Maroondah Leader: Station receives no funding from upgrade

While the State Government has announced $39 million for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station interchange, the station itself has missed out on a commitment. The Maroondah Leader has reported on these concerns:

Maroondah councillor Alex Makin said it would not address the “crux of the problem” – the physical condition of Ringwood Station.

“They are addressing the cosmetic side of the precinct but people will continue to struggle day in and day out with those ramps,” Cr Makin said.

The announcement has indicated that the State Government will providing $39 million of funding over three years in the 2009/10 State Budget for the redevelopment of the bus interchange and station forecourt.

“Ringwood cannot be an economic and employment hub if it remains difficult to access by public transport. I’m concerned that this announcement may make it difficult to get further funding for the station redevelopment.”

Ringwood Station currently fails disability compliance standards making it difficult for people with disabilities to access Ringwood and the employment, community and recreational opportunities it provides. It is extremely disappointing that the State Government will not address these concerns.

I will be continuing to advocate for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station so that we can have an inclusive urban centre that can be accessed by all members of our community.

Maroondah Journal: $39m budget for city revitalisation

The Maroondah Journal has reported on the the State Government’s announcement of $39 million for Ringwood Station beginning in the 2009/10 State Budget.

Eastern Transport Coalition spokesman and Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the funding was “half-complete” and failed to cover improvements to accessibility.

“The steep gradients of the ramps at Ringwood station means it fails disability-compliance standards.”

While it is encouraging that the State Government is finally delivering tangible funding to Ringwood, it is disappointing that the station itself will not be improved. This means that further advocacy is required to ensure that the Government commits to delivering an accessible transport interchange to create an inclusive public transport system for Ringwood and Maroondah.

I will continue to advocate for improvements to Ringwood Station to ensure that the State Government delivers this commitment.

Ecosmart Solarsmart Workshop

This evening I attended Ecosmart’s Solarmart Workshop, an information session organised through Maroondah Council to discuss solar technology and reducing greenhouse emissions.

The workshop provided an overview of solar technology and the need for alternatives to coal electricity generation, which is a major contributor to greenhouse emissions. Standard coal-fired plants emit 915 g/kWh over their lifecycle and should carbon capture and storage ever become viable this will still produce 200 g/kWh in emissions.

While rebates are available for the purchase of solar panels, it is clear that this program needs to be extended so that it can be applied to more than just 1kW of renewable energy. Improvements to the rebate scheme would encourage households to purchase enough solar panels to cover their electricity needs, reducing dependence on coal and improving sustainability.

Council is currently committed to a 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2010. I will be seeking further reductions so that council can demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability and reduce its environmental impact.

Ringwood Bowls Club 2008/09 Season Launch

Tonight I attended the Ringwood Bowls Club 2008/09 season launch, held in the club function room at Loughnan Road in Ringwood.

The Ringwood Bowls Club has a long and proud history within Ringwood and was founded in 1929, originally at Miles Avenue in Ringwood. The club moved to its current site in 1997, which currently consists of a clubhouse, two grass greens and one artificial green.

The club is committed to a sustainable future and I assisted the club in applying for grants to Federal, State and local Government to assist in funding water tanks and retention systems to water the two grass greens.

The cooperation between Federal, State and Local governments has been encouraging and each application was approved. The club has commenced work on the installation of the water tanks and it will mean that the Ringwood Bowls Club will be able to utilise rainwater to maintain its greens.

The Ringwood Bowls Club must be congratulated for committing itself to a sustainable future and being the first lawn bowls club to retrofit water saving initiatives.

I wish the club the very best for the 2008/09 season. For further details on the Ringwood Bowls Club please visit

or attend their next Try Bowls Day on Sunday the 26th of October.

Media Release: ETC releases short term public transport project list

The Eastern Transport Coalition has delivered a plan on behalf of one million eastern suburban residents direct to the Premier of Victoria in response to a request made by John Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lyn Kosky at a recent community cabinet meeting held at Ringwood

The submission highlights a wide range of short term projects that will help public transport deprived residents increase their public transport options and usage.

Cr Mick Van De Vreede said that the first submission concentrated on a number of large critical projects but that the Premier and Public Transport Minister were also interested in a range of smaller projects for consideration in the development of the Metropolitan Transport Plan.

“We know that in the eastern suburbs three out of five people would consider getting out of their cars if they had decent public transport options.

“Public transport usage in the majority of local municipalities is very low, at around 3 to 7 per cent compared with a much higher rate in other parts of Melbourne. This makes it clear that we need a generational step up in public transport.”

“The State Government needs to deliver public transport improvements so that families in the outer suburbs are provided with the choice to catch frequent, readily available and accessible public transport services”, Alex Makin Maroondah’s representative on the Eastern Transport Coalition said. “The Government must commit to these short-term priorities, including the much needed redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible transport interchange, frequency improvements on the rail lines beyond Ringwood and substantial bus improvements.”

“If the State Government includes our short, medium and long term projects in the Metropolitan Transport Plan then we will eventually have all the public transport options we need to dramatically reduce congestion, to protect our families from rising fuel prices and to negate rising greenhouse gas emissions,” Cr Van De Vreede concluded.

The ETC’s plan which is available at includes the following suggestions;

  • Upgrades to major public transport interchanges with an initial focus on Transit Cities such as Ringwood and Dandenong.
  • Increased off peak frequency on Belgrave / Lilydale lines
  • The immediate undertaking of full feasibility studies for Rail to Rowville and Doncaster and the duplication of the Belgrave/Lilydale rail lines.
  • Bringing forward the SmartBus network so that it is complete by the end of 2009
  • Bus routes into new and existing estates, including Warranwood and Canterbury Road between Ringwood and Box Hill
  • Tram 75 extended to Knox City and Tram 48 extended to Doncaster
  • Bus priority measures along Springvale Road, Stud Road, Cheltenham Road, Wellington Road, Doncaster Road, Hoddle Street and within the CBD
  • Immediate extension of free early bird tickets to buses and trams

For media inquiries please contact Alex Makin on 0408 311 645

– ENDS –

Media Release: Ringwood Station announcement only half-complete

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Station Announcement only half-complete

Alex Makin, Councillor for Loughnan’s Hill Ward and public transport advocate, has welcomed the $39 million State Government announcement for Ringwood Station but expressed concern over the failure to fund accessibility improvements

“After years of public pressure and campaigning the State Government has finally delivered $39 million to begin the redevelopment of Ringwood Station”, Cr. Makin said. “While the State Government deserves congratulations for this belated announcement, their commitment is only half complete and further funding is required.”

Ringwood has been identified as a Transit City under the State Government’s Melbourne 2030 planning framework. The transit city policy aims to create urban centres with diverse housing and employment opportunities, interlinked by frequent and efficient public transport services.

“This announcement will provide improvements to the station forecourt and bus interchange and it must be accompanied by pedestrian improvements across Maroondah Highway”, Cr. Makin said. “It is extremely disappointing that the current funding will not provide accessibility implements for Ringwood Station itself.”

“The steep gradient of the ramps at Ringwood Station means it fails disability compliance standards. It is critical that further funding is announced so that people of all ages and abilities can partake in our community. I will continue to campaign for an accessible Ringwood Station to ensure that we can create an inclusive and sustainable community”, 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 is focused on accessibility, sustainability, public transport, planning and community engagement.


– ENDS –

Rotary Club of Ringwood – discussing recycling

The Rotary Club of Ringwood, one of the 51 clubs within Rotary District 9810 and part of Rotary International, meets each Wednesday evening at the Ringwood Club on the corner of Oban Road and Maroondah Highway.

Tonight’s meeting discussed council’s recycling program and the importance of correctly utilising the recycling bins that are provided. Victoria produces 9.5 million tonnes of waste per annum, with 5.07 million tonnes being recycled. Waste that is not recycled ends up in landfills and detrimentally impacts the environment.

Maroondah produces 53,167 tonnes of waste on an annual basis, with 12,932 tonnes being recycled using a mixture of hand and mechanical sorting. Maroondah provides a green waste bin and a blue recyclable bin for glass, cartons, paper and plastics. Contamination of these bins, that is where materials that cannot be recycled are placed in these bins, means that up to 20% of Maroondah’s waste in unnecessarily diverted to landfill.

Recycled waste cannot be contaminated with other waste as this means that the entire load cannot be re-used and instead must go into landfill. The major source of contamination is from plastic bags, which cannot be stored in either the green waste bin or the blue recyclable bin. The Maroondah garbage trucks have a 350 bin capacity. This means that even if one bin has inappropriate contents it can cause the entire contents of the truck to be diverted to landfill instead of being recycled.

Recycling minimises resource usage and improves our sustainability. Examples of recycled products include the new street furniture along the Mullum and Eastlink trails and the wheelie bins themselves.

It is great to see the Rotary Club of Ringwood involved in environmental issues and recycling. It is important that our community is able to correctly recycle waste and minimise our impact on the environment.

Media Release: Enjoy a walk to fitness

During the month of October, Maroondah City Council is encouraging the community to get out and get active during the annual Walking to Fitness month.

Councillor Alex Makin said this initiative targets all Maroondah residents, providing a calendar of walks throughout the month that caters for a wide range of interests and capabilities.

“A range of different walks are on offer throughout the month, including pram walks, bush walks, historical walks, and all-abilities walks,” said Cr Makin.

“Walking is a safe, cheap and easy way to get exercise and a great way to get to know members of your local community as well as the Maroondah area,” said Cr Makin.

People who walk regularly tend to feel more confident, happy and relaxed. They also control their weight better, have stronger bones and greater flexibility, have lower blood pressure and reduce the risk factors for developing heart disease and diabetes.

Copies of the schedule of walks can be obtained from Council’s Service Centres or Ringwood and Croydon libraries.

The schedule of walks can also be found online at Council’s website

“If you’d like to explore Maroondah further on foot or by bicycle, then there are two booklets, produced by Council, that offer plenty of suggestions and advice,” said Cr Makin.

Maroondah’s Parks and Paths brochure has a large scale map detailing walking and cycling paths throughout the city, with information on parks and facilities along the way.

Maroondah’s Walks and Trails brochure has information on twelve specific walks and trails throughout the city, providing information on level of difficulty, access, distance and time, as well as facilities and detailed walking maps.

Both brochures are available from Council’s Service Centres or call Council on 1300 88 22 33 or visit

Ringwood Historical Society 2008 AGM

Tonight the Ringwood Historical Society held its Annual General Meeting to elect the officebearers for the next twelve months.

I had the pleasure of being asked to officiate the AGM and to discuss the future of Ringwood and the need for new community space. Many community groups, such as the Ringwood Historical Society, Eastern Volunteers, North Ringwood Community House and the Maroondah Toy Library, are limited for space which limits their activities and events.

In regard to the Ringwood Historical Society, there is insufficient space to store the group’s extensive archives and a lack of a permanent heritage centre inhibits the ability to discuss and promote Ringwood’s extensive and unique history.

The Ringwood Historical Society has a solid membership base and has a diverse range of speakers addressing its monthly meetings. The society has a stable committee that is dedicated to preserving our heritage for the future. It is clear that Maroonadh’s attitude in discouraging new community buildings needs to change.

As a member of Maroondah’s Tourism and Heritage Board we often hear how Maroondah itself lacks any key tourism destination. While Maroondah may not have the hills of the Dandenongs or the wineries of the Yarra Ranges, it would appear that there is potential in promoting the cultural heritage of Ringwood and the surrounding districts.

Cultural tourists, which are part of an emerging tourism market, tend to undertake trips as part of an overall experience. As a result they are more likely to experience the dining, recreational and hospitality opportunities that are available. This means, that if Maroondah had a suitable cultural tourism landmark, it may benefit from attracting visitors who then in turn support the local economy.

While Maroondah and Ringwood may have landmarks such as the Miners Cottage, there has not been a broader linkage to the community or to Ringwood’s heritage. A cultural heritage centre, would provide the Ringwood Historical Society and Council with an opportunity to showcase Ringwood’s history and provide differing exhibits to entice community interest.

The redevelopment of Eastland and the transformation of Ringwood provides an opportunity to secure new space for community groups. While this redevelopment is much needed and certainly welcome, we need to remember that Ringwood has a more extensive history than just a large retail centre.

The former City of Ringwood made a number of critical mistakes in the development of Ringwood. The demolition of the old Ringwood Town Hall, which occurred in 1970, was a dire mistake and removed a prominent icon from the heart of Ringwood. One only has to look at how successfully the City of Whitehorse has transformed the former Box Hill Town Hall to see the opportunities that could have been available to our community.

Another mistake was the layout the town centre commissioned during the mid 1990s. The layout of the centre is conducive to creating a community atmosphere and failed to provide sufficient civic space for community groups. There is an opportunity through the redevelopment of Ringwood to correct this and it is critical that past mistakes are not repeated.

A cultural heritage centre would promote Ringwood history and a sense of community. It would also provide a permanent home for the Ringwood Historical Society and ensure that we are preserving our heritage for the future.

Being a regular attendee to the historical society’s meetings has enriched my understanding of Ringwood’s history and in turn has led to a greater understanding of Ringwood’s cultural context. Promoting the history of Ringwood would enrich the social and cultural fabric of our community and must be pursued by council.

I would like to congratulate the incoming committee and the dedication of the society’s members. I look forward to working with the Ringwood Historical Society to convince council on the merits of a cultural heritage centre and the need to promote the diverse heritage of Ringwood.

For more details on the Ringwood Historical Society please visit

Solar Smart Information Workshop

Maroondah Council and EcoSmart Programs will be holding a free Solar Smart Information Workshop from 7pm on Tuesday the 30th of September at Maroondah Federation Estate.

The workshop will explain how photo voltaic solar panels work, how much power they feed into the grid and the many benefits to households and the environment. EcoSmart will also assist in the process of applying for solar rebates.
If you are interested in becoming part of the solution to Climate Change, come along to find out more, and slash the cost of your power bills while helping the planet. EcoSmart can also provide a free Home Energy and Water Assessment to assist households in becoming more efficient with water and electricity consumption.

For further details contact Rebecca Lee on 9725 5010 or email