Eastern Transport Coalition: Melbourne 2030 and Canberra debrief

Tonight’s Eastern Transport Coalition meeting provided a debriefing on the recent Canberra delegation, with the group resolving to develop a position paper to identify potential roles for Federal involvement in urban public transport.

The ETC will also issue a submission into the Melbourne 2030 audit, to highlight the current lack of integration between public transport provision within activity centres and the failure on the part of the State Government to provide much needed public transport infrastructure for Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Lynne Kosky, the Minister for Public Transport, has accepted an invitation to address the Eastern Transport Coalition and will be speaking at our next meeting.

MAV Meeting of Transport Coalitions

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the peak body representing local government within Victoria, organised a meeting of transport coalitions to ensure cooperation between the different local government and community organisations that are advocating for public transport improvements.

Presentations were delivered by the:

  • Western Transport Alliance;
  • Eastern Transport Coalition;
  • Metropolitan Transport Forum;
  • Coalition for People’s Transport (including the PTUA);

There is broad agreement between the various organisations that improved public transport is critical to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Melbourne and that the State Government must start to deliver results. Likewise, there was also consensus that the Federal Government has a role to play in keeping State Governments accountable.

With rising petrol prices and further pressures on housing affordability, public transport improvements are critical to alleviating ongoing financial hardship for families. With car dependence often costing households to 30% of their income it is clear that sustainable transport – including much need rail extensions and further bus improvements are required to ensure an economically vibrant Melbourne.

Good Access = Good Business

Good Access = Good Business is a panel discussion organised by Maroondah’s Scoot Wheel N Move and supported by the State Government’s Bar None initiative.

The event aims to highlight the need for an accessible and inclusive community, including good access for businesses and mobility through public transport.

Good Access = Good Business will held at Maroondah’s Federation Estate on Thursday the 4th of October from 10:30 am.

Scoot Wheel N Move and Bar None

This morning’s Scoot Wheel N Move included personnel from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to discuss Maroondah’s involvement in the Bar None initiative.

Bar None, a program initiated by the State Government, aims to highlight the efforts of people who are working to eliminate barriers within our community and hence ensuring a stronger and more inclusive community.

Scoot Wheel N Move has been nominated as part of the Bar None program and is hosting a panel discussion on Thursday the 4th of October under the topic of Good Access = Good Business. The event will recognise nominees within the Bar None initiative and will discuss access issues within Maroondah’s businesses.

Media Release: Youth in councils – a critical situation

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Youth in councils – a critical situation

In an individual submission issued over councillor remuneration, Cr. Alex Makin has highlighted the lack of youth participation in local government and called for higher councillor allowances to ensure more representative local councils.

“The call for higher councillor allowances must not be seen as a grab for cash. While it is true that I am calling for higher allowances, I am doing so to ensure a greater level of commitment and a healthier balance for both councillors and the community,” Cr. Makin said.

The State Government has called for a review into councillor allowances with submissions closing the 1st of September. Currently Victoria’s councils are on a three tired system providing up to $12,000, $15,000 or $18,000 per annum for councillors. Councillors elected within the City of Maroondah receive $15,000 per annum.

“It is distressing that youth participation within councils is extremely low with just 7.8% of councillors aged under 35, despite the fact that over one quarter of our population is within this age group,” Cr. Makin said. “The current rates of remuneration are partially responsible for this, since it is extremely difficult for younger people to make a positive impression within their careers while balancing other commitments. This is contrasted against older people who generally have stable careers, assets and family, making it much easier to fulfil council duties on the current remuneration provided.”

Cr. Alex Makin has supported the rates proposed by the Municipal Association of Victoria which would provide three categories allowing up to $19,933, $24,204 or $28,475 per annum dependent on the budget capacity of the respective municipality.

“Councillors spend on average the equivalent of 20 hours per week on council duties and the allowance should reflect this commitment. While there may be some current councillors who fail to provide the necessary work, the fact is the current remuneration is deterring committed individuals and particularly our youth from stepping forward,” Cr. Makin concluded.

About Alex Makin:
Alex Makin was elected in November 2005 as the Councillor for Loughnan’s Hill ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex, currently the youngest councillor elected within the history of the City of Maroondah and just one of several councillors Victoria wide aged under 30, has a keen interest in sustainability, including public transport, planning and community engagement.


Media Release: Get into Maroondah's FReeZA and chill out

It’s that time of the year again when Maroondah City Council’s Youth Services team puts out the call for interested young people in the community to become part of the Maroondah FReeZA Program.

Councillor Alex Makin said Council’s Youth Services team are looking for enthusiastic young people aged between 16 and 21 years who are interested in learning new skills, participating in the music industry, and organising eight live music events.

An information evening will be held on Wednesday 17 October from 5.30pm to 7.00pm at EV’s Youth Centre, 212 Mt Dandenong Road, Croydon.

“I would highly recommend attending this evening to anyone thinking of participating in the 2008 Maroondah FReeZA program. Members of the 2007 group will be available to answer questions and give an insight into the responsibilities and commitment involved in being a Maroondah FReeZA member,” said Cr Makin.

“Being part of the Maroondah FReeZA Program is a great way to develop leadership and interpersonal skills, gain first hand experience in the music industry, make new friends and put something back into the local community,” said Cr Makin.

“Maroondah FReeZA members are trained in a broad range of areas – including event management, teamwork, effective communication, meeting structures, networking, professionalism, budgeting and occupational health and safety,” said Cr Makin.

Members of the program will also train in five accredited modules of music industry training. The group will plan, coordinate and evaluate eight all-ages drug, alcohol and smoke free music events during 2008.

The Maroondah FReeZA program is part of the State Government’s FReeZA program, which concentrates on interactive personal development and group skills through organising live music events.

Maroondah FReeZA Program hopefuls must be willing to attend all training sessions and weekly meetings, be able to commit to the program until December 2008, must live work or study in Maroondah, and enjoy working in a team environment.

If this sounds like you and you think that you have what it takes, call Amanda Anguillesi, Youth Programs Worker for more information or an application form on 9298 4379 or email amanda.anguillesi@maroondah.vic.gov.au

Completed application forms must be received no later than 5pm Monday 29 October, 2007.

Opening of Harcourts Real Estate in Ringwood North

This evening I was invited to the opening of Harcourts in Ringwood North Shopping Centre. Harcourts, a real estate firm that originated in New Zealand, recently expanded into Australia and Ringwood North marks its first location in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

The Ringwood North Shopping Centre contains a mixture of businesses to provide a vibrant shopping district within Maroondah. The opening of Harcourts demonstrates the ongoing success of this shopping centre.

Submission: Councillor Remuneration Review Panel

The State Government has announced a review into councillor remuneration, as part of this process I authored a submission encouraging to examine the need for stronger youth represention with local government:

Given the time commitment councillors provide, it is fair and reasonable to look at a level of remuneration that allows elected officials to adequately manage council, work, family and other commitments.

It has been estimated that the majority of councillors undertake between 11 to 30 hours per week on council duties and as such it is reasonable to view the commitment to council as a significant time component. Given this commitment and the current remuneration provided, it is unsurprising that youth are significantly under-represented as councillors given that younger people are often beginning to undertake significant career and family commitments.

While it would be wrong to entice candidates into council purely due to the remuneration provided, the current quantum may in fact be deterring committed individuals and particularly our youth from seeking election.

In 2005 I was elected as a Councillor for the City of Maroondah and am one of the few Victorian councillors younger than 30 years of age.

While I understand that both the Municipal Association of Victoria and the City of Maroondah have issued submissions, I believe that there is the need for a submission that explicitly explores the challenges facing younger people in local government.

Speaking from my own experience, I can testify to the challenges that the role provides particularly in regard to balancing career, family and other commitments. While such commitments are not exclusive to younger people, the effects are often more prominent for younger age groups. There may be councillors who are not putting the work into the role, but this is not a path I have wanted to take. In fact, I can confidently and honestly state that I have and will continue to represent my community to the fullest of my ability, despite ongoing competing demands for my time.

Lastly, I would like to state that while I am writing in support of higher remuneration this is not a grab for cash. People should not enter politics or local government due to remuneration, but it is reasonable to expect fair compensation to ensure that competing time demands can be managed and to maximise the ability to represent the community.

Media Release: Transport advocacy will continue

In announcing his resignation from the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), Alex Makin has urged local communities to find their voice and directly advocate for much needed service improvements.

“Sustainable transport and public transport advocacy has been and will remain a passion of mine,” Mr. Makin said. “While I have resigned from the PTUA, I certainly plan on remaining active in transport advocacy and in particular focusing on the needs of middle and outer suburban residents.”

Alex Makin joined in the PTUA in 2004 when he formed the Outer East branch to represent the transport needs of outer suburban residents. Alex subsequently formed the southeast branch and undertook direct lobbying of politicians and government departments to seek public transport improvements. Alex was also a principal spokesperson for the organisation until his resignation.

“I would like to thank the many current and past Members of Parliaments and local councillors who made themselves available to myself and the PTUA. While we may not have always agreed, it was certainly encouraging to have open dialogue with a number of politicians,” Mr. Makin said. “I would also like to thank the many dedicated community members both within the PTUA and external to the organisation.”

“Lastly, I would like to thank the media for their ongoing coverage of the PTUA and transport issues in general. It is critical that our middle and outer suburbs find their voice in calling for public transport improvements. I certainly will remain active in transport advocacy and as such am more than happy to continue speaking to the media as a public transport advocate,” Mr. Makin concluded.

ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Alex Makin on 0409 136 213 or email alex@alexmakin.com.au.

Maroondah Art Gallery: Brush strokes – artworks by stroke survivors

The Maroondah Art Gallery is featuring Bush strokes, artworks by stroke survivors initiated by the Croydon Stroke Support Group and supported by Maroondah City Council.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday the 4th of September and will be featured at the Maroondah Art Gallery, at Federation Estate until the 30th of September.