Councillor Magazine: How councillors can harness the Internet

Councillor is a quarterly magazine designed to help educate current councillors and demonstrate innovative approaches to local government.

I was contacted by Councillor Magazine to write an article on how councillors can harness the Internet to assist in encouraging dialogue with their community. The article was featured in the September/October edition of the magazine:

How Councillors can harness the Internet

City of Maroondah councillor Alex Makin has operated his own website and blog since 2004. In this article, Cr Makin describes how councillors can also establish their own website and blog, and why more elected members need to use the Internet to engage the community.

Compared to the UK and the US, Australian politics has been relatively slow to embrace the capabilities of the Internet and its potential to re-engage the community and our constituencies.

While the use of websites is not new, Australian politics is still typically not using the Internet for more than a digital version of their off-line campaigns. The Internet, through the use of blogging has the potential to be so much more.

As local Councillors, representing the needs of our local constituencies, we are best placed to take a leadership role of embracing the Internet to create dialogue and re-engage with our communities.

We need to move beyond static webpages and move into an era of dynamic blogging and dialogue.

Going beyond a website

Some Councillors already have experience with establishing a website. A blog extends the capabilities of a website by providing interactive content.

A website can be likened to a static shop window, which displays information but provides little opportunity for someone to interact with the content.

Standard websites can also become difficult to maintain over the longer term as information becomes out of date.

A blog, otherwise known as weblog, is an interactive website, likened to a diary, that allows you to post new entries, keeping content relevant and allows people to post comments and subscribe to updates.

Blogs use categories and tags to file new content and provides readers with the opportunities to subscribe to updates so they are notified when new content is posted.

Getting started – what do you need?

Establishing a website is neither difficult nor expensive.

There are numerous free tools, such as or, which provide templates and a basic blogging presence free of charge. Using these tools you can set up your blog, complete with photographs and content within 10 to 15 minutes.

While these free tools provide you with a good start, there are advantages in having your own web presence.

To do this you firstly need a domain name. A domain is the physical name of the site, such as Domain names are easier for people to remember and also provide greater flexibility in how your site will look and function. A domain normally costs around $65 per year, US .com domains are slightly cheaper.

Secondly, you need a web host. The host provides the computing system that stores your website and makes it viewable on the Internet. Total costs for hosting a site varies but you generally do get what you pay for.

If you want to set up a blog you’ll need a host that supports database and dynamic capabilities, namely functionality called mySQL and PHP. Most mid-level hosting packages provide these features.

I use a carbon neutral hosting provider that provides maximum reliability and detailed site statistics, my costs are roughly $300 per annum.

While free blogging providers certainly have their use, your own dedicated web presence will provide you with greater flexibility in the functionality and features of your site.

In addition many hosting providers are able to supply detailed site statistics so you can ascertain how people are accessing your website and the content they are accessing.

Getting your blog online

One of the common mistakes people make is keeping their blog separate to the rest of their website.

Web users typically dislike navigating through a site; so if the content isn’t there when the page loads, it is unlikely that they will look to find what they want.

Likewise don’t reinvent the wheel. There are many blogging programs, such as WordPress ( that are available free of charge and provide the functionality that you need.

WordPress and other blogging tools, such as Movetable Type use templates that guide the layout of a site. There are many templates that are available and these can be further customised.

Once you have downloaded WordPress or a similar package, you will need to upload to your website. Your hosting provider should be able to assist with this, once uploaded you will be able to install the package and begin blogging.

WordPress (which is the program I use), allows you to create two types of content, pages and posts. Pages are designed to be static content that is always available, like contact or about pages. These are the links across the top of my site.

Pages contain information that generally does not change, such as my contact details or information about the ward I represent.

Posts are the blogging element of your site. Posts are filed in specific categories (such as urban sustainability, accessibility, delegates reports that I use on my site), as well as tags, which help define the content of the post (such as accessibility, public transport, planning and so on).

Posts relate to a certain event or activity that occurred at a point in time and hence newer content appears towards the top of the page. Blog posts can be used to discuss council events, community meetings or other activities you undertake as a councillor.

When I first designed the website in 2004, the concept of blogging was still relatively new, so I referred to the blog as an Internet Journal.

The Journal stores the posts I created with the five newest entries listed first.

Each blog post provides an opportunity for people to comment. This way your community can add their thoughts or ask for additional information.

Blog posts can also be linked to each other, meaning you can provide an easy chronology of events. For example, I link my delegates’ reports, to each event that I discuss so that people can easily find additional information on the activities I attend and speak about.

Posts and pages are created just like using a standard Word Processor or email program. Like email you can also attach other documents to your posts to allow people to download additional content, I normally discuss presentations I deliver and include the slides for people to download.

The template system in WordPress or similar tools controls the layout of the post so you simply need to type its content. This means each post and page will have a similar look and make it easier for people to navigate throughout your site.

My website has had three substantially different designs and the template system meant the content of my site was unaffected by these changes.

Separating the layout of a site from its contents makes it much easier to maintain and extend compared to traditional web pages.

Extending your blog

Comments are usually moderated meaning that they need your approval prior to being included on your blog. This means you have the possibility to prevent inappropriate comments from being included on your site. Likewise spam filters exist which block spam comments from appearing.

While you have the ultimate control over what comments are included within your blog, do not go overboard in preventing feedback.

The purpose of a blog is to encourage dialogue and interaction and all relevant comments should be encouraged. Also make sure that email and phone details are available as some people will prefer these methods of communication.

Once you have established your blog and website it is worth considering ways of expanding its reach. Blogs utilise RSS feeds which allows people to be notified when new posts are created.

RSS feeds operate similarly to email where a subscriber receives the content of the post. RSS feeds are a standard feature of blogs and it is worth encouraging your readers to subscribe to them.

In addition you can also create an email subscription list for people that prefer to receive emails. This way email subscribers can receive an email message of your blog post and raise awareness of the activities you undertake as a councillor.

Just as newsletters assist in informing the community about our activities as a councillor, an electronic newsletter or RSS feeds can expand the reach of your communications with the public.

WordPress has a number of plugins, which can add additional features. Examples of plugins include the calendar and event system I use on my site. This enables me to post details of meetings I attend. Likewise previous posts can be accessed through the calendar or using the search functionality.

The web as an accessible medium

The Internet, through accessible web standards, means we can truly create a medium that can be experienced and accessed by all people.

Screen readers, larger font sizes, colour contrast and other technologies are available to assist people with disabilities to view content on the Internet and your website should be mindful of accessibility issues.

For example screen readers cannot read images so any graphics you include on your site should not be used in place of text.

In addition, the layout of your site should be mindful of people who prefer larger font sizes and your site should adapt to these requirements.

Future use of the Internet by councillors

Councils are the closest form of government to the community and we need to consider new methods of encouraging community engagement and interaction. In particular the web has the potential to assist us in communicating with younger people, as well as people with disabilities and the many other people in our community that prefer communication via the Internet.

Just as mobile phones are now considered essential equipment for Councillors, no doubt a web presence will be seen as a necessity shortly into the future. As councillors we have an obligation to remain relevant and keep pace with new technologies.

Creating a web presence is neither difficult nor time consuming and while purchasing your own domain and hosting provider may incur some expense it will be of benefit to the wider community and assist in conveying the work you undertake as a councillor.

Scoot Wheel n Move October 2008 meeting

This morning I attended the October meeting of Scoot Wheel n Move, a group that aims to improve mobility and accessibility for people with mobility aids.

Eastern Access Community Health (EACH) is now the auspice for the Scoot Wheel n Move so that the group can operate with some autonomy to council. This enables Scoot Wheel n Move to openly discuss council’s priorities and to advocate for accessibility improvements.

The group’s priority continues to be the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible and safe transit interchange, as well as ensuring an accessible town centre. Work on the redevelopment of Ringwood will commence next year and it is imperative that we create an accessible and sustainable urban centre to ensure an inclusive society.

Groups like Scoot Wheel n Move have the expertise and first-hand experience to appraise proposals to ensure that they do achieve a vision of accessibility and inclusiveness.

Maroondah Business Week – QIC celebrating businesses in Maroondah

Rather than the traditional business awards, this year’s conclusion to Maroondah Business Week focused on welcoming the newly established businesses within Maroondah, as well as congratulating the long-standing Maroondah based businesses that have existed for more than 30 years.

The event sponsored by Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), who own Eastland, provided an opportunity for both new and long established businesses to network and learn from each other. The evening included a presentation from Richard Carter, from Carter Real Estate, a business that has existed within Maroondah for 85 years.

Richard’s grandfather founded the real estate business in 1923 to capitalise on Ringwood’s expansion following the electrification of the rail line. Electrification, which coincided with the proclamation of the Borough of Ringwood and severance from the Shire of Lilydale, provided the impetus for Ringwood’s growth and expansion.

A common theme that has emerged throughout business week is having a passion for what you do and Richard reinforced this as an essential factor for the longevity of Carter Real Estate. Richard also spoke about the need for businesses to diversify to provide multiple income streams and to respect both staff and clients, as well as continually evolve to meet new challenges and opportunities.

The QIC celebrating businesses in Maroondah provided a fitting conclusion to the 2008 Maroondah Business Week and to commemorate the businesses that exist within the municipality.

Maroondah Rugby Club AGM

After the opening of the Westpac Business Centre I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Maroondah Rugby Club which is located at the Griff Hunt Reserve in North Croydon.

The Maroondah Rugby Club has faced a number of challenges, particularly in regard to the condition of the Griff Hunt Reserve. Fortunately Councillor Jo-anne Taylor has been working closely with the club to ensure that the ground is in a condition suitable for rugby.

The Maroondah Rugby Club is hoping to continue in growing its member base and is in the process of establishing a website to assist in promoting the club. While rugby may lack the public profile of Football and Cricket, it is important that Maroondah offers a diverse range of sports to meet a wide range of sporting interests within our community.

Opening of the Westpac Business Centre

Amid the other events of Maroondah Business Week, the Westpac Business Centre in Ringwood held its official opening launch this evening. The opening of the Business Centre demonstrates a confidence in Ringwood, which is much welcomed particularly amid the ongoing economic uncertainty.

The launch included a presentation from Simon Hammond from the Belong Group, a marketing firm that aims to align meaning with marketing through articulating what a business stands for, ensuring that people want to be part of it and having brands that can be discovered and experienced.

The business world like other aspects of society is attempting to reconnect with people to re-establish purpose and meaning. Politics and council is no different and I certainly believe I have assisted in reconnecting communities and making people’s voices heard leading to better decisions and outcomes.

2008 Maroondah Business Breakfast with David Parkin

The annual Maroondah Business Week breakfast is one of the premiere events of the week, with this year’s event including premiership-winning footballer and coach David Parkin as the keynote speaker.

David spoke about his experience with teams, drawing on his time within the AFL and the need for genuine appraisals and performance reviews to ensure success. Teams need to move in the same direction and while individual members should utilise their key strengths they need to ensure that they work collectively for the benefit of the team.

David cited three key statements to evaluate someone’s contribution including:

  • Can I still make a difference?
  • Do I still have a passion to make a difference?
  • Am I still respected by those that I serve?

In evaluating David’s comments I couldn’t help but think of council and the current divisions which are preventing the municipality from reaching its full potential. While people like myself and Jo-anne have the passion, desire and respect to ensure that we are making a difference, it is unfortunate that the gang of four are preoccupied by their egos, rather than community outcomes.

A total of eleven candidates have nominated for the Mullum Ward and it is clear that a number of these candidates are standing due to a desire by some of the other councillors to oust Jo-anne and myself.

While some of the other councillors appear concerned by the new ward structure, Jo-anne and I are working as a team in our bid to be re-elected. Over the past three years Jo-anne has been incredibly supportive and I strongly believe that a united team is exactly what Maroondah needs to ensure a sustainable, accessible and accountable future.

Ringwood Historical Society celebrates its 50th Birthday

This evening I attended the 50th birthday celebrations of the Ringwood Historical Society. The organisation, which was founded on the 9th of September 1958 was just one of six suburban based historical societies at the time.

In its early existence, the Ringwood Historical Society had a particular emphasis on the history around the the proclamation of the Borough of Ringwood which occurred in 1924. As the society grew, it also developed an interest in the pioneering settlements and Ringwood’s early history, stemming from the late 1880s.

It is great to see an increasing interest in local history, with the number of historical societies increasingly significantly over the past fifty years. In the 1950s there were just 30 historical societies, compared to over 300 today.

The Ringwood Historical Society has accomplished a number of achievements over the past fifty years, including the preservation of Ringwood’s history and the relocation of the miners cottage to Ringwood Lake. Unfortunately the organisation’s major objective of cultural heritage within Ringwood, currently remains unfulfilled.

I have stated my support for a Ringwood culture heritage centre in Ringwood, as I believe it is crucial to preserve our history for the future. This is only going to become increasingly important as the urban form in Ringwood changes over coming years. While Ringwood needs to become a vibrant urban centre, a preservation of history will enhance the depth of our community and hence the sense of inclusion within Ringwood.

Maroondah Leader: Push for Maroondah to go carbon neutral

The Maroondah Sustainability Strategy has reached draft status and was endorsed for public exhibition at the last Council meeting. Public comments and submissions can be made about the strategy up to the 1st of December, whereby this feedback will be considered when the policy is finalised at a future council meeting.

The Maroondah Sustainability Strategy will guide the council’s approach to energy, water, transport and resource usage for the next four years and it is therefore critical that the document sets proactive environmental targets.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the Draft Strategy, including its carbon neutral target of 2020:

Cr Alex Makin, who also voted to support the draft plan, said the council should set an interim target to ensure it reached its 2020 goal.

Currently there are no interim targets to measure council’s progress towards reaching carbon neutrality. While I personally believe that the target should potentially be brought forward to 2012, it is also imperative that interim goals are established to guide council budgets and to measure progress towards becoming carbon neutral.

Back in the year 2000 the then council set a target of reducing energy consumption by 20% by the year 2010. Unfortunately due to the lack of interim targets this was largely forgotten until public pressure along with myself, Jo-anne Taylor and Maureen forced the council to recommit to this goal.

It is therefore essential that any carbon neutral target includes appropriate interim goals to measure progress and keep council accountable for its performance in meeting this objective.

2008 Election Ballot Draw

This afternoon the ballot draw was conducted for candidates within each of the three council wards within Maroondah. The draw is conducted via computer using a randomly generated algorithm to determine the order of each nominated candidate.

There are eleven candidates who have nominated for the Mullum Ward and it would appear that a number of candidates are linked to overzealous developers who will threaten the leafy and green image of Maroondah.

While I am pleased to announce that I will be located on the first position of the ballot, I urge all residents not to cast a donkey vote in this election and instead take the time to consider the candidates that have nominated.

It is important that Maroondah is represented by councillors that are committed to making a difference. Please do Vote 1 Alex Makin to ensure that we can further create a sustainable and accessible municipality through a council that is accountable to the community.

Please contact me on 0409 136 213 or email if you would like to assist with making a difference for Maroondah.

2008 Campaign Launch – Making a Difference

As a candidate in the upcoming council elections I am committed to making a difference for the residents, ratepayers, businesses and community groups of Mullum ward as well as Maroondah overall.

This evening I officially launched my campaign at Lakeside Cafe, with a number of community groups and residents in attendance. As a councillor it is important to work with community minded council colleagues and it was pleasing to see a number of council candidates, as well as Cr. Jo-anne Taylor, the current councillor for Mullum in attendance this evening.

Alex with Margaret Stevens who spoke about how Alex has been making a difference

Accessibility advocate Margaret Stevens spoke about her support for Jo-anne and myself and we we have been making a a difference for people with disabilities. Margaret and I have campaigned for public transport and accessibility improvements and it is heartening to see dedicated people like Margaret offering their support.

Jo-anne and I will be running together in the upcoming council elections and we have announced that we will be directly swapping preferences. Jo-anne is an asset to both the community and council and it is important that she is returned so she can continue to share her passion and dedication to the community.

A video of the speech I delivered is available, as is a transcript. I encourage you to view this content and see how I, along with Jo-anne Taylor, plan to continue making a difference for the Mullum Ward and the City of Maroondah.


Jo-anne Taylor

Hi, I’m Jo-anne Taylor, I’m the current councillor for Mullum Ward in Maroondah City Council and Alex at lunchtime today asked me if I would introduce him, which I thought was a bit of an oxymoron, I mean who here doesn’t know Alex? I thought that was pretty ridiculous, but then I thought about it why would he ask me to introduce him? Because it is his campaign launch and we’re actually going to be running together in Mullum ward.

But the thing I want people to know is that the last three years I’ve been on council Alex has given me a lot of support. As well as representing you the community he also gives support to his other councillors and that’s why I think it is great that they have actually merged Mullum and Loughnan’s Hill together to make it the big ward of Mullum.

So Alex is here tonight, this is his campaign launch and I’m here to support him as well, because whether or not I’m on council I’m a resident of Mullum, my family live there and I would want to see Alex represent us too.

Alex with Jo-anne Taylor at the launch of his 2008 council campaign.

Alex Makin

Thank you Jo-anne, Jo has been a great source of support on council and in fact the community and council will be at a deficit if people like Jo-anne are not re-elected onto Mullum Ward.

It’s people like Jo-anne and the support that they offer that ensure that the community and the interests of the community are held at the heart of council. There have been plenty of battles over the past three years and it’s been people like Jo-anne, as well as Maureen Naylor, who have really offered me that support and kept me going.

There have been quite a few times where I’ve often wondered whether it would be easier to make it someone else’s problem and its really been Jo-anne, Maureen and the many people in the community, some of you who are here tonight, who have ensured that I have continued to represent the ward and ensured that I have continued to give it my best effort.

Alex speaking at the launch of his 2008 council campaign.

Thank you to everyone for attending this evening and particularly the many groups that I have become familiar with over the past three years. I certainly still need to improve my bocce skills and I’m glad to see a number of people from Enjoying Planned Retirement here this evening.

One of the great joys I’ve had in council is learning about the many vibrant community groups that exist in our community. The purpose of a council, I believe, should be the facilitating and fostering the people of our community, ensuring that our community is able to go forward and become a vibrant place to live, work and play.

It’s groups like Enjoying Planned Retirement, which I’ve come to know very well over the three years, who have always made me very welcome, despite my lack of bocce skills. If I am re-elected I’d certainly hope to win once again in a bocce tournament. There’s lawn bows as well and I’ve been fortunate to work with the Ringwood Bowls Club looking at projects to improve the sustainability of the bowls club. Ringwood Bowls is actually the first bowls club in the state to retrofit its facilities to become self sufficient in terms of watering its greens. It’s a project I was honoured to be involved in and it’s great to see representation here from the bowls club.

Certainly its been groups like that that, which are making a difference to our community and its just been an honour and a privilege to be involved in that process.
Of course one of the groups, which has always been a delight, is the Ringwood Spiders. The Ringwood Spiders, for people that aren’t aware, are a football club for a people with disabilities. When we talk about an inclusive community we need to look no further than people with disabilities. People that generally are marginalised already and there’s a need to ensure that these people are able to be included within our society.

It’s been an honour to be able to work with the Ringwood Spiders, we’ve gone a long way in three years and we’re only going to go further in the next four. Jo-anne has been heavily involved in the Ringwood Spiders, she’s starting up a cheerleading squad for next year. I understand there will pom-poms and everything. So if you want to cheer for the Ringwood Spiders do speak to the Ringwood Spiders.

The Ringwood Spiders held their presentation evening around about two months ago and to see how included these people felt, it was just like being in any other football club evening. There were drinks, merriment and there were people having a good time, it could have been any football club.

It’s due to people like the Ringwood Spiders, it’s due to people like Margaret Stevens and many others in our community, that have ensured that people with disabilities have a voice. We need to continue that and ensure that we are making a difference for people with disabilities.

One of the organisations I’ve grown to become involved with over the last three years has been the North Ringwood Community House. I must admit, when was I first elected I knew very little about community houses and what they did. I was invited to a presentation evening, around three years ago now for North Ringwood Community House and they spoke to me about the need to relocate.

North Ringwood Community House, for people that aren’t aware, is the only community house in Maroondah that is not located on council property. Now this means that the community house is not eligible for council capital works grants. It means that as time has gone on, the house has been placed at a disadvantage relative to other community houses in Maroondah.

It’s been an honour to now be part of the committee of management for the North Ringwood Community House and also to work with the management and the committee to advance the application to seek funding to look at the relocation. This is a project I’m absolutely committed to, regardless of whether I’m on council or not. It’s a project that must happen for the benefit of Maroondah.

The typical thinking in Maroondah has been that we’re a municipality that has around 78 council buildings and the officers really don’t want to maintain 79. Now if anyone looks at the demographics of Maroondah we are a growing municipality. We’re barely keeping up with current needs, let alone further needs. As a result we need facilities, like community centres, like the North Ringwood Community House, that are able to grow, expand and meet the growing needs of our community. They can become accessible, sustainable destinations for our community to be part of society.

Alex speaking at the launch of his 2008 council campaign

Talking about groups that have battling to be part of society, there is the Heatherdale Action Group, another group that I’ve had fun in being involved in. They’ve had a battle, because they are in the unfortunate situation of being split between Maroondah and Whitehorse. That’s made it difficult for the action group to actually have a voice because it is bad enough dealing with one council, let alone when you have to deal with two.

Fortunately we’ve worked over the last three years to enable that voice for the Heatherdale Action Group and ensure that council is listening to their needs and improving the amenity of the Heatherdale vicinity. Once again this is another group which I’ve been involved in for quite a few years now and certainly one, which regardless of what happens, I do plan to continue being involved with.

One of the groups that really started it all was the Croydon Conservation Society. One of my passions has always been public transport advocacy. About four and a half years ago the Croydon Conservation Society held a public forum in the Glenn Frost Room advocating for better public transport. It was the first time that we actually organised a public transport forum in Maroondah and we were unsure as to how many people we would get to this event. It turns out the Glenn Frost Room, wasn’t able to seat everyone and we had people packed out the door. Events like that would not have been possible without the support of the Croydon Conservation Society and it has been great to see the strong support over the past three years and to see the advancement of a sustainable municipality.

There’s certainly much further work that we need to do in Maroondah to become sustainable. There’s been a lot of talk, we need to progress past the Hollowmen persona of perceptions and saying the right things to actually doing the right things. This is something we need to focus on in the next four years.

Likewise, it has been a pleasure to be working with the Maroondah Climate Change Action Group, in the time of its existence in once again trying to improve and focus the council in delivering sustainable outcomes for our community. Unless we have a sustainable municipality we have little chance of actually ensuring an inclusive and vibrant society. We need to ensure that the environment remains at the forefront of Maroondah. Its certainly something that needs to further strengthened over the next four years.

One of the groups that has really been involved in creating an inclusive community is the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau. There’s a funny story here, I was actually linedancing at an AGM of Eastern Volunteers and I’ve since joined their committee of management as well. A lady came up to me, as I was linedancing and decided to start dancing with me. She said to me I’m part of the Citizens Advice Bureau would you like to be on the committee of management? As I was trying to linedance away, I think my linedancing skills are actually probably worse than my bocce skills, I realise I really had no choice but to say yes. It has really been a great honour to be working with the Citizens Advice Bureau, they’re really the unsung heroes of the community. A lot of people may not be aware of their existence and what they do, but the emergency relief, the food provision, the support and referral services they provide really provides a backbone for people in need.

That’s where organisations like Hope City Mission, also come into the forefront. Hope City provides regular pamper days for people in need and they go beyond the regular food and shelter provision to also look at the wellbeing of a person. This is based on the philosophy that if someone is not feeling good about themselves how can they seek employment, seek accommodation and advance themselves in society.

Hope City Mission are once again more unsung heroes in our community. They provide a valued and much need service in our community and an area that often isn’t touched on by other organisations.

It has been an honour to be working with the many residents in our community. I’ve often joked that planning applications bring communities together. There’s been many residents that I’ve helped along the way in responding to planning applications and I do thank you for being a part of this evening.

There’s also Ringwood Rotary which I joined around about two and a half months ago. What amazed me with Rotary is that you have committed people, committed to doing good in the community. It was quite a stark contrast to the egos of council, it was great to see a group of people committed to fellowship. It’s great to see a committed bunch of people, committed to the wellbeing of our community, not expecting any kudos for it but doing good because that is what they want to do. It has also been a great honour to be accepted as a member of Rotary and certainly its an organisation I will continue my involvement with.

Alex speaking at the launch of his 2008 council campaign

At the close of business today, I’ve heard that there are now ten nominations for the Mullum ward and it certainly will be a battle. You’d like to think that if you put the work into something that it would be an easy outcome. The reality is, that with ten candidates, it will be a contest and its one which we need to continue working towards and we need to ensure that we do continue making a difference. Its great to see the many committed people here this evening, committed to many different causes and offering their support.

We’ll be circulating a notepad asking for people to assist with letterboxing. The new combined ward includes 15,000 households and it is important that those people, every single resident, gets the message about how they can ensure that they are making a difference for Maroondah.

The reality is, with ten nominations and nominations still don’t close to midday tomorrow, it will be a battle. Regardless of the outcome, and I certainly do hope that I am returned, it has been an absolute delight to work with the many individuals and many community members, some of whome are here this evening.

One of the other groups I should mention has been around about youth involvement. We have representatives here from Youth Voice, a magazine that provides a voice for Maroondah’s youth. Youth in any society are often difficult to reach and its publications like Youth Voice that we are reaching people that are wanting to be making a difference but often shy from traditional methods of being part of our society. Its great to see our youth developing that voice and ensuring that there is a mechanism they can use to tell the rest of society what they think and the positive contribution that young people make to our community.

In closing I would like to thank everyone for being here this evening, I’d like to thank you for your support. I certainly hope that there will be four more years as part of the new Mullum Ward. Its been a delight to be working with many of the community groups here this evening, as well as the many individuals in assisting in issues as they come through.

Its the people that contact a councillor, that help ensure that councillors remain accountable to the community. I encourage people to contact their local representatives, no matter who they are, and ensure that they are delivering results for the community.

Councillors are elected to work for the community and it is important that they do so. The only way that they are ever going to be able to do that is if people take the initiative to contact them and ensure that they are accountable. I’d like to offer my commitment that I will continue making a difference and I will continue to work in the upcoming weeks of this campaign and beyond to ensure that we are making a difference.

Thank you very much and thank you for attending this evening.


I hope everyone has enjoyed the food this evening. None of this would have been possible without the generous assistance of Lakeside. I’d like to thank Lakeside and the staff here this evening, for ensure that this dinner could proceed. Thank you to Jim, Donna, the staff here tonight, who have ensured that tonight could go ahead.

Also of course to my family, who without their support tonight would not have been possible. Can we give Lakeside, my sister Julia, my dad Robert, my mum Grace and my grandmother Christine, a token of our appreciation. Also of course to Jon our cameraman this evening.

Thank you very much for everyone that has attended this evening. I do hope that you have had an enjoyable evening, that you have enjoyed the food and fellowship. Once again my great gratitude to Lakeside for hosting tonight and remember that when you’re in Maroondah, do eat at Lakeside! Thank you and have a great evening.