Parent Support Network: Launch of Coloured Emotions

The Parent Support Network Eastern Region, provides support for carers, parents and families that have children with a disability. The group provides this support through providing access to support groups, advocacy support, art therapy groups, activities and a quarterly newsletter.

This evening I attended the launch of Coloured Emotions an art exhibition which was the result of an art therapy group through the Parent Support Network. The Art Therapy program allowed these carers to express their emotion through art in a supportive environment.

The artwork demonstrated the stress and challenges involved in caring for a child with a disability and the need for peer support. The raw emotion conveyed the many issues faced by the participants, including the uncertainty surrounding funding for such groups. ‘I want the funding bodies to see this and see the need for groups within the community to stop isolation’, was one of the quotes provided by an artist in the exhibition and it is clear we need a greater level of support in our community for people with disabilities and their carers.

Maroondah Council is currently reviewing its Disability Plan and will commence a workshop in mid to late March to seek community input into this plan.

For more information on the Parent Support Network please visit

Media Release: ETC seeks budget commitments from Federal and State Governments

In submissions to the State and Federal Governments the ETC has sought co-operation to tackle one of the most significant contributors to rising greenhouse gases and rising petrol prices – private transport.

Cr Mick Van De Vreede, ETC Chairperson said that the seven councils wanted to see the funding criteria for AusLink changed to allow the $3+billion a year funding program to fund urban public transport.

“If we are going to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit and help families avoid the rising petrol prices we need to increase the availability of public transport now. A long term plan to reduce climate change requires a long term plan for the expansion of public transport.”

“In the east this means four broad key projects;

  • Heavy rail connections to Doncaster and Rowville
  • Duplication or triplication on the Belgrave, Lilydale and Dandenong lines
  • Completion and implementation of bus service reviews
  • Improvement of passenger amenity through state of the art transport interchanges in Ringwood and Box Hill

Without immediate action to deliver on these projects residents in the outer east will be unable to do their bit to reduce climate change.”

Councillor Alex Makin represents Maroondah City Council on the Eastern Transport Coalition.

“The Eastern Transport Coalition is calling for the funding criteria for the Federal AusLink program to allow funds to develop urban public transport – and in particular in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne,” said Cr Makin.

“State and Federal Governments must work cooperatively to deliver the public transport improvements necessary to ensure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our suburbs. The ETC’s budget submissions are a call to action for Melbourne’s public transport system.”

Maroondah Journal: Cr stripped of duties 'hurts community'

Divisions within Maroondah City Council are clearly apparent with four councillors (Les Willmott, Peter Gurr, Tony Dib and Natalie Thomas) continuing to deny Cr. Jo-anne Taylor from council’s committee appointments.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on this abhorrent act and the lack of debate that surrounded the motion to review:

Cr Alex Makin called for a review of Cr Taylor’s committee list for the council’s first meeting this year. Last Monday, the council maintained its decision to revoke Cr Taylor’s role on five committees

It is unfortunate that some councillors have denigrated Maroondah City Council through launching blatant personal attacks against other councillors and denying them the ability to represent council on committees.

Cr Makin said it was a “blatant personal attack on the councillor”.

The motion to review sought to reverse the decision made at last year’s council meeting to remove Cr. Jo-anne Taylor from representing council on the Maroondah Partners in Health, Safety and Well-being committee, Road Safe – Melbourne Eastern Ranges and the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Unfortunately the gang of four, consisting of Les Willmott, Peter Gurr, Tony Dib and Natalie Thomas, used their numbers to block this motion and any corresponding debate.

“I always saw the role of being a councillor as one where we build and support our communities so that we nurture a municipality that is filled with, as the new council slogan suggests, community lifestyle and opportunity.”

This action, led by those four councillors has confirmed that Maroondah City Council is currently divided, with several councillors more intent on protecting their own self interests and attacking others, than caring for the communities they are supposed to represent.

“The actions to strip Cr Taylor from the council’s delegated committees and boards results in the exact opposite. It simply tears down our communities as it denies them the opportunity through Cr Taylor to represent their concerns.”

I can only hope that the gang of four will represent Maroondah on these committees with as much vigour and passion as Cr. Jo-anne Taylor holds for her community.

The full transcript of the speech I delivered in support of the motion to review is as follows:

Continue reading “Maroondah Journal: Cr stripped of duties 'hurts community'”

Maroondah Journal: Council backs current set-up

The Victorian Electoral Commission is currently undertaking a representation review into the ward structure and number of councillors within Maroondah.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on this review, amid the official council submission calling for the retention of the status quo:

Maroondah councillors have urged the electoral commission to retain seven councillors in seven wards. Cr Alex Makin disagrees.

Council’s submission was on the agenda for February’s council meeting and was passed five to two, with myself and Cr. Maureen Naylor voting against the council’s defence of the status quo.

“I am not in favour of the council’s current representation. If it continues down the path of having seven I think it ward boundaries will continue to be confusing for the public. What we need is a simple ward structure”.

The current ward structure within Maroondah divides a number of communities making it difficult for community members to ascertain who their ward councillor is. As an example, it is quite common for me to receive calls from Ringwood residents living in Clocktower Ward since the current structure divides Ringwood.

Cr Makin said he would advocate for three wards and three councillors on the basis it was consistent with what the community desired.

Consultation undertaken by Maroondah City Council, through a series of workshops, confirmed that the community favoured reform through a structure with three wards electing three councillors each. It is disappointing that the council has chosen to disregard the views of the community simply to try and protect the status quo.

Furthermore the current ward boundaries perpetuate a division between Ringwood and Croydon rather than ensuring that council decisions are made with a holistic approach. It is time for the ward structure to be modified to reflect a cohesive Maroondah community.

Given that Council has chosen to ignore the community I will be authoring an individual submission to the Victorian Electoral Commission’s review into Maroondah. Submissions are due by the 4th of March.

Maroondah Journal: One and all urged to roll up their sleeves

Clean Up Australia Day will be held on Sunday the 2nd of March, with Ringwood Lake, HE Parker Reserve and the Dandenong Creek being nominated sites in Maroondah. The Maroondah Journal has reported on the call for volunteers.

Maroondah councillor Alex Makin urged residents to join the clean-up.

Volunteers are welcome for Clean Up Australia Day and should bring sturdy footwear, gloves, sunscreen and a hat.

“The Maroondah community gets behind Clean Up Australia Day every year, and we value the many volunteers who keep coming back to help clean up our parks, reserves and roadsides. It would be great to see new faces this year, helping to make our community even more enjoyable to live in – you’ll be warmly welcomed.”

Nominated sites are:

  • Dandenong Creek footbridge, at the end of Marlborough Road, 9 am – 12 noon
  • HE Parker Reserve, Heathmont 10 am – 12 noon
  • Ringwood Lake, 10 am – 12 noon
  • Ringwood Lake Scout Hall, Bedford Park, 11:30 am – 1 pm.

Ringwood Jewellers Australia's Best Jewellery Store Celebration

This evening I attended a function celebrating the awarding of best Jewellery Store to Ringwood Jewellers in the 2007 National Small Business Champion Awards. Ringwood Jewellers is a family business spanning four generations and is located in Ringwood Centro.

I would like to congratulate Ringwood Jewellers, as a local Ringwood family business, for receiving this distinguished honour. It is great to see local Maroondah businesses being recognised Australia-wide.

For more information on Ringwood Jewellers please visit

Tour of CMA Recycling

This afternoon, Maroondah City Council was invited to tour the facilities of CMA Recycling (formerly Southern Rocycling), located along Heatherdale Road.

The tour was informative and while there is little doubt that much of the activities within CMA Recycling are pioneering the recycling industry, this should not come at the expense of the amenity for nearby residents. I trust that CMA Recycling, will begin to cooperate with residents to ensure that it can operate while being mindful of residential concerns.

Eastern Transport Coalition February 2008 meeting

Tonight’s Eastern Transport Coalition meeting focused on developing an action plan based upon the strategic direction established at the January meeting.

The major facet of this action plan, will be the hosting of a public transport summit later this year to explore the public transport issues faced within Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. While the State Government has invested in projects such as EastLink, it has failed to simultaneously invest in much needed public transport improvements.

Melbourne’s eastern suburbs need to be provided with transport choice, to ensure liveable communities that are able to provide economic, social and environmental sustainability. There is a stark contrast between road and public transport investment, with EastLink, consisting of 40km of new road construction, being completed within three years, while the Stud Road SmartBus, a mere upgrade of bus frequencies, operating spans and bus lanes, also required a three year timeframe.

Given that the State Government views SmartBus (a combination of bus priority treatments and service improvements) as a priority, it is surprising that a three year timeframe is required for their completion. It is clear that the State Government must drastically improve the speed in which it implements public transport improvements.

This year, with the much anticipated Eddington Inquiry into Melbourne’s transport needs, will determine the sincerity of the State Government’s commitment to public transport. The ETC will continue to hold the State Government accountable to ensure that public transport is a viable transport mode for Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Residents' Meeting in Ringwood

I regularly hold meetings to discuss issues that are a concern to the residents within Loughnan’s Hill Ward. This evening I spoke to several residents located within the Ringwood Transit City area to discuss issues relevant to the local area.

Resident meetings provide an opportunity to hear first-hand the concerns that people have about their local neighbourhood. Issues discussed included footpaths, new developments and the condition of Ringwood Station. Footpath construction is already mandatory for new developments within the Ringwood Transit City and the recently adopted Amendment C58 will further strengthen council’s focus on sustainable developments through improvements to water and energy conservation.

It is hoped that the State Government will support the revitalisation of Ringwood by committing to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station. The station currently fails accessibility standards and is perceived to be unsafe, this redevelopment is required to ensure the future success of Ringwood.

Resident meetings provide a fantastic opportunity to hear and address local concerns and I would like to thank the residents who provided their time this evening.

Media Release: Philip Gould in concert

One of Australia’s most loved performers, Philip Gould, is preparing to bring his highly anticipated stage show to Karralyka as part of the 2008 Maroondah Morning Music Program.

Councillor Alex Makin said it was very exciting to have such an internationally renowned performer gracing the Karralyka stage.

“Many Australians grew up listening to the talents of Philip Gould, from his early days on Young Talent Time through to his leading roles on London’s West End,” said Cr Makin.

“After a successful career overseas Philip came back to Australia to star as Lieutenant Cable in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, at The State Theatre. Now settled back in Australia with his wife and six children, Philip is set to return to performing in Australian theatres,” said Cr Makin.

“Philip will perform a fantastic selection of much loved songs from the musical stage, which will have the audience singing along, it is definitely not a show to miss,” said Cr Makin.

Philip Gould in Concert will be performed at the Karralyka Theatre on Tuesday 11 March at 11.00am and 2.00pm.

Individual tickets are $15.50. For groups of 10 or more tickets are $13.50 per person. Refreshments are included in the ticket price and are served one hour prior to each performance. The Karralyka Centre is located on Mines Road, East Ringwood.

For more information or to make a booking contact the Karralyka Centre on 9879 2933, email or visit