Improving stormwater quality and usage

This morning I opened a training session on the use of rain gardens to improve stormwater quality. The training session was hosted at Maroondah City Council and was led by instructors from Clearwater, a not-for-profit program supported by Melbourne Water.

Rain gardens are designed to absorb excess rainwater run-off from buildings and paved areas, such as car parks. Plants within rain gardens include wetland vegetation, which filter run-off and thus improve stormwater quality, as well as providing the garden with a source of water.

Continue reading to view a transcript of the speech given at this training session.

Continue reading “Improving stormwater quality and usage”

MAV Transport and Infrastructure Advisory Group – March 2007

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak body representing local councils within the state. The transport infrastructure advisory group is charged to provide advice to the MAV board on the transport infrastructure needs for Melbourne.

Today’s meeting included a presentation on the East-West Needs Assessment, which is currently being undertaken by the State Government. This study is charged with the responsibility to plan for Melbourne’s future infrastructure needs within the inner eastern and western suburbs.

The recently released Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) report into congestion clearly identified the need for the state government to bring forward a number of essential transport projects, such rail extensions and bus improvements, to ease Melbourne’s worsening traffic congestion.

It is imperative that the East-West Needs Assessment provides a holistic solution to Melbourne’s transport needs and considers public transports such as the much needed Doncaster rail line and further improvements. Melbourne needs to be provided with real transport choice, in the form of an efficient, frequent and readily available public transport, to provide some relief to rising petrol prices and worsening traffic congestion.

Discussing environmental issues with Maroondah Bushlinks

This evening I attended a Maroondah Bushlinks meeting to discuss environmental issues affecting Maroondah’s many parks and reserves. Maroondah Bushlinks is an umbrella group that includes the volunteer committees of management for parks and natural reserves and environmental friends groups.

Maroondah is well known for its leafy image it is imperative that the very environment that makes Maroondah unique is not only protected but also enhanced.

Maroondah City Council will be organising regular environmental forums to provide an avnue for the community to discuss environmental and sustainability issues. The first of these forums will be held on Monday the 7th of May.

Media Release: New netball program for juniors

The Maroondah Indoor Sports Centre is excited to be launching a brand new netball development program designed by Netball Australia.

Councillor Alex Makin said the ‘Net Set Go’ junior development program is a national concept which replaces the former FunNet program and commences on Thursday 19 April.

“For some time now parents have been asking for greater development opportunities for their children within the sport of netball, as well as value for money, better program structure, trained accredited coaches, and above all the opportunity for their child to take the next step. This new development program provides all this and more,” said Cr Makin.

“Net Set Go has been developed to provide children from the age of 5 to 11 years with the best possible learning and playing experience,” said Cr Makin.

“Importantly, the program will enable them to gain a positive introduction to the sport of netball, learning the basic skills and game rules that will allow them to develop and continue their participation in the sport,” said Cr Makin.

“The Net Set Go program will benefit many of Maroondah’s budding netball players by enabling participants to experience personal achievement in terms of competence enhanced self-esteem, team building, and skill development in a fun environment,” said Cr Makin.

The Net Set Go junior development program offers appropriate skill teaching in a sequential program, leading to the participation in Netta Netball matches using modified rules, all under appropriately trained/accredited coaches and umpires.

The Net Set Go junior netball program commences Thursday 19 April. Places are limited and registrations close very soon.

The cost of the program is $57 per child and all participants will receive a special Net Set Go branded netball, activity book, and a sports bag.

To register your child please call Maroondah Indoor Sports Centre on 9298 4487 between 9:30am and 5pm on weekdays.

Opening of the new Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre offices

This evening I was invited to officially open the new offices of the Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre (EVRC), now located in 36 New Street Ringwood.

The Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre provides information for people that wish to volunteer within our community. The EVRC acts as a referral body for volunteers through matching people with a role that suits their interests and skills and also provides essential social support services, including transport, for people with limited mobility.

The continued success of the EVRC is demonstrated through their need to seek a larger location than their former home at Federation Estate and it was a great honour to be able to open their new offices, located within my ward in Loughnan’s Hill.

Please continue reading this post to view a copy of the speech I delivered at this event:

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Maroondah Journal: Cr's push for green levy lauded

As the uncertainty over Melbourne’s water supplies continues it is imperative that as a local Council, the City of Maroondah, considers environmental and water issues in its upcoming budget.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on the growing need to consider Maroondah’s future sustainability:

Cr Alex Makin said a levy which would fund water recycling and water tanks across a city was something worth investigating.

An environmental levy would be one way of ensuring the resources necessary to fund a number of environmental and sustainability initiatives.

“The water shortages at the moment have been having an impact on our sporting fields, and obviously our community wants to play sports in a safe environment. I will certainly push for greater environmental initiatives within this council budget, particularly looking at alternative sources of water – that is definitely worth an environmental levy.”

It is clear that the City of Maroondah must urgently enhance its sustainability. While water is one of most pressing concerns it is imperative that energy and transport, both of which are high greenhouse contributors, are also examined. It is clear that our future urban sustainability cannot no longer simply be given lip service and as a result I will be pushing for greater environmental initiatives within the upcoming council budget.

North Ringwood Community House AGM for 2007

The North Ringwood Community House is located at 120 Oban Road in Ringwood North, behind the Holy Spirit Primary School. The last twelve months have been especially significant for the community house with the introduction of several new courses, included the accredited Certificate IV in Disability Work.

While the City of Maroondah provides ongoing funding for its neighbourhood houses, it is also encouraging that the state government has increased its funding arrangements thus helping to ensure the continued viability of these essential community assets.

The AGM included speakers from Yarra Valley Water who discussed water conservation measures given continued water restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and most of Victoria. Since Melbourne’s households consume 70% of the metropolitan water supply is crucial that households minimize water consumption wherever possible. Water efficient showerheads and installing a dripper system for gardens are just two examples of ways to reduce water usage. The inclusion of such a topical issue within the AGM demonstrates the community-minded nature of North Ringwood Community House

The North Ringwood Community House has a proud record of innovation and I’m sure this will continue to prove successful over the next twelve months.

2007 Ringwood Highland Games

The Ringwood Highlands Games, held in Jubilee Park in Greenwood Avenue, is a national event that celebrates Scotland and Scottish heritage. Events included pipe bands and highland dancing competitions, as well as featuring gathering of the Scottish clans, attracting clans across Australia and internationally.

The festivities attracted large crowds from right across Melbourne and further afield, demonstrating the ongoing success of this well regarded community and cultural event.

The Ringwood Highlands Games is held annually and will next be held on Sunday the 30th of March in 2008. For further information please visit

2007 Savewater Awards

Tonight I was invited to the 2007 Savewater Awards, which identifies excellence in water saving across industry, businesses, community groups, local government and individuals.

The Savewater alliance is a non-profit organisation consisting of Victoria’s water authorities and has recently expanded into New South Wales. The alliance aims to promote water conservation and also endeavours to educate businesses, government and the community about the need to minimise water usage.

The awards provide the opportunity to acknowledge excellence in water sustainability. In particular, the Heaterdale Tennis Club, located in Mitcham, won the community group award for replacing its en tout cas tennis courts with a classic clay surface. This has resulted in a saving of about 3,400KL of water per year, equivalent to one Olympic sized swimming pool.

The City of Hume won the local government category, as well as the Award of Excellence. The City of Hume, which is now saving more than 70ML of drinkable water, with the use of recycled water for sporting grounds and the use of rainwater for changerooms, has truly set a new standard for local government to follow.

As Melbourne’s water supplies continue to decrease and with stage four restrictions likely on the 1st of August, the need to conserve water and to ensure our future urban sustainability has never been greater.

Victoria Police 2008 and beyond

This evening, was invited to participate in a forum convened by the Victoria Police at the Knox police complex. The forum was designed to provide community imports into the strategic direction of Victoria Police over the next five to ten year period.

The forum included a variety of community members from a diverse range of backgrounds, including members of the business community, neighbourhood watch, schools, community groups, legal centres, the security industry and local government.

Victoria Police will face a unique set of challenges over the next five years as the role of policing continues to change to reflect trends within society. This forum, which will feed into further strategic policy work, allowed the community to have its say in regard to the capabilities and capacity of Victoria Police.