourne’s bus contracts are to be renewed in 2007 making this time the perfect opportunity to remove the inequity caused by these services cutback over summer.

Health Act 1958

The Health Act of 1958 (and further amended on 11 May 2005) is a Victorian Act of Parliament which covers a number of areas relating to public health such as nuisances and immunisation. The Health Act also empowers local councils to investigate complaints and perform inspections.

As an example, the Health Act and specifically Part III (Nuisances) was invoked in dealing with the excessive noise created by Southern Rocycling due to the following sections of the Act:

Continue reading “Health Act 1958”

Southern Rocycling fails to comply with abatement notice

Local residents have informed me that Southern Rocycling has failed to comply with the abatement notice issued by Maroondah Council.

Since the abatement notice has not been observed Maroondah Council will be seeking a hearing in the Magistrates’ Court as outlined under the Health Act of 1958.

I would like to thank everyone who contacted me with information regarding this breach of the Act and I hope that this issue will be resolved quickly.

I will advise affected residents of the details for this hearing once I receive confirmation from Maroondah Council.

Council Investigates Southern Rocycling Noise Complaints

I am pleased to report that Maroondah Council is continuing to monitor the noise levels from Southern Rocycling and has requested that loud operations cease between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

The Health Act of 1958 under Part III allows councils to investigate nuisances which are, or are liable to be, dangerous to health or offensive (s39A) which means instances which are noxious, annoying or injurious to personal comfort (s40).

Maroondah Council has used the Health Act of 1958 to ensure that the amenity for Heatherdale Road and other Ringwood residents is not severely affected by the operations of Southern Recycling.

I would to thank everyone who contacted me about this issue, please do not hesitate in contacting me again if there are further concerns regarding Southern Rocycling.

The Age: Plea to Canberra for a transport fix

The Age has reported today on the combined submission from the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), Environment Victoria and Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) to the Federal Government calling for Federal involvement in public transport infrastructure.

Australia is one of few industrialised nations in which the federal government does not contribute significant funds for public transport.

And the Federal Government’s own Parliamentary Committee into Sustainable Cities agreed with the thrust of the combined submission:

A federal parliamentary committee report last year – Sustainable Cities – called on the Federal Government to “significantly boost its funding commitment for public transport systems, particularly light and heavy rail, in the major cities”.

While a national approach towards urban public transport is required this does not excuse the State Government from involvement within public transport:

“There needs to be a national approach to building this infrastructure and this (the submission) shows that the State Government isn’t performing its role satisfactorily,” Mr Makin said.

The Federal Government funds road projects through AusLink, which requires matching State Government contributions, AusLink must be expanded to include urban public transport to ensure a consistent approach towards public transport and sustainability.