Media Release: Find out what climate change is all about

Heard about climate change but not sure how you make a difference?

Then come along to Maroondah City Council’s free workshops on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency during November.

Councillor Alex Makin said the first workshop, All About Climate Change focuses on exploring the issue of climate change and the concept of an ecological footprint.

“Featuring a presentation by an Al Gore Climate Ambassador, the workshop will provide a a greater understanding of how our climate is changing and how this will impact our lives and our families,” said Cr Makin.

“It also explains the importance of energy efficiency and how, as a society, our behaviours and attitudes need to become more environmentally sustainable,” said Cr Makin.

“The second workshop, Combating Climate Change at Home, will offer practical advice on what people can do at home to save energy and reduce their ecological footprint. The workshop will cover a wide range of suggestions from something as simple as turning off superfluous lights to incorporating efficient design into buildings and renovations,” said Cr Makin.

“I wholeheartedly encourage the Maroondah community to come along to one, or both, of the workshops. Council has an ongoing commitment to the Maroondah community regarding sustainability issues, because what we do today will have a major impact on the future of our environment,” said Cr Makin.

  • All About Climate Change will be held on Tuesday 20 November, with registrations closing on Tuesday 13 November.
  • Combating Climate Change at Home will be on Tuesday 27 November, with registrations closing on Tuesday 20 November.

Both workshops will be held from 7.00pm until 9.00pm at the City Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood (Melways 50 A7), or bus route 670 along Maroondah Highway (from Ringwood or Croydon Stations – call Metlink on 131 638 for timetable information).

Places are limited to 80 for each workshop.

For further information or to register your place, please call 9298 4261.

Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre : Launch of Kia Carnival

Amongst its referral and training services, the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre also provides transport for people with disabilities and the frail aged. This service is available for medical and health care appointments, day care programs, social and recreational activities, shopping and family visits and aims to assist people to live independently within their homes.

While there are approximately 60 volunteer drivers, there was the need for an additional vehicle to assist in demand for this service. In this regard the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre has successfully partnered with the business community through philanthropic organisations.

The IOOF Foundation, which aims to assist in aged care services, has provided the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre with a new Kia Carnival which will be used to transport clients for medical related appointments.

The contribution from the IOOF Foundation shows the potential that exists through utilising philanthropy to support non-profit community based organisations. Philanthropy is a growing industry within Australia with a many businesses recognising the need to contribute to the wider community.

Local government has the potential to coordinate philanthropic efforts through connecting the business community with local community causes. As such, I have requested that Maroondah Council support philanthropy within Maroondah. I am expecting some preliminary details on this concept before the end of this year.

For further information on the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre please visit

MAV Graffiti Prevention and Strategy Workshop

The State Government has announced a number of legislative changes in regard to the prevention of graffiti and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) organised a workshop to explain how these changes would effect local government.

The workshop began with a presentation from the Department of Justice who explained that the State Government was focused on the principles of prevention, removal and enforcement. As such the legislation aims to create a number of new offences relating to graffiti, including fines for carrying graffiti implements on or near public transport and harsher penalties for perpetrators of graffiti.

A number of grants have been announced by the State Government to enable Councils and community groups to remove the presence of graffiti. The grants will be favouring projects that can demonstrate an ongoing focus on the removal of graffiti.

The Victorian Police has improved their ability to enforce crimes relating to graffiti, through the procurement of a Victoria wide database, which will categorise graffiti. The database will allow Police to match tags against perpetrators and follows the success of a localised database established for the Maroondah, Knox and Yarra Ranges region.

The new legislative changes will take effect by September 2008 and should complement the anti-graffiti policies of Maroondah City Council through ensuring closer integration with Police and State Government agencies.

Maroondah Journal: New look for the council?

The Victorian Electoral Commission is required to undertake a review of council ward structures and composition to coincide with every second council election. While some councils undertook this review prior to the 2005 council elections, the formal process for Maroondah will begin in January to coincide with the 2008 council elections.

Maroondah Council currently has seven single member wards:

Current composition of Council wards in Maroondah

The review has the potential to increase the number of councillors to nine but to reduce the number of wards to three. This would mean there could potentially be three wards comprising of three councillors each.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on the review process, including a series of workshops that will be organised by council:

Loughnan’s Hill Councillor Alex Makin said the council wards were “largely arbitrary” and it was time to look at change. It is timely that we look at a new model that suits our community to become more involved and active within our broader community”.

The current ward compositions are largely arbitrary potentially leading to confusion as to the location of ward boundaries and the division of suburbs. A simpler ward structure, whereby Maroondah would be divided into three, would make it easier for residents to identify which ward they live in and who their respective councillors are.

While the formal review process is yet to begin, Maroondah Council is organising a series of workshops to gather community input into the review process:

  • Wednesday 14 November 2007 commencing at 5pm at the Council Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood.
  • Saturday 17 November 2007 commencing at 2pm at the Council Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood.
  • Wednesday 21 November 2007 commencing at 7pm at the Glenn Frost Room, Croydon Library, Civic Square Croydon.

An Issues Paper is available for participants and bookings are essential. Bookings may be made by contacting either Janice or Eliza on 9298 4264.

It is critical that Maroondah uses the opportunity of this review to examine how we can strengthen the engagement and empowerment of our community.

Maroondah Journal: Back to an outdoor dip at the Croydon pool this summer

Works are progressing on schedule for the Croydon Memorial Pool, meaning that it will be reopened in time for the summer season from the 24th of November. The Maroondah Journal has reported on this progress and the expected reopening of the facility:

Cr Alex Makin said the pool would be open in time to coincide with Water Safety Week. “The liner secures the life of the pool for another 15 years. We now need to work on the promotional side of the pool to draw people back”.

Maroondah Council is preparing 40,000 brochures to be distributed to houses within Maroondah advertising the reopening of the facility and the events planned to coincide with water safety week – including a 25% discount for family passes.

Maroondah Forum for People with Disabilities and Carers – final meeting for 2007

Maroondah’s Forum for People with Disabilities and Carers provides an opportunity for the community to raise access and inclusion concerns directly with Maroondah City Council. The forum is held on a quarterly basis and often includes updates from Maroondah City Council, transport providers and government.

Maroondah is currently revising its Disability Policy and Action Plan and a workshop is planned for early 2008 to review the forum and its role in enhancing accessibility. The workshop will examine how Council can ensure stronger engagement for people with disabilities and to provide an opportunity for feedback in regard to the Disability Policy and its corresponding Action Plan.

The forum also included a presentation from one of its members in regard to the need for a direct bus service along Mount Dandenong Road connecting Ringwood Station to Maroondah Hospital, as well as Karralyka and Croydon. The current bus services do not provide a direct service to the hospital making it difficult to access the services provided at Maroondah Hospital and the nearby health precinct.

The State Government has announced a review of bus services to be undertaken over the next few years and it is hoped that a new bus route along Mount Dandenong Road will be included as part of this process. Maroondah Council must collate this feedback, such as new routes that are required, to ensure that public transport is able to meet the needs of its community.

I would like to thank the regular participants within the Maroondah Forum for People with Disabilities and Carers. The forum has initiated a number of significant improvements to accessibility, including the Scoot Wheel N Move working group, improvements to a number of pedestrian crossings and continued advocacy over the need to upgrade Ringwood Station.

Councillor Remuneration Panel Hearing

This morning I was invited to speak in support of my submission to the Councillor Remuneration Review in front of a panel consisting of Joanne Anderson, Bruce Mildenhall and Liz Roadley.

My presentation covered a number of issues largely unique to younger people within local government, including the need to juggle work and council commitments. While these commitments are not exclusive to younger people, the effects are often more prominent for younger age groups, who are often at the beginnings of their career and family lives.

Currently Victoria’s councils are on a three tired system providing up to $12,000, $15,000 or $18,000 per annum for councillors. Currently Councillors elected within the City of Maroondah receive $15,000 per annum.

As outlined in my submission, I spoke in favour of higher remuneration to make it easier for younger people to be able to participate in local government and therefore increase youth participation with our communities.

While it would be wrong to entice candidates into council simply due to the remuneration, it is clear that the current rate of remuneration is a factor that is deterring youth participation within local government. Younger people are significantly under-represented in local government with just 7.8% of councillors aged under 35, despite the fact that one quarter of Victoria’s population is within this age group.

I also spoke strongly in support for the need of compulsory training for councillors. I believe that compulsory training would deter non-genuine candidates from seeking election and would ensure a higher standard of expertise for elected councillors. While training is not explicitly within the scope of the review, it is critical that the issue of training is explored.

The recommendations of the panel are due to be reported to the Minister for Local Government by the 30th of November.

State of the Victorian Economy

This afternoon I attended a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) function on the State of the Victorian economy, presented by the Victorian State Treasurer John Lenders.

Treasurer Lenders highlighted a range of figures, such as gross state product, population growth and building construction, which demonstrated the continued growth of the Victorian economy and provided the context of Victoria’s future direction. In this regard the following priorities will have a direct impact on Maroondah:

  • Accelerating public transport improvements;
  • Improving urban development and planning;
  • Strengthening the delivery of major projects;

While the Treasurer remarked that Commonwealth grants to Victoria were decreasing in real terms, he failed to highlight Victoria’s role in shifting costs to local government.

With continued strong economic growth it is an opportune time to invest in the future needs of Melbourne and Victoria. In this regard, the State Government needs to include urgent public transport projects, such as the redevelopment of Ringwood station in the next State Budget.

Maroondah Journal: Recycling plant on notice for breach of public health

The Maroondah Journal has reported on the successful prosecution of Southern Rocycling brought forward by Maroondah City Council

Southern Rocycling, which due to excessive noise volumes was found to have breached the Health Act, was placed on an 18 month good behaviour bond as well as being ordered to pay $3000 to the Salvation Army’s EastCare Network and costs of $7978 to Maroondah City Council.

Cr Alex Makin said it was a win for the community.

“The 18-month bond will determine whether CMA is sincere in rebuilding the relationship with the community and council, and provide piece of mind for the community.”

CMA Corporation which purchased Southern Rocycling in July, must demonstrate that it is willing to cooperate with the community and will address resident concerns.

“The council has had two successful convictions against Southern Rocycling now.”

The two successful prosecutions has demonstrated that residents are rightfully concerned about their local amenity and the excessive noise volumes caused by the operations of Southern Rocycling.

It is hoped that CMA Corporation, as the new owners of Southern Rocycling, will work to establish goodwill with the community.

Melbourne 2030 Audit Workshop

This afternoon I was invited to attend a Melbourne 2030 Audit Workshop, organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and the Melbourne 2030 Audit Expert Group.

The forum workshop provided an opportunity to gauge the views of local government in regard to the implementation and priorities of Melbourne 2030. In this regard I spoke about the need to support activity centre development through the use of infrastructure investment to help achieve the aims of Melbourne 2030.

For example, in the case of Ringwood (a nominated Transit City under Melbourne 2030) there is a need for the State Government to commit funding for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station, since this would serve as a catalyst for Ringwood’s revitalisation. Ringwood could in fact become a quick and very successful win for the State Government if this investment is provided.

Likewise, the State Government needs to provide budget certainty for activity centres, through allocating capital works funding for the infrastructure required in these areas. Urban redevelopment requires targeted investment from government to stimulate further investment and requires leadership from both local and State governments.

While Maroondah is supporting sustainable transport through the construction of footpaths with new developments in the Ringwood Transit City, this needs to be supported with the funding necessary for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station.

Given the ongoing consultation that is currently taking place, it is hoped that the State Government will act on the findings of the Melbourne 2030 Audit Expert Group and provide a genuine whole of government approach to Melbourne 2030 and its goals encouraging public transport usage and improving urban sustainability.