Scoot Wheel n Move – discussing the workshop findings

Today’s Scoot Wheel n Move meeting discussed the future direction of the group, including the possibility of involving Eastern Access Community Health (EACH) as an auspice for the group.

While Scoot Wheel n Move has operated under the umbrella of Maroondah City Council, increased autonomy would strengthen the group’s ability to advocate for accessibility improvements, particularly in regard to Ringwood Station and the redevelopment of Eastland.

Scoot Wheel n Move has had tremendous success in previous years, through the establishment of a recharge program providing recharge points for motorised mobility aids, a mobility booklet and hosting a forum to discuss mobility issues within Maroondah. It is critical that this success continues so that we can further improve accessibility within Maroondah to provide a safe and comfortable environment for people with disabilities.

Eastern Access Community Health will present at the next meeting of Scoot Wheel n Move to discuss its ideas and vision for the group.

Ringwood Historical Society meeting – discussing the architecture of Ringwood

Tonight’s Ringwood Historical Society meeting included two topics, with the first speaker discussing the evolution of cameras followed by an examination of the historical architecture within Ringwood.

Greg Wade, a member of the society, displayed an impressive amount of historical cameras and traced the evolution of photography and film. Greg covered the early cameras, through to the mass commercialisation of photography and into the digital era that is prevalent today.

The discussion on architecture traced Ringwood’s history and development from the early Victorian era of 1840 through to the post-war development in the 1950s and beyond. Much of Ringwood’s early development, such as the Ringwood Railway Estate, reflected the 1920s interwar style of architecture, with brick featured chimneys, common at the time.

Following World War II another housing boom in Ringwood occurred with the settlement of returned soldiers and housing reflected a simpler design with contrasting colours. Throughout the 60s infill development occurred particularly in parts of Ringwood East and Ringwood North with an emphasis on flat roofs and native gardens.

While Ringwood may lack the traces of early architecture evident within inner Melbourne, there are still examples of historical housing, reflecting the changing character and pace of development within Ringwood.

The refugee experience: a celebration of culture

This afternoon EV’s Youth Centre in Croydon hosted a presentation facilitated by the Migrant Information Centre and the Blackburn Language School to celebrate the Burmese culture introduced by refugees from the Chin, Karen and Zomi communities.

Democracy in Burma ended in 1962 and while elections were held in 1990 the results were not recognised by the ruling military junta which continued its grip on power. Burma is comprised of several ethnic groups many of whom have suffered immensely under the military regime.

Today’s presentation provided an opportunity to learn about Burmese culture, through traditional costumes, songs and dance and to hear first-hand the stories of migration from students at the Blackburn English Language School and the Migrant Information Centre.

Many of the refugees spoke about the pain and repression experienced at their homes in Burma and the difficulties in fleeing their homeland. Escaping Burma was not the end of their difficulties, with many of the speakers also discussing the hardship they experienced in countries such as Thailand or Malaysia or refugee camps.

Refugees and their families have escaped to Australia to start a better life. As a community it is imperative that we welcome these refugees so that they can partake in the many opportunities that exist within this country. Council through the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee, has recently established a working group to further improve the delivery of services to newly arrived migrants and refugees to assist them with their lives in Australia.

Eastern councils united in the call for public transport improvements

As the Deputy Chair of the Eastern Transport Coalition I accompanied the Mayors of the eastern region in the signing of a letter calling on the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition to attend the upcoming public transport summit on the 4th of July and to commit to improving public transport services and infrastructure within the region.

Alex at the letter signing campaign for the Eastern Transport Coalition

The fact that the seven Mayors have signed this letter demonstrates that the eastern region is united in its call for public transport improvements. Melbourne’s eastern suburbs is home to almost one million people and includes regional centres such as Box Hill, Ringwood and Dandenong. It is critical that Melbourne’s eastern suburbs be provided with a standard of public transport that provides an alternative to spiralling petrol prices and car dependence.

Doncaster and Rowville need rail lines to provide the infrastructure that should have been installed decades ago and centres like Box Hill, Ringwood and Dandenong need stations that are safe and accessible. Bus services should be frequent, readily available and coordinate with trains and other bus services.

Much needs to be done to improve public transport in the eastern suburbs and the joint letter demonstrates the region’s commitment to the advocacy of public transport improvements.

The ETC’s public transport summit will be held on Friday the 4th of July. For details please visit

Hope City Mission Charity Auction and Dinner

Hope City Mission was established in late 2004 to provide support for people in need through empowering positive change. The organisation, which is a registered charity, changed its name to Hope City Mission in March 2008 and was formerly known as Croydon Community Care.

Hope City Mission extends the delivery of emergency relief, by also looking after the wellbeing of people in need. The Mission organises extravaganza days, pamper days, training programs and workshops to provide a holistic approach to the support it offers.

The focus of Hope City Mission is on empowerment and their unique pamper days provides an opportunity for people in need to feel good about themselves. The Mission provides free hair dressing, a cafe and other beauty therapy treatments. Half of the attendees within the Pamper Day program live in crisis accommodation or refuges demonstrating the need to look after the wellbeing of participants.

The Mission has also partnered with a registered training organisation to provide an opportunity for people to re-focus their employment skills and re-enter the workforce. There is also an emphasis on resume writing and interviewing skills and self-esteem to assist people in finding work.

Alleviating the chronic shortage of short-term and crisis accommodation is another priority for Hope City Mission and the organisation aims to secure property and provide such services in the future.

Hope City Mission provides an amazing range of services to people in need to meet just not physical needs such as food but also the wellbeing of individuals. The mission is always in need of volunteers and community assistance.

Eastern Transport Coalition: Planning for the public transport summit

This evening’s Eastern Transport Coalition meeting focused on the public transport summit planned for the 4th of July. This public transport summit will focus on the infrastructure needs of Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs and will include presentations on Doncaster rail, Rowville rail as well as Ringwood Station and the Belgrave/Lilydale lines.

While rising petrol prices have led to a reduction in vehicle usage within inner Melbourne, families in Melbourne’s outer suburbs are left struggling under the strain of rising prices due to the lack of readily available public transport.

The State Government must realise that it is time to move on from transport neglect and towards an era of major public transport expansion to provide transport choice for Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Only a significant boost to public transport will provide an alternative to rising petrol prices and reduce greenhouse emissions that are continuing to spiral out of control.

The summit includes a number of prominent transport and planning experts, including Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University and Professor Graham Currie, Monash University Chair of Public Transport.

Ringwood Station and the importance of Ringwood as a regional centre will feature as one of the topics to be discussed at the summit. I will presenting information on the Ringwood Transit City and the importance of public transport in providing a safe, accessible and vibrant environment at 10:45 am.

The summit entitled ‘It’s Time to Move On’ will be held on Friday the 4th of July from 8:30 am at the Maninngham Function Centre, 699 Doncaster Road in Doncaster.

For further details please visit

Civic Reception for Ringwood Cricket Club

The Ringwood Cricket Club based at Jubilee Park was formed in the late 1800s and fields four sides in Victorian Premier Cricket, as well as sides within the Eastern Cricket Association and the Ringwood and District Cricket Association.

A civic reception was held this evening to commemorate the success of the Ringwood Cricket Club and to acknowledge the players and committee of the team. The club has been part of the Premier league after being admitted in 1974 and it is great that they have achieved their first championship.

Maroondah Journal: Council 'fails' on climate

Maroondah Council recently passed its Budget for the 2008 and 2009 financial year with a total of $860,000 allocated to reducing greenhouse emissions. While this provides a foundation for further action in regard to greenhouse emissions council must not rest on its laurels.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on Maroondah Council’s ongoing reluctance to meet its greenhouse reduction targets:

Cr Alex Makin asked the council to adopt a quarterly report in order to provide an update on its target of reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2010.

Quarterly reporting will provide accountability transparency so that progress towards the greenhouse reduction targets can be monitored and allow for action to be taken before it is too late.

“The target has been set for quite a number of years and yet it seems there has been very little done to achieve it.”

Council committed itself to the 2010 target back in the year 2000. Maroondah Council and its Councillors have had eight years to meet its obligations and yet very little seems to have been achieved. The $850,000 announced in the council budget along with quarterly reporting will help correct this negligence.

Three of Maroondah’s current councillors were part of council in the year 2000. While Maureen Naylor has been a supporter in reducing greenhouse emissions, Councillors Les Wilmott and Peter Gurr must explain why so little progress has been made in achieving this target.

Furthermore all of Council must realise that the 20% target should be seen as merely an interim step towards further greenhouse emissions. Inaction must no longer be tolerated.

Ringwood After Dark

This evening I walked home from the Council meeting. While this month’s meeting was largely harmonious the walk home demonstrated how much needs to be done.

As I was walking along Maroondah Highway I passed the bus stop near the Mount Dandenong Road and Maroondah Highway intersections. A lady was waiting at the bus stop who asked me if there were any more buses to get her to the station so she could go to Mitcham. I mentioned that bus route 670, which travels along Maroondah Highway, finished service at 9pm and that walking to the station was the only option available to her.

As we were walking towards Ringwood Station, we passed Ringwood Lake and about half a dozen youths involved in a fight along the median strip of Maroondah Highway. While I contacted the Police, it is saddening that despite so many cars driving past only two drivers stopped to contact the authorities. It is a terrible reflection upon our society when so many people will simply choose to ignore a situation than try and assist.

I find it ironic that as a council we talk about the vibrant future of Ringwood, while we have a situation where people are unable to get to their destinations and we have violent fighting occurring in our streets. While Ringwood certainly needs a vision, it is important we do not lose sight of the fact that there is much that needs to be done to immediately improve our amenity.

It’s easy to get caught up in a vision for the future, but a vision begins with practical steps to achieve that outcome. There is much more that needs to be done to improve the amenity of Maroondah and while some of it may be outside the domain of local government we should not be skirting our responsibilities.

Meanwhile, council is preoccupied with trying to overturn the VEC’s decision into changes proposed for Maroondah’s ward structure. Perhaps some of my colleagues would benefit from walking around Ringwood after dark.

Delegates' Report: Reconciliation Week, engaging our youth, supporting people with disabilities and calling for an investment in public transport

While held slightly before Reconciliation Week I attended the screening of a film Liyarn Ngarn by Eastern Access Community Health on the 23rd of May. The screening was held as part of EACH’s Stage Club program at Lifeworks in Ringwood. Stage Club hosts film or life performances every third Friday and provides an opportunity for people with mental illnesses to learn skills relevant to the hospitality industry.

Liyarn Ngarn means ‘Coming Together of the Spirit’ in the Yawuru language of the West Kimberley region. The film is a documentary which explores the treatment of Indigenous Australians from the perspective of English actor Peter Postlethwaite. The film focuses on the journey undertaken by Peter, singer/songwriter Archie Roach and Patrick Dodson as they travel from Perth through to Archie Roach’s home country in south west Victoria. Throughout the journey they hear from personal accounts and discuss major turning points in the relationship with Indigenous Australians such as the Bringing them Home Report and the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Inquiry.

The film, which features a soundtrack by Archie Roach is a very moving and thought provoking documentary. The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week was it’s all our story, representing that to progress reconciliation it will involve all of Australia coming together and I certainly encourage people to view the film and consider how reconciliation can become part of our story.

On the 30th of May I had the pleasure of officiating the Young Leaders Presentation Evening held at EV’s Youth Centre. The presentation provided an opportunity to acknowledge the twenty Year 10 students who participated in council’s young leaders program.

Young Leaders is a week long program that helps develop a wide variety of leadership skills, such as public speaking, communication and conflict resolution. The program is held during the school week and while some students may look forward a week off school, in reality it means that they will need to catch up on the work they have missed. Participating in the program is a huge responsibility and one which each student passed with superb results.

The presentation evening provides an opportunity to see firsthand the skills these students have learnt and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Youth Services Team for facilitating the program and also to the schools and parents for their cooperation. I hope that these students will remember the skills they have learnt and use them not only in school and employment but also within the community. Many community groups would welcome the involvement of younger people and I hope they will use these skills to assist in strengthening our community.

On the 10th of June I attended the launch of Youth Voices at Ringwood Secondary College. Youth Voices will develop a magazine to provide a voice for our youth and to demonstrate the positive contribution that young people make within society. The launch began with an online interactive forum which covered a range of topics, including the future of Ringwood. Council’s Youth Services Team and Economic Development Team, as well as Eastland, need to be congratulated for using this opportunity to consult our youth to understand their vision for Ringwood. This an exciting project and it was great to see the embracing of technology through interactive online forums to encourage people to offer their thoughts. I hope that as a council we will continue to explore innovative methods of community engagement.

On the 15th of June I attended a game of the Ringwood Spiders and their Sponsors Gala function. The Ringwood Spiders is part of the 14 team league organised through the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA). The Ringwood Spiders have a strong focus on the community and they encourage community engagement through their sponsorship program where businesses and community members can sponsor a player for $150 to provide funds for uniforms and other expenses. While the Spiders narrowly lost to Parkside they played some great football and it was great to see the player I sponsored, half back Tom Raisebeck, out on the field. The Spiders have just two remaining home games on the 29th of June and 27th of July and I wish them all the best for the remaining rounds in the season.

On the 15th of June I attended the EastLink open day like many other people and while it certainly is true that Eastlink is an engineering feat we need to remind ourselves that it is not the end of our transport needs in the eastern region. In fact with evidence suggesting $2 per litre petrol prices being common in the not too distant future we need the public transport equivalent of Eastlink.

For those among us that are sceptical about petrol ever reaching $2 a litre we only need to look back a few years and remember how many people claimed that a $1 litre was unforeseeable.

Fortunately Maroondah and the eastern region is focused on the needs of public transport and I am pleased to announce that the Eastern Transport Coalition, the consortium of the seven eastern councils, will be hosting a public transport summit aptly titled ‘It’s Time to Move On’. This summit will explore the public transport needs for eastern Melbourne including a session on Ringwood and its importance as a regional centre.

The summit will be held on Friday the 4th of July from 8.30 am through to 11 am at the Manningham Function Centre in Doncaster. To RSVP please visit or let me know as Maroondah’s delegated representative to the ETC.

We have had the investment in our road network – it now is time to move on to ensure that we also receive the necessary investment in our public transport network.