Media Release: Enjoy a great shoot out at Karralyka!

You’ll have to get in quickly to enjoy a great shoot out at Karralyka Theatre when Irving Berlin’s greatest stage musical, Annie Get Your Gun, comes to town.

Councillor Alex Makin said John Lidgerwood’s Music Theatre Company’s presentation of this much loved show is part of Maroondah’s annual Morning Music program.

“You’ll need to book for the afternoon session quickly though, as tickets for the morning performance are already sold out,” said Cr Makin.

Annie Oakley is the best shot around but it only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler.

“This wonderful show is full of fun, colour and memorable songs including The Girl that I Marry, No Biz like Show Biz, Anything You Can Do, I got the sun in the morning, and many more,” said Cr Makin.

Annie Get Your Gun will be performed at the Karralyka Theatre on Tuesday 27 May 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, Ringwood East.

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

VEC Panel Hearing for the Maroondah Representation Review

Tonight, the VEC held a public panel hearing as part of the process into Maroondah’s representation review, providing submitters with the opportunity to speak in support of their written submissions.

As part of the ten minute allocation for submitters, I elaborated on the issues raised within my written submission, including the fact that Maroondah’s current single member ward structure and any proposed alternatives unnecessarily divide our community. The fact that there are significant discrepancies between the number of candidates within each ward, such as eight in Eastfield compared to uncontested elections in Wyreena, demonstrates in part a diminishing interest in the current ward structure and a failure of these wards to adequately connect with the community.

Larger wards encompassing broader communities of interest, along socio-demographic, as well as geographic similarities, will also help ensure a whole of municipality approach towards issues. This will be of increasing importance as councils tackle significant issues such as climate change, accessibility and transport, which affect the entire municipality and not just a specific ward.

A new ward structure, that unites rather than divides our community and provides residents and ratepayers with clearly defined ward boundaries will provide a higher level of governance and democracy for the City of Maroondah.

The VEC is due to present its final recommendation on Monday the 19th of May.

Maroondah Journal: 'No logging' call takes root

The Maroondah Journal has reported community concerns over the logging of water catchments and requests for Maroondah to join neighbouring councils, such as Knox, Yarra Range and Whitehorse in calling on the State Government to stop this practice.

Cr Alex Makin said logging was a major issue and there was sufficient evidence to backup residents’ concerns.

“Logging erodes the water ability of our water catchment to retain water. It is my intent to secure a motion whereby Maroondah would call on the State Government to stop logging our catchment areas.”

A report on this issue will be produced for the May council meeting, where if successful Maroondah would join the growing list of councils raising their voice on this issue. The logging of water catchments is environmentally and economically unsound, since it reduces Melbourne’s supply of water.

I trust that councillors within Maroondah will recognise the importance of this issue.

Consultative Workshop for the Maroondah Forum for People with Disabilities and Carers

The Maroondah Forum for People with Disabilities and Carers, which currently meets on a quarterly basis, provides an opportunity for council and the community to discuss issues relating to accessibility. While the forum has been successful in creating dialogue and improving accessibility within Maroondah, it is timely to undertake a review to strengthen this forum and the level of community dialogue.

Today’s workshop included approximately 40 community members, with a mixture of occasional and regular participants at the forum, as well as new attendees. This strong attendance provided a range of different experiences with accessibility issues within Maroondah.

The ability for networking between individuals and groups, the information that is shared and the ability to provide faces and a contact point for organisations, were identified as positive aspects of the forum. As an example, the ongoing attendance by companies such as Invicta and Connex has enabled direct communication in regard to transport and this has delivered improvements for our community.

The two-way dialogue between council and the community and the opportunity to provide either verbal or written comments were also seen as strengths. This dialogue has been critical in providing council with first-hand experience of the accessibility within the municipality and a number of infrastructure related projects, such as realigning pedestrian crossings, accessible parking improvements and the regrading of footpaths have been actioned as a direct result of this feedback.

Unfortunately the quarterly frequency of the forums has meant that some of this momentum is lost due to the delays between each meeting and also makes it difficult for people to remember issues that they wanted to discuss. As a result there was strong interest in the idea to increase the frequency of these meetings so that they are held every two months. This would also provide the added advantage of providing some flexibility for alternating meeting times, such as providing an evening forum for people that are unable to make day-time events. The forum is currently held between 10 am and 12 pm on a Monday and this makes it difficult for people who work during the day or for students to attend. While not everyone is comfortable with evening meetings, a more frequent schedule would allow for alternating times to give more people the opportunity to attend.

The need for ongoing promotion of the forum was also discussed and there is a clear need to increase community awareness. Details of the forum should be prominently featured on the Maroondah City Council website and it should also be included within council’s publications as well as the local newspapers.

There was much discussion in regard to the role of the forum in regard to whether it should include a strategic focus, such as exploring policy and advocacy, as well as providing a greater degree of structure through a terms of reference. The current informal and open nature of the forum provides an opportunity for people to attend as many or as few of the forums as they wish. Likewise the inclusion of engineering and operational issues provides mechanisms to raise issues directly with council.

It is certainly important to discuss strategic issues, particularly around the area of advocacy, such as ensuring affordable housing for people with disabilities, where local government can fulfil a critical role in lobbying other levels of government. It is important that Maroondah provides the right balance to ensure that strategic, as well as operational issues are discussed.

In this regard there may be merit in the formation of an accessibility committee, with a more formalised structure that would involve Council and the community within these broader issues. This would also provide the opportunity for peak accessibility groups to be involved in the decision making process. In addition it would mean that the forum would remain available to discuss more localised and specific concerns so that informal interaction with the community would continue.

I certainly see merit with increasing the frequency of the forum meetings with alternating times to allow for a greater level of input and to ensure more frequent dialogue with the community. Likewise I also believe there is a need for a more formalised committee that operates alongside the forum so that we can cover a wider range of accessibility issues.

Maroondah’s forum for people with disabilities and carers is generally well regarded by the community, although there is obvious scope for improvement. The discussion generated from this workshop will assist council in planning the future of this forum to ensure that we improve the level of accessibility within Maroondah.

The 11th Mullum Mullum Festival

The Mullum Mullum Festival is a community event, supported by Maroondah, Manningham and Whitehorse Councils, which celebrates the ecological and cultural value of the Mullum Mullum Creek Valley and surrounding remnant bushland areas. The uniqueness of the Mullum Mullum Valley has been recognised since the 1920s and we are fortunate to have such unique flora and fauna so close to Maroondah and the eastern suburbs.

The festival, now in its 11th year, was officially launched this afternoon at Yarran Dheran by Rachael Lamont the Chief Ranger of Parks Victoria. The Welcome to Country was conducted by Annette Xiberras a Wurundjeri Elder, who spoke about the cultural heritage of the Mullum Mullum Valley and the serenity that is enjoyed through this unique bushland. Since the Mullum Mullum Valley will soon be managed by Parks Victoria, it was timely to have Rachael speak about the organisation’s vision for the bushland.

The festival includes a number of walks around the valley as well as discussions on topics such as weeds, indigenous heritage and the fauna and flora native to the area. While sections have suffered significant damage due to the construction of EastLink, we are fortunate that some areas have been receiving the necessary level of care to try and minimise the impact of this construction.

It is unfortunate that Melbourne’s valleys have generally been viewed as sites for freeways although we are fortunate that the Mullum remains mostly intact rather than befalling the same fate as the Gardiner or Koonung Valleys. Once lost, the uniqueness of such ecosystems can never be recreated.

This afternoon I participated in the Extinction in the Suburbs walk, which was hosted by Dr Sarah Bekessy. Sarah discussed the impact of unchecked urban expansion on biodiversity and ecosystems and highlighted the need for a planning approach that includes natural environment in its assessment. Such measures are long overdue in Victoria where a number of threatened species reside in designated growth areas.

The Mullum Mullum Festival continues on Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th of May. For further details please visit

2008 Anzac Day Dawn Service at Ringwood

This morning I attended the The Anzac Day dawn service held at the Ringwood Clocktower, which is organised through the Ringwood RSL. It is wonderful to see the continued interest in the dawn service with a record number of attendees being present, with the crowds stretching to the other side of Maroondah Highway.

This year’s service was truly awe inspiring, with the Clocktower shimmering under the dawn light. The Ringwood RSL must be commended for impeccably hosting the proceedings and for their ongoing hospitality to the people in attendance.

Media Release: Create a limestone sculpture

Limestone has been used by sculptors around the world for thousands of years to create artwork that is famous for its beauty and longevity.

Councillor Alex Makin said Wyreena Community Arts Centre has two workshops coming up which will introduce participants to the art of limestone sculpture.

“Limestone is a light, even textured stone that is easy to shape, making it a popular choice for artists and sculptors,” said Cr Makin.

“The workshops will show how to use simple hand tools to create your own piece of art for the home or garden, with explanations and demonstrations of the various techniques,” said Cr Makin.

Limestone Sculpture workshops will conducted by Irina Barker on Saturday 24 May or Saturday 14 June from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

The workshops are suitable for beginners to advanced students. Cost is $70, plus $15 for the limestone block.

For more information or to enrol in one of the workshops please contact Wyreena on 9294 5590 between 9.00am to 5.00pm weekdays.

Wyreena Community Arts Centre is at 13-23 Hull Road, Croydon.

Maroondah Journal: New ward plan attacked

With submissions closing shortly for the Maroondah representation review, the Maroondah Journal has reported on council attempts to disregard community feedback on the review process.

Cr Alex Makin said not everyone agreed with the council’s view.

“Community consultation held in November last year made it clear that the community supported a new ward structure including multi-member wards.

These workshops were conducted by an independent facilitator who stated the following findings based on the feedback received:

  • Proportional representation was viewed as a far fairer system,
  • Single member wards drew little support,
  • No views were expressed that under single member wards Councillors would be more accessible or be closer to the community,
  • Multi-member wards – this structure was favoured by residents,

While it can be argued that the sample size of these workshops was low, the onus was on council to verify these findings and not simply to disregard them.

“It’s simply another tactic of the closed-door mentality that operates in Maroondah.”

It is unfortunate that far too many decisions within Maroondah are being made behind closed doors rather than being debated in open council.

Response Submission to the VEC's representation review for Maroondah City Council

I have submitted my response submission to the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC) representation review into Maroondah City Council.

It is encouraging that the Victorian Electoral Commission has found that substantial changes are required to Maroondah’s ward structure as demonstrated through the three options brought forward in the preliminary submission.

In providing a response to the three options proposed by the VEC I assessed the models against the issues listed within my preliminary submission to ensure a consistent and systematic approach.

Ultimately it is imperative that Maroondah’s ward boundaries are restructured to combine communities of interest, rather than the current case where communities are clearly being divided.

Delegates' Report: Community sustainability through involvement

On the 18th of March I attended the North Ringwood Community House Annual General Meeting. North Ringwood Community House, located at 120 Oban Road, provides a remarkable facility for our community. Sue McDermott is the new coordinator of the house and she spoke extensively about their services into the future.

North Ringwood Community House is in a unique situation where the facility is located on parish land within the Holy Spirit Primary School. The fact that the house does not own either the building or the land they are on curtails their growth and the ability to offer services and courses to Maroondah residents. North Ringwood Community House is a unique community asset and has moved beyond the traditional role of community houses by offering TAFE accredited courses in areas such as Palliative Care and Aged Care. It is it critical that the house is able to secure a solid future within Maroondah.

On the 25th of March I attended one of Enjoying Planned Retirement’s bocce afternoons. Bocce, which is conducted between December and April, is one of the many activities organised by EPR. This afternoon marked a special occasion since it included the unveiling of a new barbecue for the group. This barbecue was donated by a local Croydon resident, who is a Sales Manager for Rinnai after EPR’s original barbecue was stolen on the 12th of February and subsequently featured in a local newspaper. The strength of a community is always demonstrated during negative times and it was great to see our community rallying behind EPR to provide this new barbecue.

On the 4th of April I attended the Scoot Wheel n Move workshop. This workshop provided an opportunity to plan the future of this highly successful group, which is focused on the needs of people with mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and scooters. Scoot Wheel n Move has had a range of achievements over the past few years, including the highly successful recharge program and a number of public forums. With initiatives, such as the redevelopment of Eastland, it is imperative that accessibility is built into these projects and not merely considered as an afterthought. The feedback from the workshop will assist the future direction of Scoot Wheel n Move and ensure that these successes continue into the future.

On the 5th of April I attended a local version of the Rudd Government’s 2020 Summit as the Deputy Chair and Maroondah’s representative of the Eastern Transport Coalition. This event which was held at Monash University in Clayton provided an opportunity to include input for the summit that was held in Canberra. I attended the economic infrastructure, digital economy and future of our cities session, where the need for Federal leadership in regard to urban sustainability and public transport infrastructure was readily agreed upon. In fact, the need for public transport improvements was stressed in a number of different forum topics as it became clear that people require mobility and transport choice in accessing educational, employment and health services.

In fact, the ETC and hence by extension the City of Maroondah’s stance on public transport improvements has garnered respect far and wide, with Kelvin Thomson, the Federal Member for Wills, speaking favourably of the ETC’s approach within Federal Parliament. I will be tabling the extract of the members speech. It is clear that the approach the ETC has taken is generating results, just like when the grouping of seven councils led the successful abolition of zone three.

On the 8th of April I attended the 40th AGM of the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau. The Citizens Advice Bureau is another one of Maroondah’s hidden gems who are focused on assisting people in need within Maroondah through providing advice, referral services and emergency relief. Being in existence for 40 years is a testament for any volunteer and community based organisation but it is an even greater achievement for an association that is dedicated to assisting others.

Lastly, on the 15th of April I attended the Know Your Parks function at Lockhart Road Reserve. Lockhart Road Reserve is a park situated in Ringwood North next to a kindergarten and it was great to see such a strong interest in our community with this park. Over 250 people and families enjoyed the festivities and children were able to partake in the jumping castle and face painting. The sausages and balloons were a tremendous success and it was great to be able to enjoy a sunny Autumn afternoon in one of our wonderful parks.

I will be tabling the rest of my report.