Media Release: Moving returns to Ringwood with new selection of artworks

The vacant shop windows of central Ringwood are now home to a new exhibition of artworks as part of the Moving project.

The project aims to transform these vacant shop windows into works of art as Ringwood makes the transition into a vibrant Central Activities District (CAD).

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Alex Makin, said the success of the first round of artworks – displayed from November  2009 to March 2010 – had given Council confidence of receiving an equally enthusiastic response to the second phase of the Moving project.

“The show of community interest in the first round of works was staggering so we’re hopeful even more people will take time out to appreciate the newest art installations on show,” Cr Makin said.

“This second exhibition can now be seen in central Ringwood’s vacant shop windows and features the works of 12 artists and art groups,” Cr Makin said.

“If this exhibition is as popular as its predecessor Council may consider facilitating a third instalment of the Moving project. Artist interest is already high,” Cr Makin said.

The project aims to improve the amenity of the area in the lead-up to major works in central Ringwood. Exhibition space in the shop windows has been provided by QIC.

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Eastern Football League: 2010 Season Launch

The Eastern Football League (EFL) is based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, stretching from Balwyn through to Noble Park. The League consists of 43 teams total across four divisions.

This evening I attended the launch of the EFL’s 2010 season launch, which provided an overview of the League and the Clubs within the competition. The EFL consists of 12 First Division Clubs, 10 in Second Division, 10 in Third Division and 11 in Fourth Division, with the season commencing from the 10th of April.

Maroondah has several clubs competing within the Eastern Football League, including four in Division One; Norwood, East Ringwood, Croydon and South Croydon.  Ringwood Football Club competes in Division Two, while North Ringwood and Heathmont are in Divisions Three and Four respectively.

Media Release: Size and Timing of Landfill Levy Opposed

The Eastern Region Mayors Group (ERMG) has written to Premier John Brumby urging the state government to reconsider the magnitude and timing of their recent announcement increasing landfill levies from 2010 and beyond.

Knox Mayor Councillor Joe Cossari said the Mayors of the eastern metropolitan region are deeply concerned about this announcement as it could have significant impact on Councils’ 2010/2011 budgets.

“Councils put a great deal of effort into preparing long-term financial plans to assist responsible planning and management. Significant financial burdens imposed at such short notice greatly impact the ability of Councils to deliver prudent and responsible financial management,” Cr Cossari said.

Councils are in the process of finalising draft budgets for 2010/2011 and are about to take them out to the community for consultation as required by the Local Government Act (1989).

Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Alex Makin, said an increase in landfill levies will impact on rates and charges in 2010/2011.

“Council can confirm that the any increase to landfill levies would need to be accounted for in Maroondah’s 2010/2011 Budget,” Cr Makin said.

“This would likely be covered by a rise in overall municipal rates and charges,” Cr Makin said.

“The exact rise has not yet been determined because of the number of variables coming into play when forming the Budget. However, we should be prepared for an additional rate rise if the State Government is successful in increasing landfill levies,” Cr Makin said.

Cr Cossari said the ERMG supported the increased recycling opportunities that would be created by the levy increase.

“However, we have advised Mr Brumby that there has been no consultation with Councils about this decision, which is most disappointing given that Councils are expected to collect the increased levies as well as implement various components of the program,” Cr Cossari said.

The magnitude and timing of the increase in landfill levies is expected to have a major and critical impact on 2010/2011 Council budgets resulting in significant last minute increases in Council rates and gate fees at Council transfer stations.

“Initial assessments indicate that in some municipalities there will be a need to increase rates by more than one per cent in 2010/2011 to offset the increase, together with significant increases in gate charges at transfer stations,” Cr Cossari said.

The increase in landfill levies for 2010/2011 from $9 per tonne to $30 tonne represents a massive increase of 233% in one year alone.

“The Mayors feel that Councils are being used as a state collection agency and are fearful that they will face the brunt of community backlash for the costs to comply with state decisions,” Cr Cossari said.

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Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee – First meeting for 2010

The Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee oversees the implementation of Maroondah’s Community Wellbeing Plan.  The plan itself will be officially launched on the 19th of April and was developed through engaging the community and the members of last year’s Partners in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee.

Today’s meeting discussed the launch of the plan and the new Charter which will guide the conduct of the committee.  Members on the committee have been chosen to reflect the priorities of the plan and include health providers, community organisations and environmental groups to assist in its implementation and measuring its progress.

Maroondah Partners in Comunity Wellbeing Committee

The Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee meets on a quarterly basis to oversee the implementation of Maroondah’s Community Wellbeing Plan.  The plan aims to improve the wellbeing of the Maroondah community through working in partnership with other organisations, many of which are represented on the committee.

Priority areas in the plan include:

  • Promoting healthy minds and healthy choices
  • Developing engaged and resilient communities
  • Creating accessible and safe communities
  • Promoting lifestyle opportunities that support health and wellbeing
  • Targeting equity and social inclusion
  • Achieving healthy and sustainable environments

Cr Ann Fraser and myself are the two Councillor representatives on the the Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee and there is a newly formed Safety Committee which is represented by Cr Rob Steane.  These two committees provide a collaborative approach to the health, safety and wellbeing of our community.

Ringwood Spiders: 2010 Jumper Presentation Evening

The Ringwood Spiders is a football team for people with disabilities and is based at Jubilee Park, where they share facilities with the Ringwood Redbacks.  The Spiders compete within the Football Integration Development Association League and will be entering two teams into the competition this year.

Ex-footballer Nathan Thompson was the guest speaker and discussed depression and its affects.  Nathan spoke about his own experiences and how it is important to be proactive in seeking support when experiencing depression.  Members of the Spiders have had their own experience with depression and it was encouraging  to hear from someone who has had own first-hand experience with depression and its symptoms.

Tonight’s evening also reflected on last year’s on-field success, where the Spiders won the Premiership flag and the players are enthusiastic about the year ahead.  The Ringwood Spiders Cheerleading Squad is also returning and provides opportunities for people who are unable to play football to still get involved in the team.

The Ringwood Spiders also launched their new website which is available at

U3A Croydon Annual General Meeting

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a community based organisation that provides educational opportunities to retirees and seniors.  Maroondah has two local U3A organisations, with one in Ringwood and in Croydon, these two groups are part of the U3A Network Victoria, which includes other U3As across the State.

This morning I was invited to to be the guest speaker at U3A Croydon Annual General Meeting.  U3A Croydon has over 600 members and provides a range of courses, including languages, literature, history, computer studies and handicrafts.  The organisation is embarking on developing a business plan to provide a cohesive direction for the future and this demonstrates the professionalism and foresight of its committee and members.

Given that U3A Croydon is a growing organisation, one of their concerns is the ongoing need for community space.  As the guest speaker I discussed Council’s current work on assessing community needs, which will assist in identifying potential venues and meeting places for community organisations.  This project is expected to be completed towards the end of this year and will provide a centralised resource to locate community venues, making it easier for groups to plan ahead.

Like many other people in our community, the members of U3A Croydon are also concerned about the condition of Ringwood Station and several members raised questions in regard to the lack of easy access in using the Station.  While the majority of its members are located in Croydon, it is clear that an issue like Ringwood Station affects the entire municipality, reinforcing the need for further funding to create a safe, integrated and accessible transport interchange.

While the core focus of U3A is education, it is important to recognise how the group assists in providing a social outlet for its members and peer support.  The U3A model encourages collaboration between teachers and students to create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment and it is clear from the attendees at the AGM, that U3A Croydon is achieving this objective.

For further details on U3A Croydon please visit

Speaking to the Fab 50s Social Group

The Fab 50s are a social group that meets at North Ringwood Community House.  The group aims to provide a social environment and alternates between off-site activities and meetings at the community house.

This morning I was invited as the guest speaker at the Fab 50s, where I discussed my involvement with the North Ringwood Community House and explained that due to the changes in the Local Government Act, I chose to resign from the committee of management, so that I could discuss matters affecting the community house within Council.

I also explained Council’s undertaking of the landowner assessment, which will begin to explore how the North Ringwood Community House could potentially exist as part of Norwood Reserve.  This initial assessment will consider the traffic and site implications, as well as discussions with the existing users. This initial assessment will help provide further details to assist in relocating North Ringwood Community House.

Given that many of the Fab 50s particiapnts live within the vicinity of Ringwood, I also discussed the importance of securing additional funding for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station.

While the State Government has announced funding for the redevelopment of the bus interchange and station forecourt, it is imperative that further funding is confirmed to ensure the creation of an integrated and accessible transport interchange.  Many of the Fab 50s participants retold their experiences with Ringwood Station and how they tend to avoid using the Station due to the steepness of the ramps and the lack of easy access.

Groups like the Fab 50s help promote social inclusion and reinforce how community houses assist in community development and empowering residents.

Eastern Regional Mayors and CEOs Forum

The Eastern Regional Mayors and CEO Forum provides an opportunity to discuss issues affecting local government within the eastern region.  The region includes the Cities of Banyule, Boroondara, Dandenong, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Nilumbik, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

The Forum meets on a monthly basis to enable discussion on issues affecting local government and to develop common advocacy positions in regard to the region and the sector.

Discussing Play Equipment Upgrades for Quambee Reserve

This afternoon I had an on-site meeting to discuss upgraded play equipment for Quambee Reserve in Ringwood North.  Quamby Reserve is identified as a precinct park  in Maroondah’s Open Space Strategy, meaning it will have a mixture of recreational activities.

Quambee Reserve is home to the North Ringwood Football Club, North Ringwood Cricket Club, as well as the North Ringwood Tennis Club and the Ringwood Horse and Pony Club.

The play equipment, which will be installed towards the end of this year, will provide a unique and accessible playground, taking into account the natural gradient of the Reserve. A formal launch will be held when the equipment upgrade is completed.