Media Release: Report vindicates public transport campaign

MEDIA RELEASE – Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Report vindicates public transport campaign

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called on the Government to present a new vision for Melbourne’s public transport network amid an independent report citing concern over urban sustainability.

“The report commissioned by the independent Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability has exposed the Government’s failure to satisfactorily address Melbourne’s public transport needs,” said PTUA Vice-President Alex Makin. “It has been made quite clear that Meeting Our Transport Challenges is sorely underwhelming.”

The State Government’s Transport Strategy, dubbed Meeting Our Transport Challenges, was released in May 2006 and resulted in community disgust over the postponement of new train and tram extensions and the failure to radically improve the bus network.

“For someone who is internal to Government to paint such an honest and bleak picture clearly demonstrates how the Government has lost the plot,” said Mr. Makin. “The Government’s plan provides nothing more than overcrowded trains, slow trams and infrequent buses. Petrol prices are continuing to increase and the Minister must present a new vision for Melbourne’s public transport system.”

The PTUA has renewed calls for the Government to commence works on the Rowville rail line and the Knox tram extension and to ensure that public transport services are provided simultaneously with urban growth and urban renewal.

“The Commissioner’s report has vindicated the PTUA’s concerns over the State Government’s poor handling of public transport. We call on Minister Kosky to start afresh and work on a new vision separated from the failings, cost blowouts and broken promises of her predecessor,” concluded Mr. Makin.


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Croydon Community School Charter Signing Ceremony

The Croydon Community School is a government secondary school located along Mount Dandenong Road, which provides an alternate secondary education for students who have experienced difficulties other more traditional schools.

The school focuses strongly on the capabilities of the individual student and also offers accredited programs in VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning). As part of its approach the Croydon Community School held a charter signing ceremony where VCAL and Year 10 pledged to commit themselves to finding further education, training or employment by March 31st 2008.

The Charter Signing is a significant event and reflects the importance that both the school and students place on future pathways to ensure a successful future for graduates of the Croydon Community School. The event was held at EV’s, Maroondah’s Youth Centre and hosted by Maroondah City Council.

For further details on the Croydon Community School please visit

Media Release: Putting the kids through the hoops

Family members were put through the hoops – literally – at a recent Aussie Hoops basketball training session at Maroondah Indoor Sports Centre.

Councillor Alex Makin said the Aussie Hoops program is for boys and girls from five to ten years of age, but this session also had mums, dads, older siblings and grandparents out on the court too.

“The Council run program is a Basketball Australia initiative and is a fantastic learn to play program for budding basketball players. This session gave the youngsters a chance to pit their new found skills against other members of the family, with no concern for a final score,” said Cr Makin.

“The coaches tailored the lesson to allow family members to participate in all aspects – including drills, skills and mini-matches. It was great to see the children assist and interact with their family,” said Cr Makin.

Aussie Hoops is for boys and girls aged 5 to 10 years of age and is held on a Thursday after school during school terms. This skill based program is the stepping stone to the Biddy Ball program, where children put their basketball skills to use in unscored, actual games of basketball. Biddy Ball is for boys and girls aged 5 to 9 years of age and is played on a Friday after school during school terms.

For more information about basketball or netball programs at Maroondah Indoor Sports Centre please contact Council on 9298 4487, pick up a brochure from one of Council’s Customer Service Centres, or visit the website at

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Maroondah Leader: Making a grand stand for sport

Work is progressing on the new pavilion at AC Robertson Athletics Track in Proclamation Park, Ringwood and the Maroondah Leader has reported on the status of this project:

Maroondah councillor Alex Makin said work started on the project at A.C. Robertson Athletics Track last week, and was expected to be finished later this year.

“The building works are extremely exciting, with the new grandstand offering shade and shelter from the elements for the many sporting and athletics clubs that use the track, as well as the broader Maroondah community,” Cr Makin said.

The Athletics Track is managed by a committee of management who supervise allocations who manage the track and its requirements.

“The funding submission and the design of the grandstand were developed in consultation with the committee of management and their assistance has been invaluable.”

Clubs that use the track include:

  • Ringwood District Little Athletics;
  • Ringwood District Senior Athletics;
  • Athletics Victoria;
  • Proclamation Park Walkers Club;
  • Ringwood Triathlon Club;
  • Aerials Netball Club;
  • Local primary and secondary schools.

This project was made possible through cooperation between the committee of management, Maroondah Cocunil and the State Government. The committee of management contributed $16,000, with $48,000 from Maroondah Council and another $48,000 from the State Government.

Works are expected to be completed later this year.

Maroondah Leader: Council's budget blues

The proposed Maroondah City Council budget for 2007/08 is now available for public comment. As a councillor I have requested additional information in regard to the operational details of the budget to ensure that I am comfortable with the direction of council.

The public exhibition of the Council Budget was discussed and passed at the 18th of June Council Meeting, after some clarification in regard to the processes that are required.

Speaking after the May 21 meeting, Cr Alex Makin said the stand-off was not planned but reflected widespread concern that the document lacked detail.

“There’s been some disquiet,” Cr Makin said. “We’ve been briefed about the council’s strategic plan, but not about operational details. We don’t know where exactly the money will be spent.”

There are a number of positive initiatives within this year’s budget including the announcement of a $1 million sustainability fund to tackle issues relating to water conservation.

Public discussion and scrutiny over the budget should be encouraged and submissions can be lodged until Friday the 8th of June. All submitters are able to reinforce their written submission with an oral presentation at a special council meeting on the 13th of June.

The proposed council budget and council plan can be downloaded from the Maroondah City Council website

Enjoying Planned Retirement – 2007 Art and Craft Exhibition

After a successful inaugural exhibition last year, Enjoying Planned Retirement (EPR) will be hosting an art and craft exhibition for 2007. Last year the art and craft exhibition attracted approximately 500 attendees who perused the many paintings, crafts and other wares provided by members of EPR.

The two-day exhibition will be held at at the North Ringwood Senior Citizens Centre at Norwood Hall, Warrandyte Road, Ringwood North and will begin with a grand opening at 7pm on Friday the 12th of October.

Victorian Transport Infrastructure Summit 2007

Through the Public Transport Users Association, I have been invited to speak at the 2007 Victorian Transport Infrastructure Summit on issues relating to Melbourne’s public transport infrastructure.

I will be part of a panel consisting of Yarra Trams, Metlink, the Public Transport Ombudsman and Melbourne University academic Paul Mees.

Topics that will be covered include options for managing transport congestion, network improvements operational practices and investment strategies. These issues are extremely topical to Melbourne given rising patronage, diminishing reliability, the need for overall coordination and a Government reluctance to invest in new public transport infrastructure.

Conference Details:

Croydon Conservation Society Film Night

The Croydon Conservation Society is holding a community screening of the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth followed by the End of Suburbia.

An Inconvenient Truth explores the mounting evidence that confirms that humans are contributing to climate change and the End of Suburbia explores the concept of peak oil, which is where demand for oil exceeds the limited supply that is available.


The films will be screened at Luther College, Plymouth Road Croydon. (Melway: 36 H12 or bus route 366 from Ringwood or Croydon Stations).

MX: Here's to 40 more

Melbourne’s MX newspaper has reported on the announcement of 39 additional train services that will be introduced from October this year.

Public Transport Users Association president Alex Makin gave the news a cautious welcome.

“It’s an encouraging sign but we would rather see it sooner rather than later,” Makin said. “It is good that the Transport Minister has taken steps to finally rectify the chronic overcrowding.”

The introduction of these services will assist in alleviating overcrowding and improving the frequency of Melbourne’s rail network, but further improvements are required, including the introduction of shoulder-peak express services to further cater to the needs of public transport users.

MAV Transport and Infrastructure Advisory Group – May 2007 meeting

This month’s Transport and Infrastructure Group included presentations from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) who discussed the Federal Government’s AusLink program and Meredith Sussex, the Coordinator General of Infrastructure, who spoke about her role within the Department of Infrastructure.

The Melbourne 2030 review process, which is expected to formally include community input in the latter half of the year will be the key testament as to how seriously the government views the need to integrate land-use planning and transport. While Melbourne 2030 and the Government’s Meeting Our Transport Challenges both claimed to provide such integration, reality has demonstrated that this is still sorely lacking.